Issue Number 139
Mid-Summer Edition 2013
Well, yes - I am glad I made Bournemouth. Eternally grateful to Stuart and Mark for re-jigging the stack to accommodate me after I'd had second thoughts and to Trev and Ant for getting me there on time - and to Peter for a thoroughly enjoyable return home afterwards. As I write elsewhere, the Knights are a great bunch of guys and it's a privilege to sing with them. And it's been a privilege to edit and produce Knight Life over these past six years or so. That said, it is time to move over and let someone else breathe new life into the club magazine. I applaud all my contributors - Peter Stoker and Cliff Warman for their regularity, the two Grahams for a wealth of pictures which brought life to the pages of script; to Chas Owen and Stuart Lines and to Mike Abbott and John Tarbit for the more mundane but essential updates of developments at Barbershop HQ; to Simon Drew and not least to Kieran Meehan for their generous permission to feature their work in this comparatively unknown corner of club-land publishing. If I've missed out anyone well, it is six years. To you all, please accept my thanks - I couldn't have done it without you. So, where now? The Executive Committee really need your guidance on whether you believe The Knights of Harmony needs a club magazine - and if so, what form that magazine should take. It really is down to you guys! Just let them know! It may be that Knight Life has runs its course: nothing is forever but the last thirty-eight years must count for something. Go to it Guys - because you're worth it! Chess Valley Barbershop Singers Knight Life Editor: Joe Norton
Website: KnightsofHarmony.org.uk E'mail: email@example.com
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GRAHAM PAGES'S IMAGES FROM A COTTAGE SMALL, St OSYTH, ESSEX
CRAIG WILLIAM DALLENDER HIGHLY RECOMMENDS THE POLKA DOTS,
who performed with us at our annual show last year have a gig in Beaconsfield on Saturday 29th June. If any of you can make it along I highly recommend it - they have some fantastic new songs!
The views expressed here are personal to the author and do not necessarily reflect the view of the Executive Committee or the Club as a whole
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Simon Hargrave writes . . .
The Legend of St Osyth
What do the following have in common? A Ferrari Testarossa (red, of course); A boatyard; A privately-owned priory in need of much restoration; A cottage small with a stream at the bottom of the garden; Gardens filled with flowers; Two alpacas; Two rheas; Victorian ladies; A bunch of wandering minstrels clad in yellow jackets; The answer? St Osyth, of course!
The first nunnery was founded for Osyth, daughter of Redwald, the first Christian king of East Anglia and of Wilburga, his wife, daughter of Penda, king of the Mercians. She was, when very young, entrusted to the care of St. Modwen, at Pollesworth, in Warwickshire. While there she was sent with a book from St. Edith, Alfred's sister, to Modwen, fell off a bridge into a river, and was said to be drowned. Happily she was restored to life by the prayers of St. Modwen. Osyth's parents, as soon as she returned to them, betrothed her to Sighere, king of Essex. On her wedding day a white hart appeared, which Sighere and the rest of the male party went off in pursuit, allowing Osyth to escape. This white stag appears on the stained glass windows in the Chapel and the hart is also seen on other parts of the buildings too. When Sighere eventually found Osyth she explained that she had vowed herself to Christ and could not be his wife. Sighere was generous and religious; he accepted her decision and let her take religious vows. Then he gave her his village of Chich, which became Chich St Osyth, and built a nunnery for her in Nun’s Wood, of which she became the abbess. The house was of the order of the Maturines. But in October, 653, a band of Danes under Inguar and Hubba landed in the neighbourhood of Chich, and ravaged the country. They came to Osyth's nunnery, and, bringing forth the young abbess into the Nun's Wood, commanded her to worship their gods; she steadfastly refused; they threatened her with scourging and worse torments, but she continued faithful to her own creed: "she would worship only Christ." Then, infuriated, Hubba bade her lay down her head to be cut off. She meekly obeyed. Her head was severed from her body close by the spring, that is called by her name, and which still flows to feed the historic lakes. Her executioners were astonished when she picked up her head and, holding it at arm’s length, walked to the village church, where she knocked several times on the door before slumping to the ground. Legend holds that every October 7th her ghost repeats the miraculous feat, and can be seen in the churchyard at midnight, holding her severed head.
But what do the Ferrari, an Aston convertible, an E-type, a Merc 230SL, and a Bentley have in common? Personalised number plates all featuring the letters TOD The Buffalo Theory A herd of buffalo can only move as fast as the slowest buffalo. When the herd is hunted, it is the slowest and the weakest at the back that are killed first. This natural selection is good for the herd, because the general speed and health of the whole group is improved by the regular predation of the weakest members. In much the same way, the human brain can only operate as fast as the slowest brain cells. Excessive intake of alcohol, as we know, kills brain cells; but, naturally, only the slowest and weakest brain cells die first. In this way, regular consumption of beer stimulates the weaker brain cells, making the brain a faster and more efficient machine. That’s why you always feel smarter after a few beers
The views expressed here are personal to the author and do not necessarily reflect the view of the Executive Committee or the Club as a whole
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Peter Dell, former lead singer with the Knights, had a nearrecord length of staynd at the St Francis Hospice in Berkhamsted, until his death on 2 June 2013. He left sons Stuart and Phillip, who were with him at his passing, which they described as 'peaceful and dignified'. In 2011 he suffered the loss of his wife Sue, who also spent her last few weeks in the St Francis Hospice. When Peter’s own cancer (a secondary from prostate cancer was treated some years back) developed, he was at first admitted to Watford General, but he prayed that he might be transferred to St Francis. Those of us who visited him can testify to his good spirit – there was no shortage of laughter in our conversations. As recently as April, Peter was still lively enough to send his regards to all of the Knights and his best wishes for our efforts at the Bournemouth Convention. Although Peter had wonderful care from the hospice staff, which made things so much more bearable for him and his family in his final days, it was always clear that what he really wanted was to leave us and travel to join his beloved wife, Sue . Bon voyage, Peter! Wanted – Treasurer I am due to stand down as the Club Treasurer at the AGM in September and we are therefore looking for a volunteer to take over. The main requirement is to have a working knowledge of spreadsheets – all the accounts are done on Excel. This is very straightforward and just means that one should keep them up to date regularly, then all runs smoothly. Excel even does the adding up! Interested? Contact me for any further information.
