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On a high

October 7, 2014

If someone had told me, a month ago, that I would be spending my Monday nights singing a Norwegian carol in a draughty studio off East Road in Cambridge, whilst sober, I’d have probably told them they were drunk. Or at least, that I should be.

I’m not hugely musical. I spent a painful three years attempting to learn the flute at secondary school, keeping up the pretence that I was gradually improving, and my mother’s patience whilst sat outside my tutor’s house in a leafy suburb would one day be worth the effort. I gave it up at age fifteen, deciding boys and weekend lie-ins were better.

I’ve had not had much singing experience either. I clearly recall the look of dismay and anguish on my colleagues’ faces as I attempted karaoke at last year’s work’s Christmas party, and noticed the whispered instructions to the barman to not let me near any more cocktails (or indeed the mic).

But I’ve always loved music, and have been told, in sober moments, that I have a passable singing voice. And so, when attending a Christmas concert last year at the Cambridge Corn Exchange, by an outfit called the Dowsing Sound Collective, because a couple of my friends were in it, and I wanted to ‘feel Christmassy’, I got thoroughly carried away during the audience participation, and romped my way through the carols and tunes we were invited to sing along to. I loved it, and wanted to be part of it. But inevitably life sort of got in the way and I forgot all about it, and only remembered again a few weeks ago, and decided to put my name down on the off chance they might need a slightly tipsy second soprano.

Amazingly (for me, less so for them) they did, and so it is that I find myself on a slightly damp Monday evening singing some bizarre Icelandic pidgin, to a tune I definitely recall hearing on almost infinite repeat during the World Cup some years back, whilst voices soar high and low around me.

And what voices! Although an amateur choir, they are gorgeous. High, low, hesitant, proud, rich and throaty, and angel-wing soft. Amongst this cacophony of noise my soul soars and (dear God I’m getting poetic, this doesn’t happen often) I find myself grinning through the la’s, not having a clue what I’m singing but thoroughly enjoying every moment of this shared high.

And we’re doing a gig! Blow me if they’re not letting me loose on a stage, with a band and a sound system, and something like 1500 people in front of me, waiting expectantly to ‘feel Christmassy’. It’s going to be amazing and I cannot wait.

So if you see me wandering around the vicinity of East Road on a Monday evening between now and Christmas, headphones in with absolutely blatant disregard for my surroundings, the general public, and indeed traffic, warbling some incomprehensible high note, don’t worry – I’m not insane, or even drunk. I’m just practising my high C. See you at the gig.

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