Saturday, 15 January 2011

No thanks I'll sit this one out.

Happily singing the bass line (I'm an alto), this morning, at a singing workshop I take part in once a month, it suddenly struck me what a really good form of exercise this is.  One of the many ways in which I now occupy my time is with my life-long love of music.

I trained with a very good teacher in the 60's (the 1960's that is, not my 60's), and sang with Kentish Opera, New Opera Company, and later with the London Philharmonic Choir.  At the time it was all I wanted to do, but I also had an interest in ballroom dancing.

Now all this time later I sing with the local church choir, not particularly well but still enough to scrape by. Sadly, my dancing days are long over.  As my late husband didn't dance and getting him onto his feet at the rare dinner dances we attended years ago, was quite a painful exercise (especially when he stepped on my toes with his size 12's!) I gave up altogether.  This I rather regret now that I'm aware of the need to keep up some level of muscle tone - use it, or lose it,

Before John and I met, if I was at a dance and was approached by someone I didn't like the look of, and asked to dance, the standard refusal formula was "no thanks, I'll sit this one out".  This usually resulted in the most gorgeous man in the room coming up and asking for a dance, and much to my dismay I had to stick to my guns and refuse.  S...'s law!

In those days there was an etiquette about behaviour at dances and woe betide any female who was unwise enough to try to buck the trend.  Reputations were ruined in five minutes.

Happily singing, particularly in the various opera companies was an altogether less restrictive activity and with a totally different set of people so at least some inhibitions could be thrown to the winds.

Since losing John after 38 years of marriage I have found myself slowly, even at my advanced age, beginning to lose a lot of the defensive armour I've worn for so many years, and starting to revert to my old single life persona.

Singing this morning in what is a very free and easy group with a very relaxed approach to music it occurred to me how easy it would have been to miss this opportunity to stretch my horizons, and simply to shut up shop and sit at home and do nothing.  Or, in other words engage with life, or just sit it out.


  1. Singing is a truly wonderful gift; I didn't appreciate it enough when I was able to sing - just enjoyed singing in choirs, church, leading worship, to the children, cubs and so forth. Now, in later life, health problems have robbed me of my voice and I miss it so much. As for dancing..... well, the last time I tried was a Gay Gordons and I sat it out for the rest of the night! Thanks for sharing your memories

  2. Gay Gordons? Now there's a blast from the past.
    That's one that takes real lightness of foot and a hefty helping of energy.
    As for the gift of singing, it didn't feel too much of a gift this morning choking on the incense and desperately trying to find some "clean" air, but, yes, all-in-all it is indeed a gift and one I'm grateful to have re-discovered. I hope your health problems are not too serious.