Fiona Lines Hon Treasurer
Just a quick reminder: Knights' BarbieQ at Al Lines place in St Albans, Sunday 30 June from 12.30pm. Got your tickets, yet ???
The views expressed here are personal to the author and do not necessarily reflect the view of the Executive Committee or the Club as a whole
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Marketing Matters Knight's Annual Show at the Elgiva Saturday, October 5 If you look in the diary dates you will see that our next Elgiva show is on October 5th. As a 'Heads Up' on what delights are in store for our audience I can tell you that this year there will be only three acts the Knights, the Jackie Palmer Girls Choir and a Pianist called Alex Ainley. Girls Choir - Most of you will recall that the Girls Choir were the winners at the Chesham Music festival in February. Although I was not there, those who were thought they were great, so that’s why we booked them. The Choir is drawn from the Jackie Palmer Stage School, which was formed at High Wycombe in 1971. The Choir, formed in January, is led by Sara Lawson and details of the school can be found on http://www.jackiepalmerstageschool.co.uk Alex Ainley - A lawyer by day, Alex Ainley is also an incredibly gifted pianist and alongside lots of laughter he will perform musical favourites from Chopin , Strauss, Gershwin and Rodgers & Hammerstein. As an indication of what league Alex is in I have included a piece from the Elizabeth Leagacy of Hope website. Classic FM's Lucy Coward spoke to Victoria Bacon and pianist Alex Ainley recently, about the work of the charity. Their forthcoming fun filled concert, An Evening of Music and Laughter at the Piano with Alex Ainley, is in aid of the charity Elizabeth’s Legacy of Hope (ELofH) has been inspired by twin sisters Sarah Hope and Victoria
Bacon. Sarah’s daughter lost a leg in a horrific traffic accident when she was just two years old. Her mother Elizabeth died at the scene of the accident and Sarah, too, was badly injured. Since that day, the Hope family have discovered what it means to receive the best care in the world and, albeit with some difficulty, Sarah’s little girl Pollyanna can walk, jump, skip and therefore play, just like her friends. ELofH is working to help these children who've lost limbs as a result of malnutrition, accidents, landmines, illness and violence, giving them the prosthetic limbs and the support they need so that they can have a free and happy childhood.
By reducing the number of acts we have been able to reduce the costs and so this year the tickets are priced at stalls £10 and tiered £12. So, we have something different and high class to offer our supporters, now all we have to do is sell those tickets. In view of Alan’s move to Essex, the Ticket Secretary is Preston so get in early or you may lose out.
October Learn to Sing Course th
Next October 10 will be the start of our latest LTS course. We have tried courses in January and September in the past but this is the first time we have started in October. This time will also be different on the marketing front as we will be using the BABS profiling and leaflet delivery in an effort to reach a target market. This will mean that you will not be asked to distribute thousands of leaflets as in the past but there will be some we can use more locally. Stuart & Laurence will be running the course which will leave Mark free to concentrate on the full chorus. As in the past all students will be encouraged to mix with the chorus and to stay and watch the later part of our rehearsals. The reason I am putting this in Knight Life now is to encourage you to start thinking of who you might encourage to come along to the course. Do you have contacts at any of the local college music departments? Is there anybody at work who has shown an interest? Let’s try and make it as successful as possible.
Page 6 of 18 The Editor received the following e'mail from the Marketing Manager. The Editor's response follows. Letter to Knight Life
At the last committee meeting, we discussed the use of Knight Life as a communication tool in todayâ€™s market. In 1975 when the first issue of the in-house magazine was printed there were no such things as websites or e-mails let alone Yahoo groups or Facebook pages. Inevitably, with the event of all the social media methods of communications now available, the printed word is out of date before going to press. As an example, on todayâ€™s back page you will see the diary dates. To get this information to Joe I have gone to the website to ascertain what was in the diary. I am fairly sure most of us go to the website for such information, as we do for music and teach tracks. In view of Joeâ€™s impending retirement as editor, the committee felt it was the appropriate time to cease producing a regular edition of Knight Life but reserve publication to cover particular events in the future. By making this announcement now we are giving sufficient time for any member to place an item on the AGM agenda if they strongly disagree with this decision. Finally, I must congratulate Joe on his work over the past few years in producing Knight Life. I know, from my experience as editor, that it is not an easy task, especially when copy is in short supply. I am sure the chorus will join with me in thanking Joe for his efforts to keep the magazine both colourful and light hearted.
