Afterglow – Charles Turner 2012


What about the ‘afterglow’ asked the Chairman of Morriston male voice choir when finalising the arrangements for the Huddersfield Town Hall concert in 2009.

This delightful expression is the perfect description of the feeling we experience when winding down after the elation and emotional drain of a performance. Retiring to the pub after a concert is a choir ritual and ‘for the afterglow’ has been added to the choir vocabulary.

There are choir members who would argue we do not do ourselves any favours singing after a couple of pints as alcohol does not enhance vocal prowess. Pub singing, nevertheless, is a highlight for myself and a significant number of choir members. It has a relaxed atmosphere and allows a wider repertoire, ranging from the sacred to profane. A surprising number of individual talents have been uncovered and the variety and list of favourites has grown.

The procedure is usually the same, we ask the bar staff if it is all right to sing. Invariably Jed will pitch ‘Bread of Heaven’, usually followed by ‘Hail Smiling Morn’ and off we go with a right good sing along: ‘Sloop John B’, ‘The Wild Rover’, ‘Swing Low Sweet Chariot’ and ‘Danny Boy’ are the standard fare. These are interspaced with requests for ‘Mrs Olroyd’ (Steve), ‘The Water Rattle’ (John), ‘The Village Pump’ (Edward), and “the one about the hod carrier who won’t be at work today, Derek”. Then the inevitable “You can’t sing that Ibbo, do the one about the logger who stirred his coffee with his thumb”.

Pub singing is about fun, comradeship and nostalgia. Probably nostalgia is as good as it used to be after all.

Charles Turner