I sat in Chaucer’s Pub in London last night, listening to the folk music beauty of The Friends of Fiddler’s Green. This group of balding gents has been at it for 45 years, and five of the six fellows only a few feet away from me were original members. Fiddle, guitar, button accordions, bagpipes and piano blended with full-throated voices.
A song or two into the first set, we heard Stephen Foster’s Hard Times. And when it was time for the chorus, we eighty audience members let loose:
‘Tis the song, the sign of the weary
Hard times, hard times, come again no more
Many days you have lingered all around my cabin door
Oh hard times, come again no more.
After the last notes had melted away, the woman in front of me turned around and said “You have a lovely voice.” I smiled and said thank you. I was pleased. At the same time, my head swirled with past deficiencies.
I was singing The Rose at a karaoke party in St. Lucia decades ago and thought I was doing well. Jody, however, couldn’t take my off-key effort and retired to our room. I wonder if I really was that bad.
I sang in a choir for years and never was offered a solo part. I wanted one, and I should have asked for one, but I didn’t. Maybe my voice just wasn’t good enough.
I was working with a visually impaired student and her Grade 8 graduation was coming up. She and I decided to audition for the grads’ talent show. We worked hard on The Prayer but the supervising teacher turned us down. Was it me?
At the end of the folk concert, the woman in front of me extended her hand and said “I’m so glad I sat in front of you and could hear you sing all night.”
Life is a mystery