Chas Owen Marketing Manager From The Editor Dear Chas, Thank you for your e'mail. From 1975, Knight Life has had a long, honourable and consistent presence within the Club, not least due to your own extended period as Editor. I'm sure you'll readily appreciate that I have no wish to go down in the club's history as the last Editor of Knight Life. The Executive Committee, I feel certain, always has the best interests of the Club and its members at heart, but I must disagree with the perception of Knight Life as a "communications tool in today's market". Of course, in the early days of the club, it was the main means by which information could be disseminated by club management to members and a very effective mechanism for doing so. The DIARY and BIRTHDAYS AND ANNIVERSARIES are telling remnants of those times but it is also true that the CVBS postings via the internet are now a more effective means of getting in touch with most members quickly. However, I simply do not accept that "with the event of all the social media methods of communications now available, the printed word is out of date" - bookshops and newsagents shelves are crammed with magazines, not least magazines dealing with IT. That members' interest in Knight Life has waned, I will not disagree, but I believe that this lack of interest flows directly from the decision to go "online". Most of our members are well on in years and, by nature, are most unlikely to go to the club website to read Knight Life, whereas many will gladly take a hard copy home with them to read at their leisure and have said so. Of course those with internet access will download music scores and teach-tracks - the club website is, rightly, their prime source for that data - but there is a sense in which music scores and teach-tracks are passive and static; there is little members can do but take them as they are. A club magazine, by contrast - if it is any good at all - is essentially dynamic; it is what the members make it by their contributions.
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Knight Life is primarily a magazine for the members, by the members, the means by which members can express their views, welcome or otherwise, about our club, about our music, about anything that affects our enjoyment of Barbershop in all its myriad forms. If it also enjoys a wider audience then the enthusiasm of our members for what we do and what we are will attract the interest of others and Knight Life, co-incidentally, may also become an effective marketing tool. However, marketing is an art form in its own right: I have two daughters both highly successful marketing professionals so I'm acutely aware of the effort and talents (and tears!) needed to promote anything successfully - the younger daughter has just brought three major industry awards to her company. It may be that the EC, in seeking to reduce the costs of producing the magazine - though these weren't high - failed to take account of the doctrine of unintended consequences, the collateral damage which might follow, like those villagers who killed off the golden goose. And there is another facet to this - me! I became aware that I was running out of steam - each edition of Knight Life looked pretty much the same as the previous edition: it - and I - was struggling. So I take some responsibility for that, which is why I decided last year that it was time to stand down. With these three factors - going online and a dearth of decent material and new ideas and a played-out editor - the outcome may be inevitable, though word on the block is that a new editorial star may yet rise. I hope so - the club without a lively magazine will be much the poorer for it. The EC will really need to think through its raison d'ĂŞtre - not least its form and the associated costs. Online publication may sound attractive, but the fact is there ain't nothing quite like having it in your hand.
Joe Norton Editor If you can't convince, confuse
VOCAL MUSICIANSHIP - INTEGRITY OF TONE Liz Garnett is an outstanding Choral Clinician and Performance Coach. She writes extensively and Knight Life has, with permission, included extracts from her work in the past. Here she analyses and comments on Royce Ferguson working with the Cottontown Chorus. Her book 'The British Barbershopper' should be on every Chorus bookshelf This extract from her blog was first published on Monday 7th June 2010
At the BABS convention last week I had the opportunity to observe Royce Ferguson coaching Boltonâ€™s Cottontown Chorus. Royce is best known in the barbershop world as the director who took the Westminster Chorus to their first two international chorus medals in 2006 and 2007. It is not surprising therefore that he is in considerable demand as a coach and he is becoming a regular visitor to the UK in that capacity. In his work with Cottontown he focused on the integrity of tone, on maintaining a sound that was neither breathy nor pushy. Indeed, he identified putting energy behind a breathy tone as the primary cause of vocal strain. He relentlessly insisted on a refinement of tone in which the voice is 'always connected but never heavy-handed'. It is an active tone, not a passive one, which needs constant attention to keep it centred. He talked a lot about letting the natural beauty of the sound resonate without feeling the need to do things to it:
Keep it simple - the music is already there. The more you are true to it, the more it speaks . . . . The more you pile on top of it, the further you get away from it.
Number 139 In service of this agenda, he used an extended metaphor around the sound of the piano. This included the idea of the vibrating strings as a way to get breath out of the voice: how the strings need to be taut if they are to ring. This developed into an awareness of harmonic resonance, of the halo of overtones and undertones the voice generates around a single pitch. He encouraged the singers to put their energy into the high and the low parts of the piano and to minimise their efforts on the middle strings. The size and quality of the piano was also implicated in the resonance; you want to be playing a 9’ Steinway rather than toy piano. This focused the attention on timbre rather than volume – an impressive sound isn’t about singing louder, it’s about singing with more richness. I found this interesting for two reasons. One was the way it crossed the voice/instrument divide so productively. I have critiqued before that discourse of the natural that posits singing as being a more primal (and therefore superior) form of music-making than the artificial technologies of instrumental music, and this was a nice demonstration of how instrumental thinking is no barrier to vocal musicianship. The other was the way that developing a single metaphoric theme allowed him to keep the singers’ attention on the task over extended periods: he spent fifteen minutes on the first three notes of a song, for instance. And this continuity of attention was central to the results he was obtaining. His own focus was unwavering, and any time anyone slipped back into the vocal habits he was replacing he gently but insistently brought them back into his sonic world. It showed vividly how central aural and imaginative stamina is to musical excellence. Watching Royce coach is a case-study in the interpersonal process that Merleau-Ponty1 calls 'inhabitance in the same house of being'. Communication here isn’t about the coach sending messages that the chorus receives, deciphers and acts on, but about setting up a way of being in the world that the singers join in with. There was a significant verbal dimension, as I’ve summarised, but the concepts also lived
