Friday, 14 November 2008

Dramatis Personae

I have been talking (that is, face-to-face and not through the medium of the computer screen) with friends who have read these intermittent missives and have asked for further information. The gist of their request is this: 'Can we have a list of the various characters referred to on your blog so that we can keep up with the story, as-it-were?' My response was somewhat equivocal at first; for I am bound, by reasons of confidentiality (not to say the laws of libel) to keep the identity of many of my fellow travellers here in the cathedral choir a mystery. Where I have used names these have, of course, been changed. Rodney, for example, is not Rodney - middle-aged, balding homosexual tenor and conductor of the local choral society. Well of course he is, but he's not called Rodney. Neither is Drane called Drane (although he sounds like one, and therefore should be). As for the Dean, the Precentor, the sub-Dean, the Chancellor and the Canon Treasurer - well, they're ten-a-penny at cathedrals up and down the country, so no danger there. The same goes for the Director of Music, of DoM (although a few cathedral still appoint at Organist to run the choir, which makes no sense whatsoever. Why should someone, by means of instrumental virtuosity, be deemed qualified to teach choristers to sing? It would be like assuming that the Dean, by virtue of his theological credentials, knows anything at all about Christianity, or the Treasurer, money. No, far better to appoint a singer, in my view. Just not the lamentable failure we seem to have 'copped' for here!) Where was I? Ah yes, the DoM. Well, nobody could recognise him from my descriptions. There are at least half-a-dozen other likely candidates within a fifty mile radius of the gentleman in question. But what about the 'Boy', the Assistant Organist - Robin to the DoM's Batman? Could any other cathedral have a serial shagger in the organ loft? And dear Lord above, haven't they gone and given him the cathedral girls choir? The girls choir, for the love of God! Girls! And Shagger Stephenson! Can you imagine? (Well, I suspect a number of you can, which is why I am about to draw a veil over proceedings. And no, Stephenson is not his real name! Really, what do you take me for?) Speaking of the girls, though, I must say how well they have, ahem, 'performed' on their recent outings with the Boy. What a fine, melodious sound the Assistant Organist has managed to coax from their adolescent breasts. What purity of vocal harmony has he procured from their delicate, teenage lips. Oh, there can be no doubt about it. The Boy's got talent. No doubt once he's made his reputation (provided he hasn't ruined it first) he'll be seeking his fortune as a DoM at one of the great cathedrals of the realm. Oh yes, dear reader, on the evidence thus far he has a great future ahead of him. Provided, that is, he conserves at least a little of his prodigious energy. Honestly, I've never known a fellow quite so... busy!

Ho hum. I shall, in due course, add a cast list to what Blogger calls the 'side-bar'. I hope it helps. Until then, let me introduce you to the remainder of the choir...

19 comments:

Nota Bene said...

I was in a choir once. I'm sure I recognise myself. My lawyers, Messrs Grabbit and Runn, will be in touch shortly

Gadjo Dilo said...

Nice analysis, Can Bass. I think I know this choir, I think I'm in it. I would add The Peasant (can't really read music, and not about to learn now - any song that's any good he already knows by heart anyway); The Hairstyle (may not be able to sing - and may have the body of a whale - but is in a choir to show off her hair, which changes every week); and The Angel (regards herself as a conduit through which God Himself speaks, and consequently sounds like the ondes martenot in Messiaen's Turangalila symphony). Cheers!

French Fancy said...

Hello my clerical blogging friend - albeit of two minutes ago. I do like your profile but I must admit I really do not enjoy most choral music, unless it is of course Beethoven's 9th or Mahler's 8th.

thanks for popping by.

Brother Tobias said...

And third from the left, second row down?
This is a useful low down. Particularly because my most memorable moments were not in churches (St Mathew Passion; a chapel; Sacheverall Sitwell's 'By the Rio Grande'; a concert hall). In fact, the only proper church do was a carol service in Maidenhead, where I was taken aback by the rude words the regular choir trebles had scrawled in their Hymns Ancient and Modern.

