Quiz question (for we are all into quizzes now)
Where and when was the song above played, sung along to, and greatly enjoyed?
It has been a truly beautiful spring and early summer. And despite other restrictions we may have, there is no doubt that nature in her true glory, has softened the anxieties of the past few weeks. Sitting watching the sun set in the early evening, we are often serenaded by a blackbird who routinely perches on a tree in our garden. How privileged to have this free daily concert!
If the flowers and trees have provided the rich tapestry of spring and early summer, it is the birds that provide the musical accompaniment. From very early in the morning these feathered choristers can be heard, outside our bedroom windows, cajoling us into action. Like eternal optimists their songs have the ability to brighten each day. The robin’s song is beautiful and joyful, as if sung with all his heart and soul, and unlike other birds can be heard all year round. The full-throated melody of the blackbird is one of our best loved songs; as soon as green shoots appear he bursts into song from dawn until dusk. A tribute to the fact that size is not everything, the tiny wren has a lively and full-throated warbling song, whilst that of the great tit resembles a squeaky wheel! The much loved visitor to our gardens, the blue tit, has a loud and high pitched song which ends with a long rapid trill. Were you fortunate to hear a cuckoo this year? For me the best of all is the rich, high pitched song of the skylark as he soars upwards in a blue summer sky before plunging downwards …. and the melody stops, as if on cue! I have yet to hear a skylark this year, but as the lockdown eases and we venture further, both in distance and into longer summer days, I hope to enjoy what the poet George Meredith described as “ a silver chain of sound”.
If I have to wait a little longer for that real skylark song then there will always be the beautiful “The Lark Ascending” by Vaughan Williams, to listen to again … and again, and now rightfully acknowledged as one of the nation’s favourite pieces of music.
If I want another music genre to celebrate the joy of our feathered friends, there is the wonderful compilation between Yehudi Menuhin (violin) and Stephan Grappelli (violin and piano) entitled “Strictly for the Birds” – “ A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square”, “Lullaby of Birdland” and “Bye, Bye Blackbird” amongst the many great tracks.
So back to the song quoted at the top of this article and the quiz question.
Answer During the 1980s and 90s at Bliss School a little teddy bear, called William Bliss, travelled the world in the company of a pilot friend of headteacher Alan Watson. Every time William arrived in a new destination he sent the school a postcard to be read and shared by everyone, and this was heralded by playing and singing the song above. Happy memories, but also happy thoughts that soon we may all enjoy places and people who are further afield. Until then keep safe, keep well and keep smiling.
If you would like to find out more, visit the Heyford Singers page or our website:
alternatively come along to one of our rehearsals in Nether Heyford Village Hall.