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Bah, humbug! - shadows of echoes of memories of songs
j4
j4
Bah, humbug!
New in the snack-machine today: Walkers turkey and stuffing flavoured crisps, with "Merry Crispmas" emblazoned across the front of the packet.

*

In a probably-doomed attempt to swim against the tide of tinselled tat, I'd really like to get to a decent Nine Lessons and Carols service this year. However, I haven't really had much to do with churches in Cambridge, for obvious reasons, so any recommendations welcomed. Not sure yet whether I feel like going the whole way and queueing for the famous one, though.

It's particularly at Christmas that I realise how much I miss chapel choir, actually. Does anybody know of any Cambridge college chapels who let non-students (not even ex-students of Cambridge) sing with their choir? I sing alto/tenor, can read pointed psalms, and can sight-sing reasonably confidently (though less so in auditions, natch).
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From: kaet Date: December 1st, 2003 04:00 am (UTC) (Link)
IRTA smack-machine. I now have an image of wraps being dispensed by one of those twirly snack machines.

As I said on a wiki long ago, one thing which proves that the world is broken:

# Tragically, if you mix footstuffs or flavours on one spiral, the frontmost products, 
the ones visible and sellable, will always tend to be the least desirable ones as they 
are the ones it takes the longest to sell.

# Similarly, a machine allowed to nearly empty will display for longest its least 
desirable products.


You often see Eccles Cake blockages at work, where they are tragically beseiged behind an undesirable Belgian pastry.
j4 From: j4 Date: December 1st, 2003 04:59 am (UTC) (Link)
With us, the problem is flapjacks. They always have the nice flapjacks (plain; cherry and coconut; apple and sultana) behind things like "strawberries and cream flapjack with yoghurt topping", or "cappucino flapjack", or apricot-and-mango flapjacks, or excessively-chocolatey-slice-type-things.

I'm just fussy about my flapjacks, okay? :)
From: kaet Date: December 1st, 2003 05:23 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, that's perfectly understandable. Flapjack flavours are one place where I have strong opinions, too.

I have the impression that in times of yore trusty peasants living in mud huts would collect oats and golden syrup from the finest green-metal-tin tress and make wholesome lovely flapjacks for sale at þe markete for a goat and a groat a hundredweight.

And sometimes they'd want a little more than goats and groats, like a nubile noble's daughter's hand in marriage, so they'd have to try a little harder, and rescue an apple from the pig's trough, or barter with monks for raspberries, or buy three raisins in exchange for a cow. And then they'd make the worlds finest flapjacks which would be eaten at christmas to the sound of much cheering and bunting rustling in the cold wind constantly blowing, mysteriously, from the estate of the evil squire.

But then there came the industrial revolution, and Mill Owners, who would dangle young orphan lads in front of rotating knives for days, in exchange, in a Faustian pact, for a half-ounce of Halfzware and a bottle of good claret, decided that they must drown the poor but honest flapjack-making folk in order to make evil masterrace of world-conquoring flapjack with beady cold blue eyes and the inability to pronounce our ð's or þ's. Like Frankinstein's monster, these chimeric whorish flapjacks of soliciting yet ultimately unsatisfying combinations resulting from an over-rationalisation of desire, combinations of chocolate and cream and strawberries and yogurt put together mechanically without regard to the complexities of longing, accompanied by strangely well-endowed steam-powered gynoid robots which will help sell this film to channel five, who would be the only ones stupid enough to buy it, embark on a quest to conquor the world.

Only a small separatist commune of soil-association approved organic nut-whittlers from the outskirts of Wisbech stand between them and world domination.
jiggery_pokery From: jiggery_pokery Date: December 1st, 2003 06:52 am (UTC) (Link)
*giggles*

This whole posting is full of really cool comments, as it happens. Plus this one.
ewx From: ewx Date: December 1st, 2003 03:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
Plain flapjacks are the one true flapjacks.
From: kaet Date: December 1st, 2003 04:03 am (UTC) (Link)
Be good or I'll poke you in the arm with a pointed psalm, :).

