Now that I live with two people that generate a lot of dirty clothes – a baby and a mechanic – I judge the business of my life by what I call the “laundry snapback”. Yesterday, the day after the choir’s concert, I ran four loads through the washing machine, folded a load that has been patiently waiting on the clothes horse, ran another two loads through the dryer, hung a load on the clothes horse and hung another load out on the clothes line.
Life has been busy.
So I have a lot to catch you up on. Firstly – we had our concert with the big band on Wednesday night and it was HUGE. There were about 200 people there! The band came up to town the week before – winding their way through the bush roads that suddenly spit you out at the football oval on the outskirts of town, blazing lights that never turn off. The trip used to take upwards of 3 hours in the days before the road was sealed. It’s only 60 kilometres, but it’s a windy 60.
The ladies of the choir were resplendent. I’d asked them to come in their concert clothes so that I could have a look and make sure that everyone was on the right track, costume wise. I’d made a photo board for them all to look at over the past month – Sammy Davis Jr, Sinatra, Judy Garland, Angie Dickinson and Diana Dors. Some of the ladies had been in tears, such were their anxiety levels at having to look so fancy. This is a town where all of their primary industries have died out. It’s a depressed place. Fancy for a lot of them means not wearing sneakers or boots. So when I walked into the hall last week I was unprepared for what I saw – pearls, pearls, pearls, gloves to the wrist or elbow, hats with netted fascinators, fur coats, circle skirts, feather headdresses…where had they been hiding this stuff?!
“This skirt is floor length, which I know isn’t the right length so I just pulled it up over me boobs and put a top over the top of it and hey! Tea length!” Jane presented herself to me, arms out, palms facing up. She was SO PROUD. So was Jill. David had dressed her from head to toe, and she looked like Las Vegas had exploded all over every inch of her body. She could barely string a sentence together, so excited she was. Purple skirt, black top, silver elbow length gloves with a pearl bracelet on each wrist. And a massive purple feather headdress. It’s a good thing she sits in the back row. That headdress was high. “Is it too much?” she asked, bright red in the face. “Jill, you’re perfect. Don’t change a thing.” She hyperventilated. I turned to David and asked him to make another six headdresses. They were amazing.
So the band arrived in all their town scruffiness – pierced noses on guys, big hipster beards – and set up directly facing the choir. The sound was MASSIVE and the rehearsal couldn’t have run better. I wish I had some funny stories for you, but I just don’t. Greg had clearly been listening to a lot of Sinatra and had finally figured out how to sing on off beats. Bill was still trying to remember to hold semibreves for four counts. Vicky forgot her words but powered on regardless, mumbling along until the adrenalin rush of finally singing with the band had worn off enough for her to regain some composure. I complimented Jean on her choice of biscuit in the break – a salty lemon cream – and she solemnly and sincerely accepted my compliment. David told me that there’ll need to be a break before his solo as he had a full costume change planned.
A regular night with the choir, really.