They came marching down the aisle, singing "Hale-hale-hale--luiah!" with no accompaniment but one another. The hair on the back of my neck about stood up as those tones built and more men filed in. 'Fun' doesn't begin to describe it.
But on they came, until all 70 were stood to attention in the front and the audience applauded. The men have done this a hundred times, at least - maybe several hundred. They have traveled both near and far to perform, even to California, so they are accustomed to applause. Still, they looked pleased for they were performing in their home Parish, their own Paul Church perched just above the darling little harbor town of Mousehole. Seated just in front of me was the elder gentleman who makes it his business to attend every rehearsal he possibly can, and every performance. He was dressed to the nines for this one! It was the sweetest thing. You can see his head, on the right, below:
He must have had some way to get home because he stayed for the whole performance (remember, he normally has to take the 8:30 bus for a midnight arrival home) and grinned at me as we walked out. "How did you like it this time, sir?" I asked.
"Oh fine, Miss, real fine," he said. "Never better!" (which has to be a good omen, considering he "can't tell one note from the other").
I had been given a ride of my own, there and back, and it was fun listening to the conversations both directions. My driver collected two other ladies and myself, getting us there well early and able to sit near the front. I learned childrens' names, family adventures, and political views (everyone is talking politics here - everyone! The general wonderment only grows, as Brits from both right and left ask the question, "What will the Americans do?")
But the concert was far more enjoyable than American politics. It was a sharing of focus upon things that really matter. Beautiful music. The four part harmony of How Great Thou Art. The Cornish lady sitting beside you whom you cannot understand but like very much. I could realize that whatever might happen on November 8 won't impact those things at all. The things that really matter will continue to matter, whatever it is that the Americans 'do'.
We aren't really all that important, you know. It only seems that we are.
See you along the way!
St Pol de Leon's Church at Paul, Cornwall