Do choirs in churches not have some kind of Christianity requirement? It's a genuine question, I don't know having not had any contact, but I'd thought they might?
j4 From: j4 Date: December 1st, 2003 04:18 am (UTC) (Link)
Be good or I'll poke you in the arm with a pointed psalm

<grin>

Unfortunately I can't find an explanation of "pointing" on the web, otherwise I'd, er, point you at it; it might appeal to you. It's a system of notation where instead of writing out the words beneath the music for each verse of the psalm, you just get the music written out as chords, and then the words written out with dots and dashes and slashes and so on indicating where you change chord.

Amazingly, and irritatingly, I can't find a single example on the web!

Do choirs in churches not have some kind of Christianity requirement?

College chapels don't, IME. Pembroke Chapel choir only had a drinking requirement as far as I could tell -- certainly none of the choir were Christians, but then to the best of my knowledge the Chaplain wasn't either!

How would they tell, anyway? And what counts as a 'Christian'?
From: kaet Date: December 1st, 2003 05:27 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh cool. I've seen guitar tabs written out like that, I'm sure.

Unfortunately the ebony and ivory seems to have defeated me. I think I should stick to the sinewave.

And what counts as a 'Christian'?

Good point. Dunno. Someone self-identifying as a Christian, or willing to lie about that to sing in a choir?
angoel From: angoel Date: December 1st, 2003 11:52 am (UTC) (Link)
Pembroke Chapel choir only had a drinking requirement as far as I could tell

You mean something like thou shalt drink Ribena instead of Wine kind of thing?
j4 From: j4 Date: December 2nd, 2003 04:27 am (UTC) (Link)
You mean something like thou shalt drink Ribena instead of Wine kind of thing?

Er. No. (Anglican chapel, not Methodist chapel.) More like "thou shalt drink plentifully of the sherry before Evensong, for that it maketh thine voice sweet, at least that passeth as a good enough excuse, and besides, college provideth free sherry".
emperor From: emperor Date: December 1st, 2003 04:05 am (UTC) (Link)
It isn't helpful, but they had an advent carol service at GSM last night, at which I read one of the lessons.

GSM is doing a big carol service on the 21st of December - see
http://www.ely.anglican.org/parishes/camgsm/christmas.html for details

I suspect all the city center churches will do *something*, but I'd have thought GSM is most likely to do the 9l+c.
j4 From: j4 Date: December 1st, 2003 04:22 am (UTC) (Link)
Super, I can make that date, and I agree GSM sounds like a good bet for a traditional-stylee 9L&C with no tambourines. ;-) Thank you!
emperor From: emperor Date: December 1st, 2003 04:27 am (UTC) (Link)
I hope you enjoy it :)

[I'm going to be travelling between Durham and Manchester that day :/]
From: bibliogirl Date: December 1st, 2003 04:18 am (UTC) (Link)
Someone else of the female persuasion who sings tenor! Hurrah!

I only know of one other besides myself. She and I went to the Big Sing (or whatever it was called) rehearse-and-perform-Carmina-Burana-in-a-day the other year, and wound up in the front row of the tenor section... which meant in the front row of the entire choir. I'm not quite certain what people made of a couple of women in the middle of what theoretically ought to be a male section, but what the hell... we could sing the part and that was what mattered.
From: angua Date: December 1st, 2003 04:30 am (UTC) (Link)
You can add me to that too.. although to be fair I'm quite a high tenor and I'm much more suited to alto.

I generally sing alto but on occasion when the tenors were being wusses I've been drafted in before :)
j4 From: j4 Date: December 1st, 2003 05:01 am (UTC) (Link)
when the tenors were being wusses

Are they ever anything else? ;)

I was the most macho member of Pembroke's tenor section... I found this quite worrying.
bopeepsheep From: bopeepsheep Date: December 1st, 2003 05:57 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm a tenor too. And there was at least one more in Chaos while we were at uni.

