Anyone who knows me knows I am huge fan of karaoke (I even have my own karaoke hosting business) so I have been delighted to discover the Cumberland Hotel has one of the best karaoke nights I’ve ever attended. The host, Kim, does an excellent job and I should know because I am a self proclaimed expert critic on karaoke hosting, which I am not humble about. The night is popular but not a lot of people sing, so, unlike city karaoke, it’s possible to get in several songs on a single night. They have a great song selection, too, and the bar service is good. (I wish they offered a better cider selection but what can you do? People in these parts like the sweeter ciders and if you ever see Strongbow it’s always in the bottle which is a different and inferior product to the canned stuff). I haven’t been for several weeks because unfortunatly it is on the same night as Music Bingo, where I am the fill-in host, but the regular bingo host is back so I am looking forward to Friday and a return to karaoke at the Cumberland Hotel.
I haven’t been completely deprived of singing, though, for there have been other opportunities for Cumberland song. Kevin Flesher, the Comox Valley Poet Laureate, started a drop-in Commando Choir every second Wednesday. I have only attended once so far, and was disappointed to see no one actually went commando, or if they did it was under their clothes and I got no peeks. It was fun and engaging, but with the drop-in nature and the different skill levels of the singers I question if the songs will ever be a thing of musical beauty. I did get a nice video of everybody getting all zen over “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” but I can’t figure out how to upload it and tech support is doing his taxes right now.
Step and I both volunteered to work at the canteen at the Elevate the Arts Winter Bazaar in Courtenay, and it was a bit slow in the afternoon so I took an hour off and did a pop-up choir workshop where we did learn a song of musical beauty lauding the holly as the most excellent of Christmas plants, and then we popped-up and sang it:
Also, we were invited to go wassailing, which is sort of a cross between carolling and mummering (you Newfoundlanders know what I’m talking about). I wore the cat balaclava for this activity. It was a crispy night that wasn’t snowing but there was snow on the ground, so I guess the weather was perfect for such an event. Some of the songs were religious, like Silent Night and O Come, All Ye Faithful, but Rowan pointed out that wassailing is a pagan practice so the religious carols had a kind of ironic balance and Step pointed out those are, after all, classic carols. In any event, I really like signing so those songs will do, and when I didn’t know the words I stood in the back and made the general sounds of the words to the tune of the song.
Also, I have problems with this post because I didn’t take a lot of pictures. Here’s one of people I don’t know wassailing in a place I don’t know where:
When people go mummering they won’t leave until they get grog, but Cumberland didn’t get the memo so we went without refreshment until we got the the Mayor’s house, when she brought out a bottle of whiskey and a bottle of Bailey’s for us to enjoy. I will vote for her in the next election!
So, I am not a great singer, except in the way that I get great pleasure from signing, and I like to watch other people sing and I don’t really mind if they aren’t good at it either. I’m glad there are so many opportunities to do some around here, and I hope to make them even more in the coming year .