Monday, 18 June 2012

I Took My Harp To A Party ...

I heard this song, sung by Gracie Fields, a few times as a child, and now it has come back to haunt me. I have a few lines on the brain.

Perhaps it's because part of me is still steeped in northern (English) accents and culture, after my weekend away in Blackpool at the George Formby Society Convention; or perhaps it's just because I find myself busy preparing to take my ukulele, rather than a harp, to various parties over the next few weeks.

I wrote about Huw's party, where I'd been asked to lead a sing-song - a great success; except that Ghost Riders in the Sky came completely off the rails with indeterminate pauses ath the ends of lines, and I'll never do it again! The Banana Boat Song brought the house down. The next sing-along was at a slightly more sedate annual dinner, and I aired my party-piece Finlandia for the first time before the sing-along. Someone said that my little Greg Bennett concert uke sounded like a lute... nice.

A sing-along does seem to go down well. People appreciate the chance to sing the old loved songs together; they do sing, as long as have some words.... people don't get the chance to sing with others in every-day life, unless they are in a choir. And although the ukulele has become so popular, most people still have not come across one, or heard one played, except on old films.

And I have to prepare for three more song-songs, coming up over the next three weeks.

The thing is, different occasions and different groups of people need different songs, I find. A wedding calls for a different set of songs from - say - a group of WI ladies. You don't want anything plaintive at a wedding; at a wedding you need all up-beat happy songs, whereas at other gatherings people may enjoy a song list that includes a few songs with a bit of pathos. You get the idea. But compiling these selections is keeping me busy.

If you have a ukulele, do take it to a party - unlike Gracie with her harp, you'll soon be asked to play!


  1. I won't do Ghost Riders for the same reason! Chaos. You are so right about sing songs. Everyone loves to sing but as we get older we become worried about whether we are any good. Sing songs let people hid behind a crowd. I'd love to see you lists. I've got a couple of events coming up and could do with some help!!
    Great article. Again!

    1. Thank you, that's so kind! And you're so right; singing with others lets you "lose" your own voice if you want, while still using it at full volume... and singing is SO good for you, body and soul! Lists coming up......! :D


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