From ‘The Libretto’ – August 2010
After going to my eldest step-son’s wedding in Cyprus, (he took a bigger leap there than I did in Turkey), I sat back and reflected, while sitting on a beach in Agia Napa (yes, really), on why I love going to WEDDINGS with the choir.
I’m reminded of a Mr and Mrs competition we entered soon after I married Coll. I was asked “What’s your wife’s favourite flower, Lyn? I thought carefully for a while and after a flash of inspiration said “Homepride!” I wasn’t in hospital for long and the scars don’t show anymore..
We all meet up in the churchyard, smartly dressed in our blazers and greys and play the traditional game of finding the oldest gravestone in the cemetery. “Look at this – Elias Jenkins – Died 1832 Aged 90 years. Alongside his wife Sarah, Born 1814 Died 1914 Aged 100.” Wonder what poor Elias died of? Do the maths! Did he have a heart attack, I wonder?
Anyway, we all troop into the church and squeeze ourselves like sardines into the choir stalls. “Don’t stand over there with the tenors, Lyn. You’ll only get confused” advises Siân. “But the baritones won’t let me in!” says I. “Turn sideways and make some room” and they finally relent, but make sure I’m squeezed up tight against a pew so I can’t breathe or sing.
“What are we singing?” “Fight the Good Fight” is the inevitable answer, but we never do (one day, one day!). How about ‘Oft in Danger, oft in woe’ – that’s never been done. “I had that at my wedding” comes a shout from the back. I’m LOVIN’ IT! I really am!
Shirley Ann commands sternly, “Now boys, watch me and keep your eyes off that blonde in the third row”. Good of her to point her out, some of us hadn’t noticed. We had our eyes fixed on the bust of a brunette in the fourth.
We all take a deep breath, start the first hymn and go for it with such gusto that we finish three bars ahead of the organist before the first verse is over. What would we do with the “Galloping Major”? Doesn’t bear thinking about! Sounds like he needs a dose of Imodium.
We come to the ‘Anyone know of any just impediment ….?’ bit. Necks are craning to the back and many are hoping beyond hope that there will be some response, but there never is. Dustin Hoffman (The Graduate) never bursts in and neither does Dudley Moore. But the bride is not Bo Derek (‘10’) either. If she was we wouldn’t be able to sing but we’d all enjoy ourselves.
The bride and groom make their vows and are declared ‘Husband and Wife’. “You may kiss the bride” and half the choir have wishful thoughts “What about us, never mind about him! What’s he done to deserve that?” “Go on, give her a good ‘un!” Behave, you’re in Church!
The other half of the choir has mixed thoughts, wistfully dreaming of fond memories and wonder if she’s a good cook, can do the washing and ironing or make a bed.
There’s always one who bursts out with “An’ another one’s gone, an’ another one’s gone, another one bites the dust!” – just a bit too loudly. Who’s the cynical Queen fan then? Who thinks he’s Freddie Mercury? The groom is humming “I Want to Break Free”. No escape now.
We sing ‘Somewhere Out There’, ‘She’ and ‘Yfory’, while the bride and groom sign their lives away and think of tonight. Shirley Ann smiles and says “Well done, boys! Da iawn! The tenors were really good” and we make our way home or to the pub. Some of us are not quite sure where to go in the middle of the afternoon. Tesco?
Lyn (Baritone, maybe)