Page 8 of 18 in his gestures. And the gestures that presented his ides as he spoke also continued as he gave vocal demonstrations and as the chorus sang, thus gluing together explanation, modelling and action into a single shared world of understanding. Much of the effectiveness of his coaching lies in his own physical demeanour. He has a very integrated posture without kinks or bumps that might distort the voice. You can see it in the integrity of his back and in the line of his wrists. He also carries his musical intention right through to the ends of his fingers. He has either studied Alexander Technique or has simply had the good fortune to develop a helpfully undistorted habitual way of being in the world. So it isn’t surprising that several conversations I heard over the weekend revolved around how long it took various ensembles to ‘get’ Royce. Once you step into his world, you can do great things with him, but if you didn’t experience that connection with him, you would be completely lost. And it also raises interesting questions about what he leaves behind – how successful the singers will be at re-entering that world when he isn’t there to invite them into it. The director is key here. And it was interesting to see that, while Royce focused most of his efforts on the chorus, he also spent time with their director, Neil Firth, inviting him into that gestural/conceptual/sound world at the same time as Neil directed the chorus. Indeed, I suspect that he may have spent more time focused on the director had there not been an audience for the session. It is a reasonably vulnerable position for a director to be coached in front of the chorus (though also a very valuable one of course), but it possibly puts more pressure on the director than necessary to do this in a public setting. But it is his capacity to step back into that space that will determine the level of retention from the sessions. The singers will help him and each other find it – which is why it helps to have Royce work with the whole chorus, not just train the director to do it himself – but it will be his job to keep them there and make that space their own
Maurice Merleau-Ponty was a French phenomenological philosopher, strongly influenced by Edmund Husserl and Martin Heidegger. The constitution of meaning in human experience was his main interest and he wrote on perception, art and politics The views expressed here are personal to the author and do not necessarily reflect the view of the Executive Committee or the Club as a whole
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THOUGHT FOR THE DAY - THE THREE KICK RULE An English lawyer went duck hunting in The Dales . He shot and dropped a bird, but it fell into a farmer's field on the other side of a fence. As the lawyer climbed over the fence, an elderly farmer drove up on his equally elderly tractor and asked him what he was doing. The litigator responded, "I shot a duck and it fell in this field, and now I'm going to retrieve it." The old farmer replied, "This is my property . . . and you are not coming over here." The indignant lawyer said, "I am one of the best trial lawyers in England and if you don't let me get that duck, I'll sue you and take everything you own." The old farmer smiled and said, "Apparently, you don't know how we settle disputes here in t'Dales. We settle small disagreements like this with the 'Three Kick Rule.'" The lawyer asked, "What is this 'Three Kick Rule'?" The farmer replied, "Well, because the dispute occurs on my land, I get to go first. I kick you three times and then you kick me three times and so on back and forth until someone gives up." The lawyer quickly thought about the proposed contest and decided that he could easily take the old codger. He agreed to abide by the local custom. The old farmer slowly clambered down from his tractor and walked up to the lawyer. His first kick planted the toe of his heavy steel-toed work boot firmly into the lawyer's crotch and dropped him to his knees! His second kick to the midriff sent the lawyer's last meal gushing from his mouth. The lawyer was, by now, on all fours when the farmer's third kick to his rear, sent him face-first into a fresh cow-pat. Summoning every bit of his will and remaining strength the lawyer very slowly managed to get to his feet. Wiping his face with the arm of his jacket, he said, "Right, you old bastard. Now it's my turn." The old farmer smiled, clambered back onto his tractor and said, "Nah, I give up. You can have your bloody duck." And the moral of the story is: . . . . . When you are educated, you'll believe only half of what you hear: when you're intelligent, you'll know which half.
THE BIGGER SOCIETY
David Fisher tells all about the CDCA and their management of the White Hill Centre - an enviable asset for the towns-folk of Chesham. Knights! Do you realise that we are part of a Bigger Society? Well, you are because a small part of your Knight's membership fee also pays for your membership of the CHESHAM AND DISTRICT COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION based in the White Hill Centre. This membership fee has been a paltry sum for a number of years, not even increasing for inflation over the past several years. As from 1st September 2013 the fee increases to £8 each, £6 if over 60. However, by collecting these fees the Knights considerably because the discount we receive on room hire rates is far higher than the total of Knights membership fees paid to the Association. Other benefits from being a
member include: Membership of the Association and all rights under the Constitution Free entry to the Centre Priority bookings on all Association events and on Badminton court for non- club sessions when available Representation on the Council. The Association to which you belong is one of a very few such Associations having the distinction of owning its own property. Run by members, for the benefit of members and the wider community, you all number amongst the 523 members privileged to own the White Hill Centre. So not only are you members of a wider community, but you are part owners of the Community Centre. More than 30 years have passed since the founding of the Chesham and District Community Association and the purchase of the redundant White Hill School building from the County Council - less than £40,000 I am given to understand. Thanks to the hard work of dozens of volunteers and a small band of paid staff, the Centre offers over eighty activities and classes for the whole community to enjoy. Throughout its life all surplus income has been ploughed back into the restoration and development of our grand Victorian building. Full use of the first floor which we use was brought about in 2007 when in 2006 £30,000 was raised to fund a lift, solely thanks to the support of members and friends of the Centre. Activities & Classes The Centre is home to four tenants-The Chiltern Society, Chiltern Racial Equality Council, Orchestra of Third Age and Buckinghamshire Mind. The views expressed here are personal to the author and do not necessarily reflect the view of the Executive Committee or the Club as a whole
Page 10 of 18 In addition, there are over 80 activities and classes for the whole community to enjoy, but for more detail you need to go to the Association web sitewww.whitehillcentre.org.uk
