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RACINE SUNDAY BULLETIN Jan. 14, 1962 Sec. 1, Page 5 Sing Along with Skoal i)c )|c )|c 4^ ^ ^ >\nc/ fhe Worst Is Yet fo Come By Einar Skoal It doesn't take very long, after a bunch of good fellows get together, for somebody to stick out his neck and start a songfest. It doesn't take very much longer, in mixed company. There is, however, a difference, and that difference is about the same as that which distinguishes a clambake from a soiree. In one of those free-styfe male shout-downs, the going •will be rough for the bookish chap with a reedy voice. Better he should specialize in novelty numbers, for he is likely to be at his best only in those solo parts which consist of three of four words tossed in as a response to the main chorus. In other words, this songster is not the brass section—he is the piccolo. . Before we get into the tech- ^;iical aspects of recreational group singing there is a psychological factor to face: We •yvould recognize that the average participant is not singing for the benefit of anybody but himself. That accounts for some of the weird effects that come from one chap operating in B-flat while the rest are being chummy in the key of t. (And if that is too high, try a fifth lower.) . Free-Wheelers a Hazard • These free-wheelers can tie a good songfest in knots. They should be silenced, and a good way to do it is for the largest member of the bass section to put his big fat hand over the offender's mouth and keep it there until it is time tb go home. Before the discussion reaches "Katy," "Tammy" and the rest, let us recall sweeter days when there was freelance domestic-type music in every home. Most folks had pianos, but many also had rnandolins, zithers, mouth organs and phonographs. You could hear ragtime or a concerto, with tea and a bit of biscuit. But now our musical stuff comes gold-plated on Channels 4 and 2, with no effort at all on this side of the screen. Well, it's free ain't it? And now we're visiting the Crescent Choir and Social Club, at its annual banquet and songfest, and there's an evening of harmony ahead. Four of the lads are in a corner timing up, and they are half way through "The Bulldog on the Bank," so there is nothing we can do about it. They're doing OK except that the little tenor has a tendency to go squeaky unless he keeps his head turned straight ahead .... ; Bass Goes Too Deep ; Well, they got through the number OK, and the bullfrog is still safe in his pool. The next one was Annie Laurie, and you knovV how tough that number can be for a Grade B baritone trying to sing the melody. Don't let anybody tell you that you (Jan't tie knots in vocal chords! .... The bass had most of the grief, however; ^e got below his depth; the baritone had to bail him out 6y bearing down on his own part extra hard. If the tenop: sounded a little reedy, he v/as.. that may have been Annie Laurie's last curtain call with this outfit. It's a good thing they weren't practicing for a ^how .... ; It is after the yearly banquet of the Sycamore St. Wet Wash basketball team that you hear traditional American after-dinner singing at its best and its worst. The fuh starts as they join in song to wind up the chow part of the fete. ; The next number is highly extemporaneous, and it starts just like that. The lead isn't having any trouble; he is singing the part that everybody knows, but the others are on an every-man-for-h i m s e 1 f basis. The lead makes a wrong turn in the second bar and the bunch scrambles all ever the bass and treble clefs frying to find the tune They couldn't find it. ' "Down by the Old Mill Stream" also takes a drubbing. The bass is sure they are singing "Beautiful Ohio" and he is steering the boat. The tenor stamps on his foot "Get with it, chump! We ain't singin' 'Sweet Violets'; we switched to 'She Wore a Yellow Ribbon' while you was combing your fingers out of your hair!" Everybody Sing! The number flows lazily along until it turns "Up a Lazy River" where everybody jabbers that everybody else is off-key. That's where they stay; the singers already are busy with "John Brown's Body." Banquets, picnics, campfires, smokers and the like awaken the Orpheus in us. We eat; we feel a welling of melody and camaraderie that explodes into song. Sometimes it is just about that fast. A banqueter puts dowrt his water glass, leaps to his feet and: "C-MON! Everybody sing . . . There's a long, long trail a-winding . . . . " There we go, off to the races: "Come Josephine in My Flying Machine" . . . "Meet Me Tonight in Dreamland" . . . "Oui, Marie" . . . "K-k-k- Katy, Beautiful Katy" . "Around Her Neck She Wore a Yellow Ribbon" . . . "Ramona, when day is done you'll hear my call . .-. 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