When I first looked at this week's Sepia Saturday prompt I thought I was seeing a group of girls and boys together on a class outing. I thought I would dig up some photos of my mother as a teacher in the 1940s, or perhaps re-post a photo of my great grandfather with his students outside their one-room schoolhouse at the turn of the century in Oklahoma Territory (see my September post More Schoolin'). On further inspection, I realized that I was looking at a group of only boys. There were no girls here. The boys were, however, all costumed in outfits that give the appearance of girls' dresses or overcoats. Perhaps these outfits were not in fact girl's clothing, but were instead some type of ethnic or local costume for boys. Whatever is the truth, it is clearly evident to the viewer that these adorable boys were absolutely delighted and amused at their circumstance. Looking through the door behind them I see what appears to be a window styled like one would see in a church. This leads me to the theory that these young men were all participants in a boys choir group at their local church and had just concluded their performance - to the great relief of all! I wonder what songs they sang? The choir director must have been relieved at their success as well - and proud enough to record the big event with a delightful group photo.
I remember as a child seeing the Vienna Boys Choir in concert when they went on a tour of the United States. They were absolutely marvelous! Their crystal clear voices rang out in the concert hall with harmonies and soprano notes I had never heard before. It seemed that they must have trained their entire lives to perform so well. And, to my amazement they were able to do this in front of such a huge crowd! I must confess that in addition to enjoying the music, my sister and I spent some of our time pointing out the boys to each other that we thought were cute.
This brings me to my Sepia Saturday submission for this week:
|My Dad's Barbershop Chorus|
About the time I was in high school my father decided to join a local men's chorus. I can't say he was a good singer, but he loved music and he loved people. The chorus provided him an opportunity to enjoy both of these one or two evenings each week. I, like the rest of my family, was quite proud of him for doing this and wished him well in his new hobby. We all planned to attend the concert his group would be giving in the city's performance hall in the Spring.
Then a terrible thing happened. My father invited my friends to come to the concert!
I knew my dad's chorus sang in Barbershop-style harmonies. You wouldn't find Barbershop songs on any of the lists of "top 100 hits" my friends and I listened to. I have blocked what I may have said to my father from my memory, but I am certain I must have shed a few tears. I was so embarassed about what my friends would think.
When the dreaded day finally arrived I joined my friends in their car to head down to the performance hall. I must have said "You don't have to like it, you know" to them a hundred times on the way there, and, of course, we looked for seats as far to the back of the hall as we could. When the curtains opened and the chorus of men sang out in their ringing consonant harmonies we were bowled over. Of course they sang the songs you would typically expect from a Barbershop chorus: Down by the Old Mill Stream, Sweet Adeline, and Wait 'Til the Sun Shines Nellie, but they added in many other songs to their repertoire. There were songs that my friends and I actually knew and listened to such as Yesterday by the Beatles. We found it to be a really fun and unique experience, and talked about the concert (among ourselves of course) for days.
Much like the boys choir in this week's Sepia Saturday prompt, my dad's Barbershop Chorus lined up outside the performance hall when their concert was over. They were all clearly quite happy it was over, and they were also quite proud of their accomplishment. I was too.