Monday, 11 July 2011

Singing For Water West

Sing For Water West happened in Bristol this weekend. I had been working towards this event since I joined the choir earlier this year. Every week we practiced the songs we had been learning and listened to tapes while doing the mundane parts of housework such as ironing.

Choirs all over the west of England had also been practicing these same pieces and on Saturday, they were all brought in by coach from various towns and cities, to make up 1000 of us on the steps of the amphitheatre by the waterfront.

My health has not been too brilliant over the last few months and Harry, too has been having his chemo and is needing a lot more care. It has been difficult to make definite commitments to anyone about anything because we never seem to know just how we will be feeling or guarantee that we will be able to see any promised things through.

However, earlier this year, I made a commitment to learn these songs and I booked my place for the Big Sing and paid my deposit.

I have really enjoyed learning the songs and felt quite liberated after singing together with new found friends each week.

When I woke up on the Saturday of the Big Sing, I was rather dismayed to see that it was raining. We all were due to meet up for a rehearsal at 10 am that was to last 2 hours. I packed essential things in my back pack and dosed myself up with Paracetamol and just hoped that I was strong enough to do all that standing with a raging back/hip pain.

By the time I got off the bus to the appointed place, the rain was now very steady. I met up with people I knew and eventually got to chat to people from other towns, who I didn't know.

I was amazed that the two hour rehearsal went quicker than I had imagined and I really loved the feeling of a mass sing, even though the rain was still steady and some of the women in front of me insisted on putting up umbrellas which meant that I couldn't see the conductor properly and had to watch that my eye wasn't poked out.

By twelve o'clock, the practice was over and I decided to go to a quiet place and eat my sandwiches and have a rest from all that standing.

I found a covered shelter and enjoyed my lunch. I decided on a hot drink in a cafe next and met up with other singers I knew who were going on to do some busking to help raise money for the Water Charity.

I'd never done anything like that in all my (nearly seventy years) but I suddenly thought, YES! I could do it.

So although I didn't know the songs well because they were different from the Water pieces, I think I managed to bluff my way through because there were people there who knew the pieces well. Busking involved more standing but I was really enjoying doing this by now.

Eventually it was 3pm and time to assemble for the grand entry of the Big Sing which meant more standing.

However, a little miracle happened..... well a big miracle really...... the skies were by now, blue and the weather was warm. I took out the sunhat that I'd optimistically packed. All of the singers had been asked to wear blues and greens to signify water. We were trying to raise money for the needy people of other countries who die every few minutes because of lack of water or through drinking dirty water. There we were with wet things all rolled up in our back packs because we get too much over here..... but that's the way it is on this Earth.... all or nothing.

Bristol people turned out in force to come and watch and support us.

After filing in to our appointed places, we started to sing for 45 minutes. We were not allowed to use our sheet music but we had learned it all by memory and some of the pieces were in other languages, which is not easy to learn at my age.

Singing en masse like this, made me feel tremendously good and everything seemed suddenly to be very worth the effort of standing in the rain. I felt part of the *big picture* in life and this brought me out in goose bumps of pleasure.

Whatever should happen to me health wise, from now on...... nothing could take this feeling away from me. I had followed something through and it had been good.


Formerly known as Frau said...

Wow Maggie that is amazing and I imagine beautiful to hear and see. I'm happy you were strong enough to make it through a long but joyous day.Have a wonderful week.

Twain12 said...

sounds absolutely wonderful, i would have loved to see this. I'm glad you had a good time and it was a success

Rose said...

What a wonderful event to participate in! I understand the goosebumps--I imagine you raised a lot of goosebumps on the people listening to you as well. I'm so glad you were able to join in, Maggie; doing something worthwhile like this is so inspiring and invigorating, I think it's good for the soul as well as the body.

Akelamalu said...

Well good for you Maggie you should be extremely proud of yourself. I wish I could have been there to hear you all.

TechnoBabe said...

you did it! And you were blessed beyond measure. I am truly happy for you. Practicing the songs and using time and energy doing something that is to benefit a cause you believe in. Wonderful. My heart goes out to the people anywhere who don't have water and food to survive. It doesn't seem possible with all the resources and money on this earth that still some people do without the basics needed to stay alive and healthy. You have a big heart, Maggie.

Jeni said...

That is an awesome feat/post on many levels, Maggie! First that you braved the weather, endured the pain, but sang anyway! And then, that you had followed through learning the music. And finally, what a great way to try to bring help to people in need of life-giving water! Just awesome and highly commendable on your part as an individual and for the entire group. Many kudos to all of you!

Maggie said...

Thanks for the comment on my blog. If you visit the Wye Needlecraft website link, they are a group of charity knitters and you can find out how to get involved. Alternatively, find out your nearest neo-natal unit in a local hospital and contact them.

Brian Miller said...

smiles. so gald it was so uplifting to sing togather...sounds like a great time maggie....

Ayak said...

Well I got goosebumps just thinking about how wonderful the atmosphere must have been. Well done Maggie for making it through the day when clearly you were suffering. xxx

Living in Cancer said...

Taking time for yourself is key to your overall well being. Making that time is a lot harder when life is throwing every curve ball in your way. Great JOB making the time and enjoying every minute of it no matter how everything was.

Strawberry Jam Anne said...

How marvellous Maggie. I'm so pleased that you enjoyed it all so much. My mother still recalls when she sang with her local church choir in Salisbury Cathedral so I'm guessing that your memories of the Sing will stay with you too. I do hope that you are soon feeling better and continue to do so. A x

Mimi said...

Maggie, I'm delighted for you!
There is definitely a synergy when you sing with other people, and I could feel it too, in goosebumps too, as I read this post.
Congratulations! Great achievement!

Happy Frog and I said...

That sounds like an amazing experience and I'm so glad you did it. Congratulations. x

Retired English Teacher said...

I just love how you are having these experiences of stepping out of your comfort zone and doing things you have never done before. Your story gives ME goosebumps.

Nora said...

I would have liked to been witness to that event, Maggie. I'm sure it was quite impressive. It was an exhaustive day for you, as you said, but what an experience. I'm glad for you that you were able to participate. I guess you won't forget that quickly.


Glenda said...

Maggie, I would have loved to have been there. With that many people singing, it must have been amazing. So glad you were lifted by it - I'm sure I would have been also. Hope you are getting some much needed rest now.

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ladyfi said...

Hurray - I hope that magical feeling lives on in your heart for a long time to come!

Dimple said...

I'm glad you were able to participate in this event, and that you had the strength to complete the day. Singing is good for body and soul, and helping others is, too!

Mya said...

Well done Maggie - you did a great thing. Singing can be physically tiring but is always worth the effort. Take care.
Mya x

Ann Best said...

I can relate to health problems--mainly my daughter's--so that you don't know from day to day what you'll be able to do. It forces me to live one day at a time.

It's been a while since I've visited you. It IS a good feeling to have followed through to a successful end. I'm glad you enjoyed the day, and I hope you and your husband are having a good week.
Ann Best, Memoir Author