For the second week running, a new faace appears in our ranks. It's brilliant to see how well newbies fit in, they always seem to get along really well. Maybe something to do with it being a newish group so no-one feels they own it, or maybe just because the guys are so friendly and sociable, but it does seem like a welcoming atmosphere where people feel can relax and feel comfortable even if they're not confident singers. Coincidentally, we're already onto our second duplicate name — we have two Tonys (Tonies??) and two Gavins. But even if your name is Tony or Gavin, don't let that stop you coming along and trying it out. There's absolutely no obligation, no membership, nothing to sign, no salesman will call — just a modest £3 per session — though there is always the danger that you'll get hooked and keep coming…
Yesterday was what the marketing people call "Blue Monday", supposedly the date when the weather, post-Christmas debt, infections and whatever else combine to leave us at our emotional low point of the year. Surely this is nothing a new song can't sort out? A soldier's song, this time from the 17th century, but like the Forst World War sort, it resorts to mangled soldier's French in order to scrounge a drink:
We be soldiers three
Pardonnez-moy, je vous en prie
Lately come forth from the Low Country
With never a penny of money.
Today (Tuesday 13th) is an unlucky day in Spain. And Glasgow, where illness decimated our numbers this week. Still, that gave us the opportunity of singing one to a part, which is a special kind of fun you don't get in most groups. It's especially rewarding to me to see the reaction of our John, a man of mature years who has spent his whole life singing, especially in classical, choral and operatic contexts. The experience of a small number of men in a room singing very effectively in multi-part harmony seems to be a new thing for him; he's slightly amazed it works, and he can't get enough of it. The five-mile drive from his home in the cold and dark is a disincentive at this time of year, but he keeps coming back.