Letter to the Editor - Another Poem from Andrew Wright

Letter to the Editor - Another Poem from Andrew Wright
Type of post: "In Harmony" Newsletter
Status: Current
Date Posted: Sun, 17 Jun 2018

The Long, Long Path to Barbershop Success
Poem Covering a Lifetime of Music Involvement – By Andrew Wright © 2018

1. I’ve sung in lots of choirs over many, many years
And I’ve been on stage in musicals as well
’ve played the violin and I have played piano too
ut here’s something rather special – let me tell

2. Way back in 1965 when I was still at school
 got together with some friends to sing
We tried to sing in harmony but we didn’t sound too good
And the chords we made just didn’t seem to ring

3. We thought we had a talent we could offer to the world
But the music we produced was rather bland
So, instead of singing harmony we chose another route
And we formed a rather hopeful skiffle band

4. At this stage in my music life I didn’t have the skills
To play guitar like all my friends intended
So, I was chosen as the front-man singing all the songs
And this is why our skiffle era ended…!

5. Our next attempt was R & B so popular at the time
But the gigs we played would drive the mosh-pit mad
It was said by many out the front that we should all retire
And that the R was short for RUBBISH and the B was short for BAD

6. Well, faint heart ne’er a maiden won and we would not give up
So, we turned our skills to another type - called ‘Rock’
We grew our hair and learnt to play with the amp turned up to max
And woke up all the neighbours round the block

7. Once again success came slow, in-fact it didn’t come at all
Since we only had eleven gigs or so
But ten of those were cancelled ‘cos the tickets wouldn’t sell
At the other, I was sick and couldn’t go

8. So much for rock and roll we thought we must try something else
So, we formed a rather splendid String Quartet
I could play the violin a bit so I stood at the front
And we played the works of Mozart and Bee-zet (Ahem..!))

9. Now after several practices we thought that we were ready
To come before an audience or two
But when they heard us play the works of Bach and Paganini
They thought that we were strangling cats – it’s true...!

10. Where do we go from here I mused, our spirits falling low?
There must be some new target I can set us
So, how about we play some Jazz – now there’s a great idea
But perhaps our feeble talents wouldn’t let us

11. We practised Louis Armstrong songs but found them rather gruff
And Gillespie left us feeling somewhat ‘Dizzy’
Thelonious Monk just gave us boys a lot of awful habits
And Count Basie’s music put us in a tizzy

12. Fats Waller was a pianist that we tried so hard to mimic
But the way he played was quite beyond our skill
So, we learned to play a tune or two by Ellington, the Duke
But this left our audience feeling rather ill…!

13. It’s clear that I could not expect to reach the heights of fame
In R & B or Rock or in the Jazz-scene
Our String Quartet and Skiffle Groups were total failures too
And I thought that I would be the all-time has-been.

14. My friends and I agreed that we should have another go
But, I needed to put on my thinking cap
I sat for hours wondering just what we ought to do
And then suddenly it came to me – it’s Rap

15. I have a knack for rhyming verse so
I was asked to write The lyrics for our venture down this path
I really hoped the words I wrote would bring us wealth and fame
As long as all our listeners didn’t laugh...!

16. My friends were lined up on the stage, a-strumming their guitars
And our drummer played his kit so very loud
Then out the front with hands held high and fingers stretched out wide
These words are what I offered to the crowd….. Rap Style

17. Oh Yeah, Oh Yeah. My darling gal I got some words for yo
I ‘spose you want anuvver guy, ‘cos I’s no use to yo
I gives yo weed I gives yo speed I gives you all my bread
Then when I comes home for my tea I finds youse off your head
I works so hard at centrelink, a-standing in the queue
I do this twice a week yo know – I does it just for yo
My luv for yo it knows no bounds it is so very strong
I’ll stay with you for ever ‘til a new gal comes along….Oh Yeah!

18. I thought that we had made it as the crowd stood up as one
As they seemed to like the style of my review
But when the rotten fruit began to rain down on the stage I knew I had to think of something new.

19. Perhaps we should step back a bit – consider where to go
We hadn’t tried our singing style for years
Perchance, we’ve come a long, long way since singing back at school
Performing to our most ungrateful peers

20. So, we formed an a cappella group of four lads, good and true
And we called ourselves ‘The Barbershop Elite’
We practised once a week or so for more than half an hour
Then we took our music out into the street

21. The crowds were staggered by the sound that we four lads produced
And we entertained these folk with songs divine
We sang the Polecats, perfectly, each one in several keys
And we finished with the song “Sweet Adeline”

22. So now our destiny was set, no more we’d need to seek
The style of music that would make us great
We’d simply sing in Barbershop and join a chorus too
And get involved before it was too late

23. So, we joined a chorus way down south, in Melbourne to be sure
And we found that we were welcomed without fuss
Our average age was 22 but that was so refreshing
Since the average of the rest was 60 plus

24. At last we’d found our destiny – in singing Barbershop
And we’d never felt so happy and complete
So, if you ever think that you have taken the wrong turn
Just think of me and the ‘Barbershop Elite‘

25. The joy of singing Barbershop can never be compared
With Blues or Jazz or a simple String Quartet
Nor Rock nor Reggae, Skiffle, Rap not even big Brass Bands
‘Cos Barbershop’s as good as it can get

A L Wright © March 2018