The second of a few memorable musical Christmases
BLOG NO.33 – IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO READ BLOG NO.32 FIRST, CLICK HERE
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Since it’s the season to be jolly and joyous (to quote The Muppet Christmas Carol) I thought I’d give you all, and myself, a break from the usual blogs and bore you with some different ones instead. No.2 is about the second Christmas I can remember, that of 1965…at least I think that was the year. I must have been around 8 or 9. Anyhow, it was the year of my first public singing performance. This all happened at Greenland Infant and Primary School, South Moor, Stanley, County Durham.
The first thing I remember is the choosing of who would be playing who in that year’s Nativity play. I so wanted to play Joseph…or a shepherd. I wanted to wear a costume, and have one of those tea-towels on my head! One by one the parts were going, and my name wasn’t called out. In the end there was no one left, and I was crest-fallen. But then my teacher – Miss Handy I think it was, though I can’t be certain – turned to me and said, “Malcolm [my real name], I want you to sing ‘In The Bleak Midwinter‘. I should have been elated, I should have been proud, but I wanted to wear a tea-towel on my head, and the singing would involve no costume or tea-towel!
Of course, when I told my mother she was proud…I think. It was hard to tell with ‘me mam’ as she wasn’t one for showing her feelings. I can’t remember her being in the audience that bleak midwinter afternoon, but I’m sure she must have been. My dad had passed away only a year or two before, so he was there in spirit only. I can still remember the sea of faces staring up at me: proud mum’s and dads…and probably a load of parents just wishing it was over; but I don’t remember being afraid. I may have been a bit nervous, but not frightened. (This would stand me in good stead for my later performing career.) So, I slowly walked out onto the stage, turned to face the audience, and began to sing…”In the bleak midwinter. frosty winds may blow.…” and I remember loving it. Loving the singing, loving the attention. Loving it all! I think I sang three verses, and when I finished there was applause. My first audience applause. I bowed as best as I could, and I walked off stage. As I did, I saw my teacher crying. I don’t think, at the time, I knew why she was wiping her eyes, but I hope was because it moved her and not because it was excruciating. It certainly moved me, and I had forgotten all about not wearing a costume or a tea-towel on my head.
I’ll leave you with Susan Boyle at the Royal Albert Hall, singing the version of the carol that I sang. Merry Christmas to you all.
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Until next one,