Organisation I have been attending quarterly meetings of the Council for a couple of years now, on an informal basis. Don’t quite know how this happened, I seem to recall it started as a temporary stand in when Dick May was unable to attend a meeting. Anyway at the Annual General Meeting of the Association on the 18 th June 2013 and without having put ourselves forward, or indeed having been nominated as far as I am aware by anyone I know, we were both elected as members of the General Council! So if you want to bring anything to the attention of the Association I guess we are the guys you contact. General Council The Association is a regulated Charitable Trust No. 274427. It is a member of Community Matters and its objective is to promote the benefit of local residents by associating together to advance education and to provide facilities for recreation and leisure time activities. There are 523 members governed by a General Council, the members of which are The Trustees. The members are Chairman, Martin East; Executive Vice Chairman, Derek Upcott; Hon. Secretary, Christine Smith and a Hon Treasurer, the post of which is currently vacant. Volunteers for this post are currently being sought. In addition the Council has representatives from Chiltern District Council, Cllr Peter Hudson and Chesham Town Council, Cllr Roderick McCulloch. The Council also has voting members drawn from the Community Association Groups who use White Hill. Currently there are something in the order of 5 individual voting members and the Association is looking for up to a further 9/10 nominations from the Community, should you be interested. The Council has overall responsibility for the Association and setting the policies and aims of the Association. Executive Committee and Management Reporting to the General Council is an Executive Committee which is there to implement and enact the General Council directions. Reporting to the Executive Committee is an Operations Committee which is responsible for managing the fabric of the building and its services. An informal management committee has recently been established to make sure the wishes of the General Council and Executive Committee have been carried through. The Association has 7 paid staff that work in the offices and deal with the maintenance and cleaning of the Centre. The Executive Committee consists of the Chairman, Vice Chairman, Hon. Secretary, Hon. Treasurer, Keith Farley, John Hatton, Christine Smith and Peter Buchanan. There are vacancies for further members should you have an interest in helping. Finances 2012/2013 was a financially successful year. Improvements made to the building included a new fire door on the mezzanine level and improvements to the fire sensors and alarms throughout the building. Earnings and expenditure are roughly in balance at just over £90,000 per annum. In 2012/2013 the Association made a surplus of just over £3,000 transferred to the General Purposes Fund. The policy is to maintain a reserve of £30,000 and to maintain the building to a high standard, as funds permit. There is planned a rolling programme of improving the wiring and lighting throughout. If you are interested in reading the Annual Report for last year and the report for the Annual General Meeting please let me know.
David Fisher Knight Tenor
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The Cautionary Tale Of Fred & Martha Let's say a guy named Fred is attracted to a woman named Martha. He asks her out to a movie; she accepts; they have a pretty good time. A few nights later he asks her out to dinner, and again they enjoy themselves. They continue to see each other regularly, and after a while neither one of them is seeing anybody else. And then, one evening when they're driving home, a thought occurs to Martha, and, without really thinking, she says it aloud: "Do you
realize that, as of tonight, we've been seeing each other for exactly six months?" And then, there is silence in the car. To Martha, it seems like a very loud silence. She thinks to herself:
I wonder if it bothers him that I said that. Maybe he's been feeling confined by our relationship; maybe he thinks I'm trying to push him into some kind of obligation that he doesn't want, or isn't sure of. And Fred is thinking: Gosh! Six months! And Martha is thinking: But, hey, I'm not so sure I want this kind of relationship either. Sometimes I wish
I had a little more space, so I'd have time to think about whether I really want us to keep going the way we are, moving steadily towards, I mean, where are we going? Are we just going to keep seeing each other at this level of intimacy? Are we heading toward marriage? Toward children? Toward a lifetime together? Am I ready for that level of commitment? Do I really even know this person?
And Fred is thinking: . . . so that means it was. . . let's see. . . February when we started going out, . . . which was right after I had the car at the dealer's, which means. . . lemme check the mileage. . . Whoa! I am way overdue for an oil change here. And Martha is thinking: He's upset. I can see it on his face. Maybe I'm reading this completely wrong.
Maybe he wants more from our relationship, more intimacy, more commitment; maybe he has sensed even before I sensed it - that I was feeling some reservations. Yes, I bet that's it. That's why he's so reluctant to say anything about his own feelings. He's afraid of being rejected. And Fred is thinking: And I'm gonna have them look at the transmission again. I don't care what those morons say, it's still not shifting right. And they better not try to blame it on the cold weather this time. What cold weather? It's 70 degrees out there and this thing is shifting like an agricultural tractor. And I paid those incompetent thieves ÂŁ350 And Martha is thinking: He's angry. And I don't blame him. I'd be angry, too. I feel so guilty, putting him
through this, but I can't help the way I feel. I'm just not sure.
And Fred is thinking: They'll probably say it's only a 90-day warranty...scumbags!!! And Martha is thinking: Maybe I'm just too idealistic, waiting for a knight to come riding up on his white
horse, when I'm sitting right next to a perfectly good person, a person I enjoy being with, a person I truly do care about, a person who seems to truly care about me. A person who is in pain because of my selfcentred, schoolgirl romantic fantasy. And Fred is thinking: Warranty? They want a warranty? I'll give them a warranty. I'll take their warranty and stick it right up their. . . ! ! !
"Fred," Martha says aloud. "What?" says Fred, startled.
"Please don't torture yourself like this," she says, her eyes beginning to brim with tears. "Maybe I should never have...oh dear, I feel so..."(She breaks down, sobbing.) "W - What?" says Fred. The views expressed here are personal to the author and do not necessarily reflect the view of the Executive Committee or the Club as a whole
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"I'm such a fool," Martha sobs. "I mean, I know there's no knight. I really know that. It's silly. There's no knight, and there's no horse." "There's no horse?" says Fred.
"You think I'm a fool, don't you?" Martha says. "No!, Absolutely Not!!" says Fred, glad to finally know the correct answer.
"It's just that . . . it's that I . . . I need some time," Martha says. (There's a 15-second pause while Fred, thinking as fast as he can, tries to come up with a safe response. Finally he comes up with one that he thinks might work.) "Yes," he says. (Martha, deeply moved, touches his hand.)
