Saturday, 11 September 2010


It has been a long, long time since I scratched any kind of musical itch. When I was young I played the clarinet, the piano, the violin, the recorder (which I adored) and sang in the school choir. Over the last couple of years I have been yearning to play music. My dodgy arm makes singing a much more favourable option than other instrumental pursuits. The sound a group of people make when they drop their jaws and let rip has always moved me.

A few months ago I joined the Scholars Pro Musica. The choir was formed and is conducted by a young English guy who is deeply passionate and knowledgable about classical music. When I met him to audition I expected him to tell me I wasn't right for the choir. The music is ancient, ecclesiastical and complicated. The ability to read music well was imperative and I worried that I was way out of my depth. The audition comprised singing along to a few scales which I belted out with twin1 on my hip (she gazed in surprise at my face during the entire process).

For the first few rehearsals I sank towards the back of the alto section, mouthed a few words and wallowed in utter confusion. It was disheartening. The nineteen other members of the choir seemed much more on the ball than me. It has been 25 years since I last read music and the pieces we we had to learn were challenging.

It has been exactly the kind of challenge I need. Engaging my fusty cells up top, I have snatched the odd half an hour here and there to learn the music. You Tube has been invaluable and we are lucky that our conductor goes out of his way to help. When I pootle off to choir practice on a Sunday evening I'm usually absolutely exhausted but I love it. It makes me feel elated yet balanced. I love being in my choir. Each voice combines with the others to produce a magnificent wall of sound. The beauty in this sound is extraordinary. It makes me want to cry whilst singing.

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