To quote a rather dated skit show: ‘This week I have mostly been singing Pie Jesu’ (said in a west-country accent). The west-country reference is no coincidence; the reason for said singing was preparation for a performance during the wedding of my cousin, Will and his now wife, Juliet (of previous Auckland blog fame), which was held down in Devon.
However, this was no ordinary singing; this was a daily morning wake-up experience. As some of you may know, the most famous rendition of Pie Jesu is an angelic-sounding duet written by Andrew Lloyd Webber. In this case, my fellow duettist was my sister, Susie. However, due to our geographic disparity (she lives in France), not to mention our respective disorganisation (I blame still not quite being on the planet after my recent travel adventures; she more plausibly blames her own imminent travel adventure, a permanent move to Moscow with the family), we had completely failed to rehearse together with one week to go.
To remedy this, we decided to have a daily rehearsal over the phone during the final week. We tried skype but the tiny delay was infuriating – we both kept waiting for the other to catch up, and turned what is already a sombre song into an unbearable dirge. And so it came to be that, for a week, I would begin the day by sleepily greeting Susie on the phone at 7am and then immediately belting out my line whilst she did the same at the other end. We’d then have a five minute chat before each retreating back to the mundanities of our own particular morning routine. This had a number of effects:
- Had Susie or I been unable to sing at the last minute, we would have been able to call upon a raft of emergency stand-ins, including two nieces, two nephews, my mum, my sister, Pru, and the entire building crew at Pru’s house, where I’m currently living. They all had the dubious and unavoidable pleasure of learning one of the parts, by sheer ad nauseum repetition ringing in their ears.
- I came off the phone each day feeling wide-awake and invigorated, with a warm feeling inside, having been ushered into the new day by the dulcet tones of my lovely sister. Better than being harangued by Chris Moyles, any day.
- We have decided that, as it was such a weirdly pleasurable way to start the day, we are going to find another duet and give it the same treatment – call it a musical cord (see what I did there?), voiding the distance between Moscow and Warwick with the melding of voices… 🙂
- I have once again remembered how much I love singing and how I need it in my life – hopefully future blogs will bring tales of how I’ve made that happen whilst avoiding being a phone pest who rings random numbers and sings down the phone at strangers.
- Apart from Susie inexplicably getting the giggles during the performance (now immortalised on camera), we nailed it at the wedding.
Post-performance smiles at possibly the most idyllic wedding reception ever: munching on pasties and glugging on cider in a wildflower meadow beside the cliff-top church, whilst bathed in glorious sunshine in an otherwise washout summer. (Sarah Brightman on the right, Paul Miles-Kingston on the left.)
Before I sign off, here are a few more photos that sum up the wonderful wedding weekend (in my efficiency, these photos have already appeared in my facebook album of the weekend, so apologies if you’ve already seen them):
View of the wedding, as seen by ants.
Mmmmmm, the greasy pleasure of lard-induced paper transparency. (Note the beach in the background – more weddings should include beach-time, enabling the joyous spectacle of guests paddling in the sea in tails and posh frocks – FACT.)
Mr and Mrs Hunt.