"Oh, Fred, do you really feel that way?" she says. "W-What way?" says Fred.
"That way about time - and about me!" says Martha. "O-Oh," says Fred. "Yes." (Martha turns to face him and gazes deeply into his eyes, causing him to become very nervous about what she might say next, especially if it involves a horse. At last she speaks.)
"Thank you, Fred," she says. "Thank you," says Fred. Then he takes her home and she lies on her bed, a conflicted, tortured soul and weeps until dawn, whereas when Fred gets back to his place, he opens a bag of crisps, turns on the TV and immediately becomes deeply involved in a rerun of last night’s game between Watford and Luton, or was it Brentford? A tiny voice in the far recesses of his mind tells him that something major was going on back there in the car, but he is pretty sure there is no way he would ever understand what, and so he figures it's better if he doesn't think about it. The next day Martha will call her closest friend, or perhaps two of them, and they will talk about this situation for six straight hours. In painstaking detail, they will analyse everything she said and everything he said, going over it time and time again, exploring every word, expression, and gesture for nuances of meaning, considering every possible ramification. They will continue to discuss this subject, off and on, for weeks, maybe months, never reaching any definite conclusions, but never getting bored with it either. Meanwhile, Fred, playing golf one day with a mutual friend of his and Martha's, will pause just before his second shot, frown, and say: "Norm, did Martha ever own a horse?" And that, dear friends, is the difference between men and women, Barbershoppers, take note!
KNIGHTS THEN AND NOW by Peter Stoker We continue this occasional series here with insights into another four of our colleagues, which we hope enable you to ‘harmonise’ even more than you do already!
Rob Connor - Bari The world was first blessed with the presence of Rob Connor in 1952. In due course he was blessed with marriage to Maureen and together they share two children and two grand-daughters. The family unit is sanguine about Rob’s barbershopping and Maureen herself is constant in her supporting attendance at Knights' functions. Rob has contributed to the family grocery bill for over 36 years, serving as a Company Secretary, mostly at home but sometimes abroad. His most notable The views expressed here are personal to the author and do not necessarily reflect the view of the Executive Committee or the Club as a whole
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foreign placement was in Kenya, from 1978 to 1984 – not an easy place to work; the new Republic of Kenya’s first black president, Jomo Kenyatta, appointed in 1964, died in 1978 and the following years under Daniel arap Moi were an uneasy period. But Rob survived to return to the slightly less uneasy environment that was London, with occasional forays around the UK or to New York. He has always enjoyed barbershop since his discovery of the genre at the Knights’ 10th anniversary show in 1985 (which was in the old Elgiva Theatre) and at 6 foot 4 inches he can truly claim to stand out on the risers. His musical tastes he describes as 'eclectic' but with a particular love of blues and boogie-woogie piano. He played clarinet in the school, orchestra and military band and he took up the piano in his midthirties – but put it down again when it was found to be too heavy; he modestly explains this withdrawal by saying that reading both clefs at once was too hard – however his bari colleagues notice that he still reveals his aptitude for spotting the right notes when reading barbershop scores. Rob has attended every Convention since 1986, plus three Harmony Colleges. Highlights of his Knightly endeavours include a club tour to Friedrichsdorf where we sang in German to our hosts (!); the club tour to Jacksonville, Florida in 1991; watching Dick May’s quartet singing ‘American Trilogy’ on the Big Orange show; the standing ovation Knights received for their presentation of 'Encore' in 1995 – and last but not least, listening to the Vocal majority on their visit to Glasgow for the Millenium Convention. Rob has sung with various Knights quartets over the years, including Alan Roberts, Don Smith, Tony Usher, John Dummer, Jerry Cadge and John Griffin. His current quartetting is with a new crew – 'The Fourth Dimension' – where he is joined by Laurence Prestage, Trevor Pearce and Graham Giles. Singers outwith the barbershop arena whom he enjoys include Eva Cassidy, Chris Rea and Katherine Jenkins. Outside interests include golf and gardening – but not necessarily in that order. How does Rob feel about the Knights in their present form? Says he "We are in a good place right now, as long as we don’t get too intense". And what else would he introduce? "Another overseas trip".
Alan Herring – Lead (and Presenter Supreme at Sing-outs) Alan is a child of the 50s – 1955 to be precise. He was named after his Mum’s favourite film star – Alan Ladd. (All together now: "Shane !!") – although our Alan is substantially taller. Most of us have met his partner, Jane, most recently in our sing-outs at St Osyth, Essex, where they have just moved into a truly beautiful 16th century house. Between them they have four offspring – Alan’s two are Larna, who runs an art gallery in Rickmansworth and Ben, who is a GP. Jane’s two are Jim, who lives in London, and Katie, who has just given them a grandchild Daniel – all of 2 weeks ago. They are all happy to see Alan go out singing (and not too put off when he stays in singing . . . after all, he is a Lead). Career-wise, he spent his early years with Lucas and his specialisation in Tech Support on the Harrier Jump Jet saw him travelling to Europe, India and America. They even let him fly a Jump Jet (but that was in a simulator). He then moved to the car spares and accessories shop in Hemel, which he ended up buying, a bit like the Remington ad, "I liked it so much, I bought the company". He is now in the process of being bought out himself. His Lucas engineering skills have left him with a keen interest in building things to his own design, and this together with general DIY and gardening ensures that he is never idling. Alan was another graduate from the Learn-to-Sing courses, discovering them through an advert in a shop window, and has developed a strong enjoyment in barbershop singing – self-evident to anyone who has seen him on the front row of the risers. His other musical tastes include classical music, particularly the Chinese concert pianist Lang Lang, and jazz, notably Billie Holliday and saxophonist Ben Webster. Alan used to know Ronnie Scott’s brother, who lived in Hemel, and this boosted his interest in jazz. He has yet to sing with any other barbershop clubs, but he has exciting news on that front; he has just enrolled for a new Learn-to-Sing course in Needham Market, Suffolk, and will by that means be a founder member of a new chorus in that town. He will take with him an enormous enthusiasm for the genre, as The views expressed here are personal to the author and do not necessarily reflect the view of the Executive Committee or the Club as a whole
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well as many happy memories of his time in Chesham. In that context he particularly mentions the singout at Claridges Hotel, London, and the sing-outs at Waddesdon Manor. He sees the Knights’ future as rosy, under the directorship of Mark, but not forgetting the sterling work done by Stuart Lines to save what looked like a sinking ship a couple of years back, at a time which Alan found deeply painful. Nonetheless, this whole period has been, as he says, a "fantastic introduction into the world of singing" and he adds that the Knights will always be deep in his heart. He feels that if we can all generate the required amount of self-discipline and the right mindset, the only way is up (and you
thought the only way is Essex, didn’t you!).
