notes about the choir


So far we’ve got an idea – a tragedy. The fall of the great man as narrated by one of his followers. The narrator is also a passive contributor to the great man’s demise – not voting or standing up for him.

The great man is a musical director of a male voice choir.

The portion of the narrator’s life devoted to the choir is very small.

We learn about the tragedy through a variety of the narrator’s activities (Dyce).

The great man (Dilwyn) contributes to his own demise – by negligence in the classic tradition. Hubris nemesis hamarta. It is a painful and inevitable process. Everyone else sees it but him. Is it a flaw he was born with or is it something that occurs as a result of stressful occurrences in his own life – for example difficulties with marriage family and personal health. protagonist

Dilwyn is motivated by money and recognition – power base was the awe and affection from the body of the choir. Chooses to take on the committee and ignore the ordinary members. So in a way the downfall is orchestrated as he loses his general support.

antagonist Tony Bert Baz (retired chair) Lyle Darren. Individual and collectively they represent antagonist as suits on the committee. They are bureaucratic management and he is single chaotic founder member with ideas and energy

Positives – founder member, voice coach, professional musician, fund of amusing stories.

Negatives – doesn’t listen, bad-tempered, wants own way by doing things without consultation.

Its also a universal tragedy – aging and ‘green mile’

Backstories need doing

So what? Does he learn by it? Does he win or lose? Do we care?The great man is thwarted though lives to potentially to fight another day – another choir, an eisteddfordd etc. but it all falls apart in the end.

Ideas about the choir – see guide to the characters

The choir is also a character, the individuals, the four sections, the musical director, the pianist, and the committee.

Things befall the choir, gigs or concerts being the most regular sources of uncertainty. From local village halls to The Albert Hall. Audiences of 120 in the centre of town to in excess of 2000 at The Winter Gardens, Blackpool.

Funerals and weddings. Our genuinely esteemed secretary died recently.

Tours, both abroad and in the UK.

Spats. The most celebrated was the demise of our previous musical director. It was too much for some of the members who left.

Charity bike ride.

The choir must come out as a powerful character. Music is one thread through the story. Something about the collective nature of the choir, a voluntary organisation, compared to an organisation with either a private or a public purpose where the staff are contracted to perform pieces of work.

The collective nature – The show will go on regardless of the individual tragedies.

Superordinate objectives, ‘the bottom line’ ‘health care, votes’  ‘music’  As long as the superordinate things are still there so the show will go on.

Do we care about the narrator? As the great man seeks success and publicity, fame and fortune, so the narrator seeks anonymity. Not an expert viewpoint of music. An interested and committed layperson.

What happens to the narrator? Now it becomes interesting, maybe. The outsider who sees most of the game. His wish for anonymity comes under threat, from what? Something from his past that reenters his life? The problems with life stages?

What is the story? The narrator is not a protagonist or antagonist. He’s an observer, an outsider, a fading baritone hiding on the back row. He does interact with one of the main characters, but mostly keeps out of the way. Allows some action to pass in the background and for time to carry on. The events take place five or six years previously –  gives distance, reflection, some thought on consequences philosophy etc.

Introduction is the true past life

Flashbacks are the true past life

But it has an unreliable and uneasy relationship with the present. Why?

Knows and senses a lot of what is going on, could make contribution, but consistently fails to do so. Why?

So Dyce – is that his real name? Born somewhere where he visits during the story. Impression it is local, but it isn’t. Impression he is local but he isn’t.

He has constructed a life in which he has no role to play, but cannot resist exposure to a degree – who can? He risks being discovered with friends, the choir, playing cricket. Continuously keeping up a facade.

Something happens to puncture this or threaten to do so. Searching for the cover-up. Ways round, moving on again, fighting it, letting it happen. Slipping sideway

Action is linear – along one summer, beginning at the start of the cricket season, say early June, and finishing in September at the end of the season.

Final chapter visiting a match a few years later

This is not a story. Let’s do a structure review. The climax in the third section is Dilwyn’s tirade, a child’s rant, hurt pain suffering at the hands of faceless bureaucrats the bastards. Reaction to not getting his own way. Each incident to that point is about how he gets his own way most of the time.


