Photo Copy right: Maggie May
During the last few months I have been practicing singing in the largest community choir in Bristol. Practices are held in four very different venues on different nights plus one afternoon, so people can choose which one they want to join or (for no extra cost) go to all of them if they really wanted to. Of course, each class is run by the same man, who used to have his own band. He is a very charismatic kind of leader and his musical abilities have no end.
It isn't often that the four choirs get together, but we are all learning the same pieces and when we do regularly do a concert, the only place big enough to take all of us is Bristol's Colston Hall.
So this is where I went last Saturday.
I'd had a virus a few weeks previously and my main concern was getting one of those awful irritating coughs while sitting trapped like a sardine in a stall on view for all to see and feeling helpless and ruining it for everyone else.
So I went armed with tiny peppermint Tick- tacks and a bottle of water just in case. However, I needn't have worried, except perhaps for my teeth that might have suffered while I shovelled those tiny sweets into my mouth.
On formal occasions like these, we wear all black with a touch of red, so I wore a small red scarf and a matching flower in my hair. The photo makes the flower look pink, but it is very much a crimson red. I did wear black things as well...... not just the red scarf and flower!
It was good to see my son and the grandchildren in the balcony together with his girlfriend and her two children. My Millie and her Jessie came down to talk to me during the interval and I am beginning to feel that I have an extended family and they all look so good together from where I was sitting and the children get on so well too. A non Christian friend surprised me by suggesting that perhaps Sam's new girlfriend might be an angel in disguise sent down in order to put everything right in their lives that have been so turbulent recently.
Fortunately, to join this choir, you don't need to be an outstanding singer, just to be able to sing in tune. It isn't necessary to be able to read music as CDs are given in the part that is to be sung, in my case an alto.
Even when during the smaller rehearsals there sometimes seem to be grisly mistakes made, when we finally get together on the night of a concert, it really does take off and there is a really good feeling of belonging to a greater group that is making a good sound. The fact that we have to learn it all off by heart and sing in many other languages makes it challenging but a very enjoyable experience. No music is allowed on *the night.*
I think singing has helped to get me through some very difficult situations over the last year or so. I believe it is very therapeutic and is helping me to stay focused, especially when our health lets us down and causes worries. I can sing in the choir and forget the problems for a while and feel better.
My blogging friend, Mimi, from MimiinDublin makes up aromatherapy preparations and she sent me some while I was having chemotherapy a while ago. The preparation helped me to sleep then and I was really pleased to receive another little container the day before the singing and it was marked, *Peace and Calm.* So before the singing started, I rubbed some on my palms and breathed in the vapours just in case I didn't feel that way while on stage worrying about my cough. I think this really helped, as everything went well and I really, really enjoyed the evening very much.