|Wise old owl says plan for rain in Rainy City and hope for A Cappella singing|
“Come along,” we said. “It’s a great day out. We’re always lucky with the weather.”
Ah. By 11.30 we weren’t so sure. The ground was sodden. It was still raining, raining, raining. There were puddles everywhere. “Bring an umbrella and some wellies. We'll be singing in the rain at 12pm at Swinton Grove Park Family Fun Day!” we’d been warned earlier.
We did. We squelched along.
We met under a gazebo and tried to remember all those ones we know that feature rain. Oh yes. Lines and titles: Torrents in summer, I think it’s going to rain today, Full rain full rain, Soon it’s gonna rain And others. Enough people had umbrellas. Could we improvise Singing in the Rain?
Thank goodness for the excellent tea room in Elizabeth Gaskell’s House. Seriously. Wonderful cake at £1.00 a shot and beverages, too, at the same price. All those tempting second-hand books. We sheltered there and awaited further instructions.
The Lord Mayor of Manchester arrived. We were ushered back. And it had stopped raining! Was that some blue sky we saw? Better do Blue Skies, then. We did.
We did a set including I Got Rhythm, Blue Skies, Build Me up Buttercup, Deep River, Can’t Help Falling in Love and Kiss the Girl, We were invited to eat. It was warm though still overcast. People began to arrive. The atmosphere we’re used to there began to grow.
There was a falconry display team there and quite a few of us spent the time admiring these magnificent birds. We were invited to touch them. Their feathers are surprisingly soft and they are very tame.
Some brave souls risked an ice-cream and some dressed up in items provide by the Elizabeth Gaskill House.
We decided to busk for the second set of songs which included One Day Like This, Buttercup (again) Viva La Musica! and the Here, There, Everywhere / Long Riding Road medley. We were quite close to one of our favourite spots in the park: a grassy knoll near a big tree.
“Do you realise,” I said to another of the tenors, “we first performed Long Winding Road here?” It was actually a little too muddy for us to stand in the exact spot where we’d sung it the first time we were here.
Jeff wasn’t with us this time but assistant musical director Daisy guided us well. Hoorah!
“It’s great folks,” said Kerry. “They’ve already asked can we come again next year.” Course we can. Come rain or shine.
The birds flew for us just afterwards and the Elizabeth Gaskill House was open free of charge. Hey, they have a Broadwood Boudoir Grand and you’re allowed to play it if you can. The park seemed as full as folk as even despite the dampness. No such thing as bad weather, then, only bad clothing. It was all fine with wellies.