Lyle New chair, caftan and sandals

Tony The perpetual organiser, can’t stop himself. A bass. Previous secretary who resigned on a matter of principle. Would like to return to power

Jeremy Too nice to be true bass librarian

The Doc

Big Clarry ex-RL pro

Grant Paul Robson with attitude

Bart founder member on a self-destructive course


Baz bike rider dry-stone waller who resigned as chair tenor

Rog and George Tenors. Everly Brothers tribute band. On the old folks home circuit


Gerald Eighty odd and short-sighted, like the bloke in Summer Wine

Todd Portly lay-preacher with a past. Sports a silver-haired James Dean hairdo and has a penchant for leather jackets

Bob Wears two watches

Rick Dreams of being a Mike Samms Singer

Bill Has a pacemaker and faints a lot

Riggs Short and was fat until his wife saw his debut concert. Now thin

Boyd BNP refused membership for being too right wing

Bert ‘One-off’ outsider. Appearance of a schoolboy on the search for praise

A bit of a tosser in formal settings yet disarmingly self-depracating informally

Peter Pan eternally youthful and optimistic.

Phil and Joe Frontrowers who never make a mistake

Musical director and pianist  Dilwyn

Sarah gets fired followed by a series of temporary appointments

Committee men. Grey suits. Chair, secretary, etc


Dyce. This was Shaw. Try not to make it too autobiographical, but its not easy. OK to be physically big. Dyce is short for Dyson, or son of David. Dyce also implies chance as in ‘roll of the dice’. This doesn’t necessarily mean extreme sports or the racier end of the stock market. It implies some form of risk – Dilwyn risks everything on his reputation as a singer and musician, as if it will carry all before, but he alienates his constituency of choir members. Dyce has taken some similar risk in the past – does it have to be named? A professional who was at the top of the tree (eg the Bristol heart case) but it is not enough when things start to go wrong. Naive politically, lacking support, peers (rivals), juniors, those who make the rules (the grey suits). So life’s turning point has occurred, leaving a wounded hounded notorious character. What he wants is anonymity, avoidance of memories/flashbacks. He realises that healing is not about things going away, but tolerating how things are.

Thinking and speech give different messages to action. Says and thinks he doesn’t crave recognition and yet still takes risks, or risks failure (analogous to writing for oneself and yet for ever trying to get published)

Stopped playing sport as part of the avoidance strategy. Winning and losing is personal.

The man who lost the lot.

, Pick, Jagg, Pick. A short round character, dominated by never having big opportunities to reach potential and get to stage of shaper planner boss autonomy.

Plays sport to win.

The man who never had it.

Jagg. Unknown. A guy who pulls the levers. No conversation.

Plays sport to get exercise.



The present.

Hook – draws reader into the story – within first five pages. Ask the reader whether they are interested in the narrator, Dyce. A not unusual track record and some sort of a breakdown or setback which is not described. Who cares?

Dyce is at a conference and he deflects questions, finally walking out into the gardens to get some air and personal space. He describes the surroundings as part of his childhood but they are not named. The assumption can be made that he lives there still, but does he?

Key line – pose the question about the issue to be explored – again within the first five pages. “You don’t see it coming, do you?’

A cricket match at Townbridge

2000 and something

60 year old Dyce stands at the crease. A younger man runs in at the other end. Dyce is unable to defend his wicket and walks disconsolately back to the pavilion. He sits alone watching the next batsman. Reg, portly ex-officer goes and sits with him. They have a conversation about aging and cricket. Dyce is deciding to retire before he gets hurt. ‘I can’t see it coming any more.’ ‘You only get one chance at the crease, but there’s all the work and practice that goes in, the preparation.’ ‘ You make your own luck.’

Reg leaves Dyce to his reverie. Strains of music, a choir, male voice Gwaholliad. Dyce’s internal world.  ‘Why didn’t Dilwyn see it coming?’

