This weekend I started singing one of my favourite songs, really loudly, in the middle of a shopping precinct, and I felt pretty happy about it.
That isn’t quite as weird as it sounds – I was in the middle of a choir, and we were performing outdoors to crowds of shoppers, to celebrate 50 years of Samaritans’ befriending in Salisbury. I hadn’t realised it was one of the earliest branches of the Samaritans to be set up, and it’s a remarkable achievement for an organisation to have lasted that long, let alone one which extends such a valuable service to those who use it when they most need it. In many ways the Samaritans don’t need further introduction, but you can read more about them here: http://www.samaritansofsalisbury.org.uk/
Singing for such a good cause, is cause enough to be happy, but perhaps I should go back a bit further still, and explain the rest of the story, to tell you quite why it turned out to be such a special morning.
I’ve always loved singing, as long as I can remember, and I used to make up tuneless, epic ballads as a pre-schooler! At a formative age somewhat later, the Kids From Fame impressed me overmuch with their capacity to sing and dance at every opportunity, and the lurking suspicion that it might just be possible in real life has never quite left me. But enough of that!
Singing in a choir is great – with strength in numbers, there’s not nearly so much trauma as singing a solo! Over the years I’ve tried all sorts of different choirs, and now have ended up, very happily, in Babes and Ballads – fun, friendly, with brilliant energy and music, and an indescribable leader – Fiona (and I mean that in a good way!). You can find out more about it here: http://www.babesandballads.com/
Our rehearsals are fun as well as productive, and there’s very often a “tingly” moment, when something just goes….right. And if you can capture the tingle in front of an audience, then you’ve got something good going on. Add to that mix a really great song, that has meaning for you – I enjoy a lot of this morning’s repertoire, but “Lean on Me” is one that’s really special for me, and seems to sum up all that’s best in friendship and support. We sing it without music but with confidence, and that all helps to create a performance with a life of its own.
So today, all those ingredients added up to a fair bit of tingle. And then the really special thing happened. Our lovely leader had a surprise in store!
Just into “Lean on Me”, the crowd around us seemed to swell along with the harmonies, and I caught sight of a couple of people joining in – not so unusual in itself. But then more, and yet more of the “audience” suddenly burst out singing, like being in the middle of a giant musical! (And little bit of my almost forgotten vision of “Fame” flashed before me, just for a moment…) Ladies began to step forward out of the crowd, from all directions, and the look on the real audience’s faces were probably almost as surprised as those of the choir members I was standing with!
It turned out that Fiona’s lovely and talented Military Wives choir from Middle Wallop had come along to surprise us and join in.
And that made Tingle with a capital T!
Thank you ladies, you made my day!