It was a terrific concert, the packed crowd eager to hear an evening of Cornwall's International Male Choral Festival. Jean, Pennie and I had all been duly collected by 'our Eric', and driven post haste to the Chapel Street Methodist Church in Penzance. This church has a perfectly enormous pipe organ, which was played tonight with a talent nearly forgotten back home. Chills.
It had been a close thing getting a ticket to that concert, because EVERYBODY wanted a ticket to it. But Eric did what it took to get me that much coveted scrap of paper last night, and was I ever glad.
As we entered, Pennie and I discussed which seats we should occupy. The place was filling up fast. We found three seats together just at the middle of the middle row, which seemed promising, but then I (American to the bone) spied some seats in the front row. I felt instantly that they must be ours.
"Look!" I whispered, pointing.
"Oooh, front row seats," they whispered back. "but surely they couldn't be for us..."
Most people were thinking the same thing, because most people eyed the seats, and then moved on.
"Let's try!" I said, so we picked our way forward, and, gingerly, sat down and waited. But nothing happened, no one came to oust us, and from those spots we were able to see and hear each and every little bit and piece of splendor.
The first of these splendors came from the Atlantic Boychoir of Canada, who almost brought down the house. The clear, sweet tones of those voices were faultless, and we felt we could sit there for hours just taking it in. It could have been a hard act to follow, but when our dear Mousehole Male Voice Choir came forward, the house was brought down again! It was so powerful, and fun, and oh, so good to see them all again. There really isn't anything like 75 male voices singing out with Cornish accents in an acoustically perfect church. Everything about it is different from everything about American voices.
I glanced over at Jean, whose face beamed with pride. They were OUR Male Voice Choir, making a difference in this world like no one else.
The Cornwall Boys Choir, Eight In A Bar, and the Australian Rugby Choir (yes, they sing at Rugby games) all came forward and stole our hearts again. As we left, the laughter around us made it obvious the night had been a success. Little boys everywhere were being lined up, marshaled by firm ladies of strength who would not put up with shenanigans. "Stand up straight, Billy! No no, no crowding forward, let the nice lady by..." I had to hand it to them. They had their work cut out. And to think, just moments before, those boys had been standing up straight, eyes glued to their conductor, singing for us all like a pack of angels.
What a difference they had made, that night. A difference like no one else.
See you along the way!