First third   Steady State

Lesson, practice, audition, concert


(3) Geography.  background details of the world of W.Yorks in the 90’s. Jakesfield and Skelton, Dobbthwaite and Townbridge Textiles and hills etc  Rivalries sport, music anything

The Era 1990’s   is there some political tragedy going on in the news eg. John Major.

Beliefs – illustrate by action the characters code of conduct. Dilwyn is rude and opinionated, yet has to work with a set of middle aged male volunteers who don’t need shouting at in their leisure time. Some are retired, some are working out their time and others are still actively building/consolidating careers

(4) 60 year old Dyce’s internal world (sat at cricket/reading/writing)

Evening classes Dyce reflects how he got into the world of singing and male voice choirs. Joins an evening class. Dilwyn is the tutor. Two male voice members are there to make up the numbers. Darren is also there. What is the value change maybe a good one, nice to be here, learning a new skill.

(6) 60 year old Dyce’s internal world (sat at cricket/reading/writing)

Dyce recalls the first practice. Choir members are introduced. Practice room described. Dilwyn’s first tantrum depicted.

(8) 60 year old Dyce’s internal world (sat at cricket/reading/writing)

Learning a new song. Dilwyn’s temper again. audition

(5)SP – BERT Townbridge cricket field 1990 

Bert Hammond opens the bowling with Phil Cross. Bert is a bit patronising. Phil likes figures.

(7)SP – BERT Townbridge cricket field 1990 

Gloom and doom as the opening pair of bowlers are missing. Introduction to the cup game.

Inciting incident (first turning point) – marks end of first third of book. scene, incident or dialogue in which protagonist makes a decision and pursues a course of action for the story, leading to a crisis. Until this point everything is in balance. The inciting incident upsets the balance which the protagonist has to restore.

(9) Tuesday rehearsal

A letter is written to the committee about his behaviour. Dilwyn up to now has been a dictator by consent of the membership, his musical track record and fund of stories, their lack of organisation and sense of awe, the history of foundation – he was a founder member along with the others, fuelled by a few pints.

Comes out at a routine rehearsal. Holds the letter in front of him and quotes from it. Best thing is to bathe in respect and glow, carry on as if nothing has happened and build some local reputation including a good pay-cheque. Worst thing is to be slighted, by a non-founder member, an incomer, even worse to eat humble pie and admit he was wrong, even worse lose some of the things he wants.

(((Ask questions

what is worst thing that can happen to Dilwyn?

what is the best thing?

does it upset the balance of forces so far established?

does it set up the third section of the book?)))

Climax – reaction to first turning point. This is Dilwyn’s severe outburst. He knows or claims to know who has written the letter. Goes on at length how he started the choir and people don’t know what has been entailed. Several choir members leave the rehearsal. Extraordinary meeting of committee with Dilwyn in attendance. Takes time off to reflect and reappears to say some sort of apology though not exactly sorry. Power struggle going on between him and the committee

((( A turning point performs a number of functions

sets the protagonist up with a problem he must solve

pushes the story to climax

raises the stakes – ‘dangerous direction’

generates feeling in reader ‘what happens next?’

?alters motivation of protagonist)))

Second third

characters are operating on borrowed time, underpinned by protagonist’s false solution. Re-confronts old problem several times in slightly different ways but protagonist in denial – so must have conflict. Have a setback at the beginning and build up to a second setback about half way. Sense of clouds are gathering at the margins, even though protagonist is outwardly moving in a new direction

First half breathing space – a scene to let reader off the hook

(10) Tuesday rehearsal

A substitute conductor arrives to take the sessions.

(11) Tuesday rehearsal

Dilwyn reacts favourably to the inciting incident. His behaviour is modified in subsequent rehearsals. New period of stability within the choir.

Returns after a month breathing space. Smiles. Admits to passionate nature. Accepts members need more consultation. Wades in with how well the choir is doing, getting known, we ought to be thinking much wider than simple gigs in old folks homes. My contacts in the business will help and he mentions some well known names. I’m planning a CD.

Someone asks about the CD and what it will cost – hint that Dilwyn could get irritated.

