Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Well Loved Songs - 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy and History

This is the 26th challenge in in a weekly series from GeneaBloggers called 52 weeks of personal genealogy and  history, suggested  by Amy Coffin,  that invite genealogists to record memories and insights about their own lives for future descendants.    Week 26  - Songs

Whe I first saw this topic, my thoughts immediately turned to my primary school days, when every Wednesday afternoon we gathered in the hall for community singing and I learnt such patriotic songs as The British Grenadiers,  Hearts of Oak, The Bonnie Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond, Bluebells of Scotland and ny favourite, sung with much gusto,  Men of Harlech.  Sea shanties were also popular as we swung from side to side to sing  What Shall We Do with the Drunken Sailor?   Are these now all forgotten as I doubt that children are familiar with them today? 

Singing in a choir has been a key activity throughout my life from school days onwards, whether it was folk songs from round the world, spirituals, carols, sacred music, opera and operetta chrouses,  Gilbert & Sullivan or songs from the shows - musical tastes that still mean a lot to me today.  It is a marvellous form of music making, whatever your age. The highlight for me was to be one of over a 1000 singers, plus orchestra  in a "Come and Sing" performance in the iconic Royal Albert Hall in London - an exhilerating and unforgettable experience in front of a packed 4000 audience.  

As for pop culture, it really passed me by, apart from a liking for some of Elvis Presley and Cliff Richard, and groups like the Seekers and the Carpenters and when I was in the heady days of becoming engaged songs by  Jim Reeves.  

Songs are an important source of pride in my home town of Hawick in the Scottish Borders, when in the Common Riding festivities in June,   they celebrate local passion  and heritage.  One of my favourites tells how:


When Slitrig dances doon the dell
to join the Teviot water



There dwells auld Hawick's Honest Men
And Hawick's Bright Eyed Daughters.

(Slitrig is the local river that meets the larger Teviot at Hawick - below)

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