Wednesday, October 26, 2011

whistling a happy tune

Today's soundtrack:
Jarvis Cocker's Sunday Service

The last week I joined the local choir.

This does not explain my month-long silence on the blog, which is due to a dissertation, a conference, an impromptu trip, another conference, more dissertationing (it's a verb now), and various houseguests.

But as I was saying, last week I joined the Anstruther Philharmonic Society.  Miguel is quite happy about this, as it gets me out of the house and socializing a bit.  Getting to know people is easy when you have a workplace or get to go out on a regular basis.  When you're at home writing a dissertation, excursions are limited to weekly shops up at the Co-op, during which time you natter the ear off of the poor cashier and the whole store is glad to see the back of you, so it's a little bit more difficult to get to know people.

So, I joined a choir.

I didn't really know what to expect.  Philharmonic Society sounds quite impressive, but the East Neuk isn't exactly a booming metropolis.  Well, cast all assumptions aside.  We have quite the choir.

When I arrived at the hall, Jane MacDonald welcomed me (with this accent, I do stand out a bit), organized with the librarian for my books, introduced me to a few sopranos (of the non-New Jersey variety).  "Why don't you try soprano this week, and you can always change next week," Jane suggested. Sure.  After all, I sang soprano back in Children's Choir.  Of course, that was before I hit puberty.  Still, what could possibly go wrong?

The poor ladies I was standing beside had to suffer through my screeching in vain search of a note.  I didn't remember notes being that high.  By the end of practice I sounded like I had laryngitis.  I was pretty singing didn't used to hurt this much.

Okay then, plan b.  This week, I sat in with altos.  I hid in the back, hoping that I could pick up the tune without being too noticeably off-key.

I was not the only alto with this plan.

As we reached a part of Hummel's Mass in Eb we hadn't rehearsed before, I began to cheat off of my neighbours, pitching up and down to find whatever note we were on now.  I soon noticed, however, that my neighbours in the back row had the same plan.

There we were, pitching up and down, giving our best impression of a cat in heat as we strove bravely on through a sea of syncopated rhythms, randoms naturals, and endless runs.  Needless to say, I dug my flute out today and began practicing in earnest.

But on the meeting people end, choir is a success.  I met a woman who had not only visited my hometown, but her husband's family had spent time there in the 1880s.  I met another two women who live close by and kindly shared their reasons as to why double glazing is a terrible idea.  As I left the rehearsal last night, a kind gentleman held the door open and said "after you, Lady Mary" (re: Downton Abbey).

Honestly, there's no better way to spend a Tuesday night in the East Neuk.

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