Baz is chair, stands and intervenes to stop any further discussion – need to keep this back in the committee.

President dies suddenly – pleasant buffer

First focus point

((( focus point

tightens action

reminds reader of the problem

pushes story forward on track

character growth of protagonist)))

Something about recruiting the support of the ordinary choir member in notices, making a video or CD offering them fame and fortune, chance to mix with the well-known. Gives a taste. Chair is his man but for how long?

Underneath all this there has been no rapprochment with the committee. Everything he says and does is without reference to the committee. The gathering clouds Baz getting fed up of taking phone-calls and trying to sort out the differences between committee and Dilwyn.

Myth with Boyd about tranquillisers.

Dilwyn appoints his own president after death of previous.

Writes newspaper articles, appears on Look North – ostensibly furthering the choir but committee unhappy

Getting ready for the golf gig

Tony and Darren forming an alliance. Darren more reasonable. Tony more unreasonable. Lyle

Point of no return – total commitment

(((point of no return

force protagonist to reassess quest

protagonist thinks about giving up

protagonist decides to carry on

formulate new more specific goals

commit to new goal he cannot back away from)))

Up and until now Dilwyn has been getting away with a few things because he is who he is. But committee come to the end of their patience and they turn down something trivial. This is an incident which propels Dilwyn totally against the committee. Becomes an open wound whereas previously it had been in private.

Second half – more focused set of goals, progresses onwards. Stakes are raised, more risk, more chance of losing, exposing enormity of commitment if protagonist is to succeed. Protagonist has no choice, now a compulsion.


(2) A Tuesday rehearsal

The 1990’s

50 year old Dyce is asked to do a charity bike ride. He can ride a bike well enough, but finds fund-raising a chore. He’s too limp-wristed to say no.

On returning to his seat for the second half of the rehearsal, Boyd and Dyce are told off by Dilwyn for talking.

Dyce is in double trouble. Training bike ride – 1

Dyce begins to discover why this is a bad idea

(13)SP BAZ and drystone walling

(14) The golf gig

Second focus point – like the first, but tests protagonist’s growth. Is the old  person there or is the new dominant? In Dilwyn’s case its staying the same but more determined.

Dilwyn delivers with a CD or video. Proves very costly

a failure – this is Dilwyn dismissing half the choir because they are questioning what he wants to do – simply because it hasn’t been passed by committee. Dilwyn resorting to his old ways – taking things out on choir members that are not their concern.

Baz hands in his resignation

(15) Training Ride 2

(16) Rehearsal

Dilwyn turns up and wants to go over material that has not been endorsed by committee. Someone asks the question what the rehearsal was about because it was not an official choir concert, just a few friends helping him out.

Dilwyn expresses his disappointment, suggests the concert cannot go ahead.

Moment of truth (second turning point) – marks end of second third of book. setback failure first decision a terrible failure.

Dilwyn’s private concert cannot go ahead. extraordinary general meeting convened. lots of wheeling and dealing, rehearsals cancelled.

Almost a complete disaster, yet can be repaired

(17) Phone Call

(18) Extraordinary general meeting.

One or two key members have rung round to get signatures to officially convene an extra meeting. Takes place instead of rehearsal. Statements are made in opposition to Dilwyn – the more immediate issue of concerts but also the question of previous behaviour. Hint of things done and said in committee that ordinary member not aware of.

Dilwyn allowed in, unaware of what has been said, to give his side of the problem. ‘Worst committee I have ever had to deal with’  Main defence in the founder member taking so many ruffians off the street and making them into a choir. Track record as a professional musician and voice coach. I can take you places I have the contacts. This committee will take you nowhere.

with unrepentant Dilwyn in full flow. Dilwyn firmly nails to mast of ‘worst committee I’ve ever dealt with’  PEAK emotional moment when Dilwyn goes on a spitting tirade to end all tirades.

