Last year was, for me, a year of Joining Dangerously. One thing about moving to a new place is that you have to Get Out There. You can’t sit at home and hope you’ll have someone to talk to in three months time. No, you have to actively hunt them down and drag them home.
One of the things I joined was a community choir. I’ve always loved singing, just not in public (though I have old friends who would probably disagree with this point, having seen me and a microphone in action after several thousand drinks ). Somehow I manage to forget words I’ve known forever (and sung thousands of times in the shower) once confronted with an audience.
But I’d never joined a choir before – and I can’t believe I’ve spent so many years in denial. The joy of singing with others is that the onus is not all on you. If you don’t hit the note, chances are someone else will. And if you forget the words, you just hum along until you pick them up again.
There’s also a camaraderie and the sheer thrill of those goosebump moments when ALL the parts hit the right note and the sound is heavenly (possibly not as many of those as there should be, but we’re working on it).
Ours is not a cool choir. Our one attempt at ‘choralography’ was abandoned when we realised that even swaying in time to the music was beyond us – somehow we just couldn’t get everyone going in the same direction at the same time. It’s not even a young choir – grey is the most popular hair colour in the room. There will be no Qantas ads in our future.
What we have in our favour is passion. Our choir mistress – the evocatively named Joy – is unendingly encouraging, rousing us from our grumbling to sing the same two lines of a song over and over and over again. The sopranos are treated like show ponies by the altos in an age-old dispute over supremacy, the tenors are all female (there are never enough men in community choirs), and the basses rumble onwards, driving the rhythm of the songs along like semis down the Princes Highway.
At the end of the session, we all get in our cars and go home to our different lives. But for two hours every week, we are a team.
And a harmonious one at that.