I think we were all surprised to see each other there. The church at Paul is, after all, some miles up a narrow hilly road, and accessible only to the determined. This meant that everyone who actually showed up, wanted to show up. There were 8 of us.
The voice choir were seated in a round, at the back of the church, the (Cornish) director's back facing us. We 8 sat in the wooden pews, backs resting against the walls of the church. Each of us had claimed a pew, and rested quite comfortably as they began. There was no wifi in there, so nobody sat with their heads buried in any sort of a screen. We just - listened.
After a while, one gentleman leaned in toward me and whispered, "What is the director saying?" I couldn't believe he had asked the very question I think about every time I go. I replied, "Are you a Brit?"
He didn't directly answer this question, but became distracted and whisper-shouted, "You're a Yank!"
"Shhhhhh," shushed one of the other Roadies.
"Yes," I said, after an embarrassed pause, "which is precisely why I cannot now, nor will I ever be able to, answer your question."
"What question was that?" he asked.
"The question of what on earth the director is saying!" I was beginning to flag. But at least I had settled the question of whether or not this Roadie was a Brit. He was.
"You're a Brit," I said, and he humbly acknowledged this fact with a bow of the head.
"And you still can't understand the director."
"It is true, I cannot."
The conversation was become burdensome, and so I turned my attention back to the splendid and soaring voices of the Male Voices I had come to hear.
After a while the man tapped my shoulder, and leaned in. "How long have the Mousehole Male Voice Choir been singing?" I stifled a sigh, and wanted to just say I DON"T KNOW. But I did have a bit of information about it, and so I said, "I don't know for sure how long, but they've been here at least since 1960, because their 1960 picture is over on the wall of yonder Pub."
I showed him the picture of the the photograph I had snapped in the pub, which you see on this page. There they all were, nearly 60 years ago looking just as marvelous as this group who were just launching into 'The Rock Island Line'. The younger ones look just as happy and energetic as any in this current choir, and the elders look just as patient. And don't you just love the accompanist? She is so sweet and prim.
The Roadie seemed to run out of things to say, and turned his attention back to the Rock Island Line. I did too, hoping there wouldn't be many more questions to answer. I wanted to think, and to listen. It was the last time for a while that I'd be able to, and I was hoping to savor it. It's terrific to go thousands of miles away and find little treasures like this one, tucked right away in the green hillsides of a small village. A village one may never have heard of but which will go down in History nonetheless.
See you along the way!