There’s been a recent phenomenon in community activity known as the “pub choir”. People gather in a pub at a prearranged time, learn a song, sing it together and share a drink (or two).
It’s funny that it’s seen as a recent phenomenon. Singing in alcohol-selling establishments dates back centuries. A singalong in the local tavern was a common sight in days gone by.
But then came records and movies and tv and Celebrities. And people began to believe that singing was the domain of only the supremely talented.
Community singing groups have done an admirable job in recent decades to try and disprove that view but if conversations I had the other evening are any indication, they can still tend to be seen by some as only for ‘singers’. If one does not see oneself as a singer, it’s easy to be scared off by an official singing group no matter how welcoming.
The pub choir, on the other hand, seems open to anyone who wants to just have a crack at singing a song. Perhaps it’s the beer hall vibe where raucous and imperfect singing is seen as acceptable. Perhaps it’s the attraction of being able to lubricate any nerves with a glass or two of an adult beverage. Perhaps it’s just that video footage of such events always makes it look like a whole lot of fun.
The other night I attended my first pub choir event. And I’m sold on the concept. It’s a simple set up, with a well known song chosen (and, it appears, one that just cries out for enthusiastic singing), easy-to-learn harmonies divided into high, middle and low and words and simple guidelines projected on a screen. Accompaniment on this night was a keyboard and drums.
The whole process only lasts a couple of hours with time for breaks factored in (for further lubrication if required). I went alone which was a challenge for me but before long I was singing along with newfound friends having a wonderful time.
And we well and truly built this city on rock and roll.
Have you ever attended a pub choir? What was it like?