Letters to the Editor: Mike Tunes Up For Old Age

Mike has found a new pastime and he’s enjoying it!

As we get older and then retire it becomes a problem as to what we might fill our spare time with?

I had been involved as a volunteer at our local rugby club but as I got even older and my joints even stiffer, I thought that perhaps I needed to be looking for new plans/ideas of ways I might spend my spare time.

For many years I had gone around singing to myself much to the irritation of family and friends. “You really cannot sing Mike” I had heard from them all and to be honest singing to oneself out loud might lead anyone to that conclusion. But I did enjoy “making music” and even singing carols every Christmas along with the rest of the congregation, but never too loudly! (It’s surprising at times when we all need to sing in public, say to join in the songs at a church or even a funeral, to see just how little noise a great number of people seem able to make!).

Anyway a couple of years ago I was in just such a situation, singing along to the school song Jerusalem, after my grand daughter’s prize giving, when a reasonably close relative said to me “Mike I didn’t know you could sing” ( I still don’t think I can really) but she went on to ask“Why don’t you join a choir?

And so a couple of years ago I went along to see if I could join up to sing.

I chose the Third Age Choir which practices every Monday am for an hour at St Judes. The first practice was a little worrying.  What would they think? Could I really sing a little? Might I have to do an audition? I certainly couldn’t read music nor did I fancy an audition!!!

Worries were soon put aside with no audition needed, just a quick hello, here’s your music, grab a chair

But that first hour of practice simply flew by. We had no sooner started than it was over. After that first practice I couldn’t wait until the next week to have another go. It was really fun. I didn’t think they could really hear me singing bass at the back. But I did enjoy it.

Since then we have sung at around half a dozen public events and I can even now read a little music. But more importantly I love singing out loud even though I am just one of 3 dozen voices. I am now confident enough to sing out loud at family events and my family now refrain from suggesting that I cannot sing.

Last Christmas a family member who has Parkinson’s said she too loved to sing but realised that perhaps she couldn’t. I persuaded her to go along and join the Parkinson’s choir locally and when we met over Christmas this year she said that she too really loved the practice and public performances. She said that she felt really good after each practice. And, that, like me, she was astounded, singing alongside other sufferers from Parkinsons, how quickly their hour was up and that it made her feel so much better

It was quite a while later in my case when we were practising carols for this Christmas when I plucked up courage to ask our conductor a question about the carol we were to practice. She announced it as “the Virgin Mary had a Baby boy” but on the music it was headed “Da Virgin Mary had a Baby Boy” so I asked her which we should sing.

Her response “Sing whatever you like Mike no one will hear you back there!!” So obviously I still have a way to go yet!!!!

Our signature Tune is “You’re not too old” and perhaps you too may find the same enjoyment in singing It really is easy to find a choir to sing in and you’ll make some good friends too.