In the hypothetical situation of him ruling the world, Alan would introduce a mandatory two- week holiday in sunny climes for the whole population – paid for by the Government, in the interests of health and happiness.
Joe Norton – Bari (and Knight Life Editor extraordinaire) Joe sometimes feels he could use a periscope to see the Director when his pains cause him to sink onto his personally-engineered seat on the risers, but we can all agree that he always rises to the occasion – and moreover is always ready with an explosive laugh to encourage , or indeed add to, witticisms in the ranks; his sense of humour is best described as eclectic and edgey. Joe and his wife Ros, married almost 40 blissful years, live in Hemel Hempstead, and they have four children, whom Joe describes as " my two princesses, my two sons". The family like to listen to singing, not necessarily in the barbershop vein, given that they have catholic tastes in music generally. Joe gets particular pleasure from membership of the Knights which he affirms is ". . . are just great guys to sing with". He came to us via a Knights 'Learn-to-Sing' course under the ever-patient John Wiggins, who finding himself with a surplus of Leads and almost no Baritones, reassigned him to the Bari-squad, some 7 years ago. The Knights is his main musical outlet, although he does also sing as Cantor at his local church. His working career was spent in Government offices – the Department of Employment and the Department of Transport. Starting in Watford HQ of the then Ministry of Labour, he was seconded to Trade Union for a couple of years, then returned to work on Harold Wilsons' "Pound-in-your-Pocket" pay freeze, where he made the front page of the Guardian on a couple of occasions. It was there that he learned how to write terse and succinct copy, a skill honed to sharpness as a Staff Inspector and Auditor. Letter to the Guardian – April 2, 2001. Later he moved on to Department of Sir, Transport as the Accounts Systems Nothing empowers like being on the toilet. (Letters, Administrator. He says It was all good fun, March 31). Soon after the war, an embattled treasury most of the time though one or two bosses official was in the WC when a message came that amply filled Napoleon's estimation of the Chancellor Hugh Dalton wanted to see him urgently. French nobleman and diplomat Talleyrand; "I’m not coming," he replied. "I can only deal with one perhaps the anecdote shown in the box aside s**t at a time". exemplifies what some civil servants think of Paul Bonaventura London. some Ministers. Joe has been to four Conventions – Scarborough, Llandudno, Southport and Bournemouth, as well as four Harmony Colleges, loving them all and missing them when not there, even though getting around the campus was increasingly trying. He has flirted with several musical instruments but is not going steady with any of them. As to medals, he took great pleasure in being named 'Barbershopper-of-the-Month' for his services to Knight Life. Joe is one of several who feel the club is bouncing back from its troubled period a couple of years ago and readily acknowledges the debt owed by the club to Dick May and Stuart Lines who both held firm amid the chaos. Joe was in hospital at the time, with a knee replacement. He sees the new blood from Learn to Sing courses making a real difference both by their input and by the encouragement of older hands and
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with Mark oozing confidence and introducing songs worth singing. His personal wish is that we hold onto Mark for at least 5 years. Asked what might improve things generally, he suggested setting up formal training posts to encourage and support would-be Assistant Chorus Directors, bringing on a new tranche of competent CD's, augmented by a programme of individual voice assessments and coaching to raise the chorus's Integrity of Tone.
David Fisher – Tenor Born 1949, married with two good-looking boys, both married, who clearly derive their looks from handsome Mum, Fran, and of course from Dad. Their younger son, Elliott is a writer, living in Norway and having a new baby, whilst the older son, Chris, is in the Army, currently serving overseas, and with a young girl and a new baby too. All of them (even the babies) are delighted at David’s involvement with the Knights, and the social as well as musical opportunities this brings. His two sons have both been to Knights’ performances, and had they lived nearer they might well have got involved. The occupation which is keeping David from the Great Sofa of Retirement is a consultancy, New Maritime Limited, which specialises in "property consultancy, management services, portfolio strategies, development brokering all with a particular expertise in waterside properties, water spaces and tourism projects". As well as major projects in the UK, they have recently been consultants in Poland, redeveloping a redundant harbour, and in France, advising the French inland canal body on optimising its assets. David’s background was of course very relevant to this, starting by working with British Waterways and then working at home and abroad on major property initiatives, until the day came that he and Fran decided it was time to do their own thing. Many international conference speaking engagements in the early years of the consultancy highlighted their expertise in showing how waterfront sites can be a ‘gold cup’ and won them many contracts in the UK and elsewhere… the rest is histrionic. And so it goes on, truly and madly. Is there anything else, then? Not much time for 'else' – but they both love theatre, cinema, gardening, skiing of various sorts, fishing from boats when in Norway, and holidays when they can be shoe-horned into the timetable. Keeping up with the families is of course another must, especially as they are both overseas. These day, of course, barbershop is a central feature. He was in our audience at Waddesdon Manor 3 years ago, and followed this with the next Learn to Sing course. David doesn’t play any instruments, which he regrets, but he loves music, and some biggies for him are ELO, Moody Blues, Beach Boys, and Frankie Valli. David has been to all three Conventions since he started, and he sees our standards rising. As to his own standards, he regrets the enforced absences from his work commitments, but he finds Graham’s Drop Box is a life-saver. If he ruled the world, he would see barbershop taken into local schools and community facilities, with the aim of engaging both younger and conceivably ethnically diverse members. It would be nice to open out from what is often perceived as a 'white, middle class' pastime. David sees barbershop as "… very clever, challenging and stimulating art form which so many people either know nothing about, or have entirely the wrong impression about". His growth plan would see cooperation between different barbershop clubs, either live or in recorded/filmed material. He closes by saying "Maybe we could stretch a little further, having reached the 60s in our material … could we look at what more recent decades have to offer?"