Third section

((( strong climax to story action

resolve problem or task or relationships

provide a satisfying ending)))

Another pause period for reader to calm down

opportunity for Dilwyn to think seriously about what he will do – will he return to his constituency, the members who regard him with affection and make do or will he go all out to rubbish the committee.

opportunity to redeem himself

may involve some sort of chase often a single sequence

(19) The bike ride and the cricket match

Climax (((must resolve the main plot

a new transformation in protagonist

playing out of the main theme)))

((( Act 1 a goal is set but discover it is false or insufficient

money influence

Act 2 truer goal is set

don’t disregard the members  get support from key people in committee

Act 3 real or concealed goal is revealed

personal slight, previous wounds from authority. must stamp the buggers out, the committee)))

Third calm down period – Has to hand in his resignation

tie up any loose ends of subplots

Opportunity to reevaluate what has happened and set up a sense of afterlife life goes on for characters after story finished

Resonating visual image connecting to opening pages.

Finally – theme integrated into final action and makes sense of it.

What can happen to Dilwyn in the last reel that

resolves main plot, produces new transformation, plays out theme

Scene is action through conflict in continuous time and space that turns the value-charged condition of a character’s life on at least one value with a degree of perceptible significance

What value is at stake at the beginning and the end. Has it changed? Why is it in?

Does it help to tell the story?

Dyce is constantly reminded of his former life. He refers to his pompous younger brother when in such an interaction.

The stalking – is it really happening or is it paranoia?

To what extent will Dyce go to preserve his anonymity?

leave violence even murder, what if someone does get murdered but Dyce didn’t do it, done by the very person who is stalking him – why?

Keep fairly strict with Dylwin’s story, but have a more genre attempt at a psychological thriller with Dyce.

Might as well use the current feelings for motivating Dyce and the extent he will go to to get what he wants.

A childhood with mixed messages. Injustice is all around, mostly perpetrated by those with money power and influence against those who haven’t. Straight forward demarcation – a class struggle. Examples, flash cars whose drivers ‘owned the road’. Housing ghettos – certain districts were for the ‘well-to-do’. Institutions like golf clubs, where the culture was introverted and withdrawn from general view. Suspicion that most of the business of the town was done there. Exclusive by virtue of its high fees. So it was vote Labour and all would be well. They were for redistribution of wealth and correcting inequality wherever they found it.

Yet the family was going up in the world through qualifications. Especially vocational, joining one of the professions. It had the smokescreen of righting wrongs, but you also became ‘one of them’. Power and money. The big house. Suits, bow ties and shiny shoes. Yet it is never good enough. There is always someone who has more, better, etc.

Its strong enough to pull a person in two different directions and give wrong messages out to others.

When Dyce comes to reflect on this, he refers to his younger brother with a cocktail of embarrassment and shame. Thankfully for around 10-13 years. Very much a betrayal, but others would say ‘what’s all the fuss about?’ In the writing it must come across as unreliable narration. Thinking one thing and doing another yet its pretty obvious to all and sundry that something is not squaring up.

Example – going on something simple like a walk. The voice is about shame and embarrassment, not good enough. Becomes exposed when meeting people from the past. Complains about general standards, people and institutions. Checking things, not accepting second best, self-critical when anything, even minor things, go wrong (getting the directions wrong, ordering the wrong things). Clearly an outsider looking in sees a successful person however. Triggered by innocent criticism, meeting people from the past, others of less ability being successful. Says he doesn’t want to win, but does.

First third Dyce

a goal is set but discover it is false or insufficient money influence. To have a quiet anonymous life – freedom to do whatever. Needs to top up the funds. I’m only doing it for the money.

Steady state lesson, practice, audition

Inciting incident something from the past is revived has to return to work

Climax depression, no longer the easy life

Second third

truer goal is set. tries for the quiet I’ll just do the work routine, but gets involved in the running of the department. can’t resist. power savvy reason for being valued more than the day job which he does just for the money. Return to previous values of needing to be more than good enough.

Breathing space time with pals to sort it out in his mind

gets a plan of action

First focus point offers to help out the department

Point of no return one of the staff recognises him – a new member from the old days what about being stalked –  a good old dose of paranoia

Second focus point produces the development plan, promotion whatever

Failure staff member denounces him

Moment of truth all his work is in vain

To what lengths will Dyce go to remain anonymous, ostensibly for a quiet life but really because he cannot bare his former self.

