Wednesday 28 December 2022

Selective memory?


Who else makes a habit of listening to Carols from Kings at 3 pm on Christmas eve? Many people say that is when Christmas officially  begins for them 

One of my favourite parts of Christmas is hearing carols sung. It used to be singing them too, I still like that, although my voice now has a disturbing 'old lady' quaver in it. I can hear my grandmother - which is disconcerting.  

I used to sing in the school choir - we gave public concerts in one of the local churches at Christmas. I also sang with the youth group of the church - we did a 'book' at Christmas and Easter - a selection of lessons and music for the occasion. I sang duets with a friend - two fragile blondes in our best coats/dresses looking as if butter would not melt on our song sheets. The old ladies loved it. We've both changed a bit since then. 

As a result of all this, I have a pretty comprehensive repertoire of hymn and especially carol lyrics. With some notable exceptions. Some I only have the chorus - that was when there was a soloist and the main choir only came in for that. Sometimes I can still remember the descant that the choir sang over general singing from the congregation. I've learned all the words to Good King Wenceslas now, but for a long time I only knew the king - which was the part I sang duetting with Denise. One very frustrating mystery is We Three Kings - I clearly sang the last king, Balthazar, with his gift of Myrrh, the creepy sinister one, with the gruesome lyrics. Was this where the dark side began or early typecasting? I think Denise was the first king with the gift of gold - but who sang the middle one? I have no memory of that. Lost now in the mists of time. 

The trigger that prompted this post was  Kings singing Adam Lay ybounden  which usually accompanies a reading from Genesis. It's is a favourite, but I can sing only half of it. What happened to the other half? I must have known it all once. Perhaps the first half stuck because the language is more unusual and had to be learned more carefully?

Overall the carol concert provokes memories. Happy times, and a few tears. 

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