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Cliff Warman reflects on Canal Locks, Thames Barges, Idyllic Essex Villages, Summer Sing-outs and a Sentimental Gentleman Drayton Beauchamp: A linear, one street village bounded by the Wendover Arm of the Grand Union canal, the A41 by-pass and the B489 to Ivinghoe. Really quite unspoilt with a lovely old parish church with a square tower where we sang. The occasion was a fundraiser for the Wendover Arm Trust, a voluntary organisation determined to re-open the six mile length of canal from Bulbourne to Wendover which has not been operational for a very long time. A typical sort of English fete with tea and cakes for sale and other stalls and there were guided walks along the canal to view the extent of the work to date and the daunting task of carrying on to completion at some date in the distant future. The weather was gorgeous and a reasonable size number attended. We sang two spots in the old church and had an audience for each one that nearly matched the size of the chorus each time (about twenty)and this was bolstered by the loyal wives and partners of some members. A small pay day for the chorus of £100 which we donated back to the Trust in a fit of generosity. But it’s not about the money ,it really was a very enjoyable Sunday afternoon.
St Osyth (St Toosey) Essex: A singout we had all been looking forward to for several months brought to us by Alan Herring who moved to the village last December with Jane to their truly dream cottage set up a quiet lane in ¼ acre of garden. What a beautiful place - a typical chocolate box picture of a cottage with timber beams, old fireplaces, tiled roof, porch and a wisteria on the front wall - and what a great day it turned out to be. The turnout for such a distant event was amazing and some members made a few days of the trip but many did the trip in a day. Alan and Jane's hospitality was really something. Bring your own chairs, bring your own booze and tuck in. That was after our two sessions in the yellow jackets, one at the far end of the village in someone’s back garden and the other in Alan and Jane's front garden. Each time we had an audience of mostly locals and the aforementioned WAPS; the weather although overcast did not put anyone off and we were warmly received both times. St Osyth is a big village which had a huge priory until our Henry VIII closed it down, but a large part of the original building remains and is now in the hands of a developer to restore it back to use. There are some lovely photos taken of this singout which most of you have seen but they will be a joy to look back on when the nights draw in. It will be such a shame to lose Alan when he finally moves to his cottage, he has been a great chorus member who joined at the same time as me on the first Learn-to-Sing course in January 2005. Never knew the learning would take so long. Both of these sing-outs were conducted by Stuart who did sterling service to the chorus.
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It was really an eye opener to discover rural Essex and visit some of the old towns like Malden, to view the quayside with the old Thames barges and to see Mersey island, which can be cut off for short periods when there are high tides and which has some fine restaurants and is still quite old fashioned and unspoilt. Couldn’t find any locals who had a good word about the wind farms though. What an eyesore! Not sure about the lyrics to Sentimental Gentleman. Alright in their day but they read like "Ode to Hall and Saville" today. Hmmmm! And Goodnight to you
Cliff Warman Knight – Lead
DIARY DATES Book these dates in your diary now!
Deadline for next Knight Life: Your guess is as good as mine! Sunday June 30 afternoon, Saturday 6 July Sunday 28 July Sunday 11 August afternoon Friday 23 to Sunday 25 August Thursday 19 September Friday 20 September Saturday October 5 Thursday October 10 Wednesday 18 December
Family BBQ @ Al’s Sing-out Penn Church 7.30pm Music in the Park 2.30 pm Chesham Sing-out Watford Harmony College Nottingham. Club AGM Club Dinner Club Annual Show Elgiva Learn to Sing Course ( 6 weeks) Sing-out Chartridge Golf Club
BIRTHDAYS and ANNIVERSARIES
June 26 June 27
Margaret Warman Anthony Bayly
August 3 August 8
July 5 July 5 July 6 July 7 July 7 July 8 July 10 July 14 July 16 July 23 July 31
Dawn Cawthorne Tony Searle Gerry Darvill Tracey Pearce Zena Winwood Graham Giles Matthew Cawthorne John Tarbit Stuart Lines Don Sutton Al Lines
John Wiggins Jackie Terebas
Anniversaries June 28
Tim & Sue Bourne
Cliff & Margaret Warman.
Don & Betty Nicolson (70th)
Matthew & Dawn Cawthorne
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Just a cottage small . . . .
No animals were used or abused in this producing this document and nil costs incurred by the Chess Valley Barbershop Singers The views expressed here are personal to the author and do not necessarily reflect the view of the Executive Committee or the Club as a whole