Third third

real or concealed goal is revealed. rather than fight which makes him assess himself as being second, the deputy, second-in-command, unworthy, flawed, and all those unspeakable things you find in psychotherapy and can do nothing about. This is about shame and embarrassment that he is just not good enough. Not good enough in some things, like cricket, but untrue in other spheres.

What can happen to Dyce in the last reel that resolves main plot, produces new transformation, plays out theme? personal profile never supported high flyer despite obvious talent. Its about sticking with who you are. Listening to yourself and not others.

Breathing space Works totally for self

Hands in resignation

Opportunity to reevaluate what has happened and set up sense of afterlife life goes on for characters after story finished.

Resonating visual image connecting to opening pages – self criticism with insight and humour.

Scene is action through conflict in continuous time and space that turns the value-charged condition of a character’s life on at least one value with a degree of perceptible significance

What value is at stake at the beginning and the end. Has it changed? Why is it in?

Does it help to tell the story?

The nature of Dyce’s story is still uncertain. But the telling of it must be oblique, as in reflecting on Dilwyn’s plight, reacting to other’s queries, action. So for exampe, the formulation of a plan following the inciting incident could happen whilst on a walk in the dales.

Depression similarly

First third Dilwyn

a goal is set but discover it is false or insufficient money influence. The setting up of a choir for men to sing and enjoy without needing an audition. Not quite sure how or why but turning sour. Some of the older guard are going. Are Dilwyn’s personal motives clashing somewhere? No one knows, but a change is occurring.

Steady state lesson, practice, audition

Inciting incident letter is received

Climax violent reaction

Second third

truer goal is set don’t disregard the members get support from key people in committee. Not just a place for men to sing anymore. Dilwyn’s personal vehicle to fame and fortune. Now has enemies, needs to learn the politics of getting what you want.

Breathing space time off for reflection

returns to affable self, apologises

First focus point appoints his man as president

offer of money/support – you know me boys

all for choir but mixed reaction from committee

Point of no return committee turns sends piano back, behaviour returns

Second focus point delivers on the video – said we would, me and whoever

Failure choir members not supporting the opera do

they are dismissed

Moment of truth the opera event is cancelled

wheeling dealing and positioning

EGM convened and held – peak emotional moment

Third third

real or concealed goal is revealed personal slight, previous wounds from authority. must stamp the buggers out, the committee. Deep-seated value of being ripped off or taken advantage of overtakes all other values eg. men singing and fame and fortune.

What can happen to Dilwyn in the last reel that resolves main plot, produces new transformation, plays out theme?

Breathing space Illness

resolution in private life

A gig without him.

Hands in resignation

Opportunity to reevaluate what has happened and set up sense of afterlife life goes on for characters after story finished.

Resonating visual image connecting to opening pages.

Scene is action through conflict in continuous time and space that turns the value-charged condition of a character’s life on at least one value with a degree of perceptible significance

What value is at stake at the beginning and the end. Has it changed? Why is it in?

Does it help to tell the story?





How do you describe the character of a group? Assuming an identity of its own, independent from the individuals. A set of behaviours that are stable predictable and consistent with time. What are they?

Being taken for granted – assumptions that it will go where MD leads. Will be pushed a long way. Easy going passive almost.

Do we listen to the other sections – clever if we do. Teams and interdependency – forwards and backs, skills, complementary. Confidence in others respect and appreciate their roles.


Pull together – gigs funerals

Pull apart – cost questioners come out of the woodwork


Mixed depending on the sections. As a baritone – only know the ones around me.


The tenors with the tune and the high notes. Flighty mercurial up and down anxious sensitive wondering on edge will they won’t they?

Basses grave and serious feel them as well as hear them, support from underneath rarely get the tune vaguely aware that something is going on underneath coming from the floorboards.


What about cross sections? Take lessons musical all their lives. Native v. comer-in. Retired and still going for something. Retired. Working. The shushers. The ones that are always asking questions, some reasonable, some not. The jokers.