(Chaos: CHoir And OrcheStra...)
bopeepsheep From: bopeepsheep Date: December 1st, 2003 05:58 am (UTC) (Link)
Oops, no, the S stands for Society. Brookes aren't quite that strange.
j4 From: j4 Date: December 1st, 2003 04:37 am (UTC) (Link)
Wow, envy -- I'd have loved to do "Carmina Burana"!

I've known quite a few female tenors actually -- I'm used to singing in small choirs/groups and there are always more lasses than lads, and the girls with decent lowish altos tend to get roped in as emergency tenors. Why do so few blokes seem able/willing to sing tenor?

There was one service at Pembroke where I was singing tenor, Edmund (our junior organ scholar) was singing alto, and Sara (senior organ scholar) was making the most of a hangover and singing bass. We thought it was hilarious, but I doubt if the congregation (usually consisting of one or two ancient half-asleep dons) even noticed...
From: bibliogirl Date: December 1st, 2003 04:46 am (UTC) (Link)
Back in high school, we had a madrigal group consisting of about half a dozen sopranos, about the same number of altos, me singing tenor and our (male) physics teacher singing bass. Bass is unfortunately a little beyond me even with a hangover, though with my current scratchy throat I might be able to make a better stab at it than usual :)

The tenor part for Carmina Burana's great. Not only do you get most of the well-known tunes (an octave or two below the sopranos) but the men have a lot of the really fun bits anyhow - In Taberna is sooo much fun to sing, even if it does require inordinate amounts of breath to keep up with the pace.
j4 From: j4 Date: December 1st, 2003 05:06 am (UTC) (Link)
We never managed a madrigal group, but we had the "Sixth Form vocal ensemble" which didn't have any basses but managed some rather nice close-harmony singing nonetheless.

Bass is unfortunately a little beyond me even with a hangover

Me too! Bottom D is about my sensible limit, bottom C at a push (and it doesn't always come out very well). Sara managed a clear, no-nonsense bottom A. *boggle*
From: bibliogirl Date: December 1st, 2003 05:11 am (UTC) (Link)
About the same as me, then. I can make bottom C with luck and a following wind, but not reliably; D is usually fairly sure, E is never a problem.

A. Sheesh. I should be so lucky. :)
keris From: keris Date: December 1st, 2003 10:29 am (UTC) (Link)
I've been known to get a B or B flat before, although C is really my performing limit. I can't sing alto, it goes way too high!
*waves and bounces*
dott the midget tenor.
teleute From: teleute Date: December 1st, 2003 04:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
I am so impressed with you all. I'm a confirmed mezzo since despite haveing a 2.5 octave range the sop parts are too high and the alto parts too low. I once managed a low D when I had tonsilitis, and was really proud of myself. However, due to the tonsilitis, I could only sing about 5 notes, all of them lower than I'd ever sung before ;)
imc From: imc Date: December 1st, 2003 06:55 am (UTC) (Link)
Why do so few blokes seem able/willing to sing tenor?

Because low notes are more fun? :-)

Most men appear to be baritones and thus struggle at tenor parts when they go too high. Some tenor parts are interesting and I've been known to section-hop on occasions when there are too few real tenors, but I have to cheat to get the top notes.
From: kaet Date: December 1st, 2003 06:57 am (UTC) (Link)
I sing a slightly sharp B flat. On good days I can also sing a slightly flat B natural.
emperor From: emperor Date: December 1st, 2003 07:46 am (UTC) (Link)
Wow, envy -- I'd have loved to do "Carmina Burana"!

I'm always amused by the "fish chorus"[1] :-)






[1]oh, for tuna!
j4 From: j4 Date: December 2nd, 2003 04:22 am (UTC) (Link)
<groan>
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