Along with prevaricating less I have also felt that life might be more exciting if I said yes rather than no, before I go further I’d like to state that my answer won’t be yes to everything but just a bit more than I do now. Anyway, that’s how I came to be driving over to Boconnoc Church in order to perform in a Scratch Messiah. In case you don’t know what that means, and one week ago I was in your number, it means a last minute thrown together rehearsal and performance of Handel’s Messiah. When my friends asked me, it sounded like a laugh, I used to be in a competition standard choir when I was younger and I thought I should be OK. At that point I was ignoring a few important facts, I have never sung the Messiah and it was a very long time ago since I was in a choir. I was driving over to meet the girls on a gorgeous Saturday; issues of pee, poo, mud, rugby and boys were left behind and I raced through the autumn countryside humming away to the bits of the Messiah that I knew. Best just clarify that the boys were not responsible for the pee and poo issues. Neither was Steve. Agatha is still providing us with daily challenges but that’s a whole other column. Now where, was I? Ah yes, rolling through the Cornish countryside, trilling out my halleluiahs. Over the week I had managed to listen to the Messiah twice and I discovered that it was a lot longer than I realised, a lot more complicated and a hell of a lot higher than I could manage. Certainly I used to be a soprano but as I’ve got older I have found that my voice, along with other things has started to head south. When I was singing top C it made the boys search for injured cats. My confidence was also beginning to head south.
I wasn’t sure what to pack, so in went a skirt, heels, make up, scarf, hat, walking boots (churches aren’t known for their heating) I also added some soup, rocky road, and apples and given the amount of pheasant on the lanes around Boconnoc I would soon also be packing a Game Pie.
Amid much nervous laughter the three of us arrived at the church to discover that we were late and we had to shuffle in and share scorebooks with other choristers. The plus sides were many; everyone else seemed to know roughly what they were doing, the Choir master was a forgiving man and the church had very efficient heating. The negatives however, were also many. The forgiving Choir master also assumed everyone got everything he said, after just one telling, the people around me may have known what they were doing but Jo, Rebecca and I were woefully adrift and the very efficient heating was beginning to make me sweat in my many layers. I was beginning to wonder why the hell I hadn’t packed a bottle of water.
All too soon, and I really do mean too soon, the rehearsals were over and we were told to come back in an hour’s time for the evening performance. The look of horror on Rebecca’s face mirrored mine, surely that wasn’t it? We didn’t even know the words, let alone the tune, or the dynamics! Even so, that was all the preparation that we were going to get.
As the moment approached a sense of dread and foreboding settled upon us but we had forgotten just how good everyone around us was and of course given that it was a scratch performance how forgiving the audience were. It was a glorious evening and as I sang out to the skies, my voice soaring higher and higher I was thrilled that I had said yes.