Sir Monocle said...

You actually make an excellent point. On this continent, typically only the wealthiest parishes or cathedrals have organists AND choirmasters. Choir direction is something I may have learned in music school. Though nobody could have prepared me for the "on the job" training I get from my crazy people. Still - unlike french fancy up there, I actually love choral music. If nothing else, I hope my enthusiasm pulls me through.

Reluctant Blogger said...

People leave the room with alacrity when I start to sing.

An opportune time for you to do a cast list as this is my first visit here. Most convenient.

Thanks for popping over to my blog. I will be back here of course . . .

Sweet Cheeks said...

I started out in our church choir at 4 years old. (Soprano until I had my tonsils taken out then I was an alto.) I really liked it and took choir all through school as well. The best thing about church choir on Sundays...we could see what everybody was doing - a treat usually reserved for the pastor and anyone in the back row.

The Dotterel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Can Bass 1 said...

I'm sure everyone recognises themselves, Mr Bene. Insufficient evidence for your lawyers, I'm afraid.

But I thought you were in the OU choir, Mr Dildo? Oh, I see. The Peasant isn't you. Sorry. (Who's Messiaen? Only joking - unfortunately.)

My dear Miss Fancy. There's nothing wrong with Beethoven's Ninth (apart from the nationality of the composer. I'm less sure of Mahler. Doesn't he go on?)

Oh dear, Brother Tobias, you have clearly met trebles as rude and unmusical as ours. Now the girls are a different matter entirely.

It is only recently that English cathedrals have been able to afford an organist AND choirmaster, Sir Monocle. Fifty years ago a mechanical hand operated from the organ loft was all that was needed to keep the choir in time. Our DoM is not much better.

You are most welcome, Reluctant Blogger. Most of my former friends seem to have deserted me!

My word, Miss Cheeks! Were you consulted about the operation? It seems a rather drastic solution to the worldwide alto shortage!

Kevin Musgrove said...

You're a braver man than me, cb1! I've always briskly defied any requests to provide a dramatis personae for my blog for fear of compromising my already shaky anonymity.

Your diagram provides a useful guide to the types. I shall use it as a crib sheet for tomorrow's Songs of Praise. Could you publish a thin volume of types in an I-Spy format for those of us with a competetive streak?

Sweet Cheeks said...

Well actually ...we had too many bass singers at the time. Several boys went in for what they 'thought' was a tonsil removal...magically our cup runneth over with slightly effeminate tenors. So sad...

2-Sox Admin said...

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We are aiming to form a Council of seven Consiglieri.

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(The Gaffer, The Chef, & The Magic Sponge Man)

Rob Clack said...

I'm saving your post to read tomorrow, but in the mean time have tagged you.

Gadjo Dilo said...

I was in the OU choir, Mr Can Bass, where I indeed played 3rd Peasant in Vaughan-Williams' seldom performed oratorio I've got a Brand New Combine Harvester - an orchestration, of course, of the song of that name by The Wurzles.

inkspot said...

Dear Can Bass, in my college the most shocking behaviour would take place, not in the bar, not in the boat club, not amongst the rugger buggers, but in the choir. At it like stoats, according to to my sources.
I didn't know of the organ loft as the locus in quo, however.

BEAST said...

I use my blog to spread scurrilous rumours about my friends and family.
Ma Beasty was less annoyed at being portrayed as an abusive old drunk(She never drinks) as me being horribly rude about her cooking(She is a very good cook).
She stubornly refuses to understand that there is no such thing as bad publicity

Working mum said...

He he he! LOVED the cartoon! Tried to work out which one was me, then I read "The Sorter" - guess who was the librarian of the Manchester Chorale for 5 years and hasn't quite let go ..........

PS word verification was "dosses": seems quite appropriate today as I'm off work with a cold!

Barry Teeth, Beet Poet said...

Do you know if there are any good choirs near Denver? I quite fancy doing some community work like singing or something.

inkspot said...

Barry, there's Ely cathedral. There must be someone there who Can Bass knows, hates or despises.