8 December

Do re mi

Would you like to sing carols on Christmas Day?[1] If so, it’s time to start brushing up on them:

  • Choose very familiar carols and print off plenty of copies of the lyrics: practically no-one knows the second verse of even the most famous carols.[2]
  • Practise your piano playing or guitar strumming or glockenspiel tapping or remind your accompanist to do so. Or get out your karaoke carols.
  • If your gang are slightly musical, you might like the rounds mentioned on 25 June.
  • If your gang are more musical, here’s a comparatively simply but very effective SATB[3] arrangement of “Silent Night”. (You’ll probably need to distribute this today to give people a chance to practise.) silent night
  • If your gang can be persuaded to sing but are not particularly musical, you could do “The Twelve Days of Christmas” as a memory song (so you’ll be making up your own gifts around the circle)[4] and emphasise that it’s about memory and not pitch to remove performance anxiety.

I don’t know what I’ll be doing about carols this year. Wendy and I usually do a sing-along but Matthew seldom sings the right note[5] and I haven’t a clue if Auntie Gwen or Susan or Gemma or Paul are willing to warble “Wenceslas”.

2016-12-08
Not so silent when you sing it with a full choir.

The social club committee blocked out our calendars this afternoon so that Laura and Gemma could go to Laura’s uncle’s farmlet to cut down pine saplings and Adam and Jessica and I could drive to my house to bring back huge quantities of holly and ivy. I had recommended that they all wear gardening gloves and I would have taken such an instruction to mean that I should even cover up my hands but Jessica pretty much only covered up her hands and was wearing a skimpy top and a tiny skirt and suffered dreadfully (but manfully – she didn’t complain) with the holly.

[1] This is the plural “you”, not the singular “you”: the evening Uncle Geoff tried to pressgang his unmusical children into doing carols did not go well.

[2] But I like to sing, “No more let sins and sorrows grow, nor thorns infest the ground,” while I’m pulling up blackberries. (It’s from one of the less joyful verses of “Joy to the World”.)

[3] Consider “SATB” a shibboleth: if you don’t know what it means, you may not be ready to conduct this version of “Silent Night”.

[4] We once ended up with, “Five runner beans, four sides of beef, three mince tarts, two turkey rolls and a partridge in a pantry”.

[5] Matthew claims that he does hit the right note, just not at the right time.

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