Baritones always talking in rehearsal.




(16) The big gig


We were to do a huge gig over on the West Coast. A massive venue. 2000 in the audience. Meat Loaf was the previous act, Donnie Osmand was the next. How did we get on – one of the tenors had a wife who was the queen of a national women’s organisation. We were the entertainment after at their annual conference.


Buses left Jakefield mid afternoon, climbing out of Dobb valley toward Manchester. Who was the first to see The Tower. Dropped us at the venue and left us to our own devices. Off we go to Yates’ Wine Lodge. This used to be stone flagged utilitarian. Boyd remembered the barmen wearing souwesters and oilskins because they used to hose the place down. I remembered a signpost in the middle showing people where to queue for sherry, wine or beer. Wooden shelves full of barrels. Wooden bar. Stone floor.


Now well carpet tables subtle lighting barmaids. And Dilwyn. Who invited him, along with Jim. Jim was a Dilwyn supporter who left in sympathy. President, local successful businessman who didn’t learn his skills at university. Hiring and firing by smell almost. Not a sufferer of fools, and a staunch follower – hardly missed a choir event. Bulldog and probably a bit of a bully. Not take kindly to not getting his own way or not having his advice heeded. A taker of the hump.


Some misplaced altruism had lead to an invite. And Yates was their watering hole.

Now Dilwyn had a history of taking too much booze on. We waited patiently for 15 minutes once after the end of a gig interval along with the audience while he finished off a pint in the pub next door. And he changed as many of us do. More belligerent and less comPicknt. We knew he called in on the way to rehearsal and would nip into the bar (when we rehearsed at the pub) during the break. A few choir members would do the same – it all started in a pub at the end of the day.


So inviting him and a crony to a gig at which he expected to be the conductor and then to take on drink was always going to be a recipe for disaster.


It wasn’t as it actually happened – just a few well chosen slurred insults about some of the numbers. Need for care because our new MD used to be the pianist – one who he was instrumental in choosing – a colleague from one of his teaching jobs – a colleague who supported him in her role as accompanist. Slagging the choir off would be insulting himself in some strange way, but given his capacity for drink not beyond him.




Life after Dilwyn


Its all change, isn’t it?

It can’t be all change, or it would be a revolution. In management jargon, its stop, start and carry on. What’s gone, what’s new and what’s the same?


Len has gone and taken a few with him now that his new choir has begun. We wondered what would become of him, not so good apparently for a while, but now a new beginning. I for one wish him well and those that remain loyal to him. He was outrageous and passionate, the opposite of the grey man in a suit, and we would do well to remember that.


John Bowden went with him. His recent letter was naive. How motivated was he by the potential loss on the video, against which the committee counselled? He seems as out of touch with the rank and file as Len was.


Its been like a lock paddle opening, slow and cautious at first to prevent too much boat damage, and then full on to get the gate free to move on to the next bit of the canal. Section leaders making up a musical sub-committee. A web-site. A poll of the choir as to what we would like to sing. A new musical director and a new pianist. Rules for members, like the appropriate wearing of jackets and the minimum practices before you can sing in a concert. Overdue some might say. A new compere, nervous but growing.


Yet many things stay the same. The unstated unwritten purpose remains making music together to which others may like to listen. Many still worry, a little, about the words and whether they are in tune, though I suspect those numbers might decrease with time. There is a new commitment too.

Its a musical matriarchy. The committee stalwarts are outstanding.


Lets not let in the grey men in grey suits though. Len may have gone but I sense there are plenty left who will safeguard this.


She is a good christian soul. When we have appointments in church she knows the hymns off by heart, and takes the praying seriously. Instead of telling the purpetrator off if a mobile goes off or someone is late or there is a bum note somewhere, she laughs. Does she see it as funny or is it a decoy, a sideways way of deflecting anger. Whatever, its an appropriate response for people who are giving their time voluntarily. She gets paid like – any conflict of interest there? She is happy to answer questions, go over things.

Bought a piano without the committee’s approval – the treasurer, a quite lad nearly spoke.

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