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From Joyce


We’re gathered here on this auspicious date,
Our own renowned success to celebrate.
Ten years we’ve reached, and what a splendid innings,
Considering our casual beginnings.
From homely singing sessions at Rosebank
Emerged the task force that we have to thank.
Our leader spoke, with evangelic fire,
“I really fancy starting up a choir.”
No sooner were the words pronounced than Ryall
Traversed the region, clambered brook and stile,
And stuck on trees and posts, besides his own,
The number of MacGowans’ telephone.
The word went out. It buzzed in Murray’s shop,
It filled the pub, the car park, the Co-op.
For days on end without an intermission
The whisper went: “Have you had your audition?”
They came from Drymen, Gartness and Balfron,
The Branziert, and the depths of Drumbeg Loan.
And so began our choral history.
Remember that first concert? Dearie me.
The poor old audience, taking us on trust,
Endured the sound of twenty years of rust.

We’ve come a long way from those early days.
Our musical panache has won us praise.
When asked if we’d perform, we heard the call.
We’ve sung in church, in school, in village hall.
We’ve knocked them dead, we’ve laid them in the aisles.
We shook the ancient timbers of St. Giles!
We’ve sung come classy music on the way.
There’s Faure, and there’s Bach, and Scots Wha Hae,
And others that perhaps are best forgotten,
Like Kymbaya, or Pick a Bale o’ Cotton.
But if our hearts should swell with pride undue,
Remember, people, Deck the Halls, verse two.
We’ve not gone in for Schoenberg or Kodaly;
We give our fans mulled wine, and mincemeat pie.
We do not try to mesmerise or baffle;
We offer them smoked salmon in a raffle.
All kinds of cultural forces we can rally.
We gave them Scotland’s first male corps de ballet.
Our versatility no limit knows.
We’ve done three splendid operatic shows.
Production teams of national renown
Have nothing on our Barrett and MacGowan.
The Pirates shook the village hall with laughter,
While Beasley’s singing threatened every rafter.
The ladies chorus tripped across the stage,
The kindly lights disguising their true age.
The men, though diabolic in rehearsal,
On first night underwent a strange reversal.
Vignettes of cosmic resonance came at you,
Like Cameron pretending he’s a statue.
Who can forget, above the bright footlights,
That vision fair of Walter in black tights?
And just how many shows, present or past,
Can boast a real retriever in the cast?
What shows can count themselves the Pirates’ peers?
In three years’ time we got the Gondoliers.
Lo, in their acid yellow tartan glory,
The Duchess and the Duke of Tobermory.
With Robin’s scarlet drawers for all to see,
And fixed to Mrs. Bruce’s head a tree.
The ladies chorus, uniformly charming,
Danced on, their colour just a touch alarming.
The men our leader’s beat forgot to follow,
And Alex got an unexpected solo.
And three years on, the mixture as before,
We did it once again, with Pinafore.
Remember Andrew’s natty naval gear?
Did Knox forget his patter song? No fear.
The ladies chorus weren’t asked to dance.
Heart failure now was just too big a chance.
Some did the hornpipe, mad impetuous fools.
The rest stood, and looked after the cagoules.

It’s great to reminisce, to think of names,
Like Burch, Wright, Willie Wybar, Gwylim James,
There’s Williamson, Fairmanner, and McClure.
Maggie went to New Zealand for a cure.
There’s Richard Smith (for rude jokes none was keener.)
Remember that wee German girl, Sabine?
And in among the names of those long gone,
There’s others whose support goes on and on.
Folk like Morella – tickets are her thing.
She’s worked away, and never got to sing.
And people like the Georges who’re on hand
To play, advise, or join our happy band.
With such a social bunch we couldn’t lose;
The parties, cheese and wines, the barbecues,
The carol singing, evenings in The Bull –
The years with happy memories are full.

And though, through no one’s fault, our members change,
Our leadership we’d never re-arrange.
Accompaniments can never fail to please
With Helen ‘Fingers’ Barclay at the keys.
She’s there on Monday nights, through thick and thin,
And smiles her way through each appalling din.
And as for our director, let us state,
No changes could we bear to contemplate.
She sighs, she smiles, she waves her arms about,
On very rare occasions she might shout,
But one and all we worship her because
No one can do it half as well as Ros.

We don’t need any New Year resolution,
No fresh amendment to the constitution.
We’ll go on singing ten more years at least.
If they want music, we’ll provide a feast.
So long as ears can hear, our music lingers.
Let’s drink a toast. To us. Strathendrick Singers.