Evening class

Dyce’s music career began after a flyer for evening classes dropped through the letter box. It included singing lessons. In his late forties, unaware that work was occupying more time than was good for him, he had this vague itch that there must be more things to life. The venue was just up the road at The High School and he was free on the advertised nights.

Unsurprisingly something got in the way of signing on and he was two weeks late starting. Worried that it might be oversubscribed he made an effort to be early. Eventually eight people turned up, barely enough to justify the class. Then this short fat bald guy in a suit appeared with a brief case and sat at the piano.

There were four women and four guys. At coffee-time Dyce learned that two of the men were already members of the tutor’s choir and knew what voice they sang in. He’d press-ganged them into making up the class numbers. The rest of the group sang as best they could. Nothing complicated and the coaching was patient. Pieces like ‘Skye Boat Song’ and ‘The Ash Grove’. The music room smelled sweeter than the rest of the school. Bits of metal music stands were abandoned in corners. The blackboard was one of those that went round on rollers and one section had white lines you could write notes on.

The tutor’s men said the short fat guy at the piano was called Len. A retired tenor who made a living teaching and after-dinner speaking and drank enough in the local pub to get known. One late Friday night, two or three years previously, several of his fellow topers had suggested a choir. Presumably they thought they could sing, but most red-blooded males think that on a late Friday night.

‘Why don’t you come along’, said Len’s men.

Dave (Illingworth) had. He was a bearded soul who repaired washing machines and was married to one of the women. Both had rich low voices. Dyce wasn’t sure and left it to the last week of the final term before asking Dilwyn. He said to give it a go. Practices were on Tuesday nights.

Dyce didn’t sign on for the evening class again. It limped along for a few years, and before it folded, one or two of the ladies moved on to choirs.

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