This weekend marked a very special time in the life of Onesound, our fortieth anniversary. Forty years of having fun and making music together. But of course it wouldn’t be fair for just the current members to celebrate when there have been generations of members contributing to the amazing times spent at Onesound (or indeed the former MAYC Orchestra and Singers). So, to mark the occasion we were joined by a whole host of ex members from over the years to sing and play and share in our holy hilarity, comprising a group of nearly 200, some of whom hadn’t picked up up their instruments since they were members themselves.
It was absolutely amazing to meet all the people that have made the group what it is today, that have enabled me to enjoy each weekend as much as I do now. To hear their stories of times gone by, past gigs, TV appearances, exciting tours, the whole forty-year journey to where we are today. All the time, the best thing being knowing that in ten years time, I will have a whole book full of memories to share with others too, memories to last the next forty years and beyond. We also got given bingo sheets to try and spot various memories through items brought and conversations heard etc, one of which being ‘incorrect concert dress’ found in none other than our own musical director and conductor on Sunday morning. And, although we were celebrating what has been, it wasn’t all about looking back into the past. As well as inviting back ex members, a children’s choir, made up of children of ex members joined to perform with us this weekend. It is often joked that a significant amount of people get married to others within the group which proved true this weekend, including stories of a mid-concert proposal. It was fantastic to see families and old friends singing and playing together alike, to keep the spirit alive, pass the baton on as it were.
So the weekend started with the usual exciting greetings of far away friends and my friend and I were tasked with creating instrument labels for each of the music stands in the orchestra. We thought it would be fun to add a little message to each label which then turned into a joke for each one to add a few smiles in rehearsals. This seemed like such a great idea when we started until it got to about half eleven in the evening and we had exhausted the very few musical jokes we knew and realised we still had about forty labels to go. Well, with a thorough rattle of the brain and a quick search of the net the majority of the labels included a musical related joke by breakfast or if not, a happy message, little picture or a friendly challenge. I think it’s fair to say, however, that as the night went on, the humour of the jokes definitely decreased as our ideas ran short and I wouldn’t be surprised if we stirred up some controversy in the orchestra as jokes started to get slightly more offensive towards different orchestral sections later into the night. All in good fun of course.
We then had a full day of rehearsals with five of the musical directors of the group right from the very first to our current MD before a very exciting black tie gala dinner. Everyone got fully dressed up ready for the concert and looked stunning. It was all very posh with fairy lights and bunting everywhere, fragile plastic cutlery that was difficult to make last the meal and a surplus of green and yellow helium balloons (for those MAYC knowledgeable out there). The concert then commenced in true Oscar style as we sat at cabaret style tables listening to the stories about the group and the children’s choir until the MAYC Orchestra and Singers/Onesound concert really kicked off with various pieces lead by each of the MDs. For the concert, there are no words. Everyone together, nearly two hundred friends old and new, singing, playing, worshiping, creating the most fantastic sound. Incredible.
After the buzz of the concert, we went out to explore the realms of Coventry in the evening. Well there wasn’t much open except the occasional takeaway but we did encounter a very drunk man asking for directions to a presumably local night club. The irony was that I had been feeling very important (at the beginning of the day at least and then slightly more disappointed later in the day) as I was wearing a lanyard as ‘official friendly person’ that said Want to be a friend? Talk to me and throughout the day, no one had come up to me wanting to be my friend. Until now. Probably a lesson somewhere about not wearing badges in unknown cities late at night saying “talk to me”. A friend and I also went to ‘Chicken Cottage’ that night, a small quite dingy takeaway and one of the few places you could buy chips at half past twelve, feeling slightly out of place in our pretty pink frock/full suit with waistcoat. I have to say, I wouldn’t recommend if you’re looking for a date venue, not quite up to the standards of the gala meal we’d had previously. We then all got back and spent the rest of the evening up chatting into the small hours, knowing that we were going to be dead on our feet the next day, but at the same time knowing that spending every possible last minute with these people was so much more important and worthwhile.
It truly was a great weekend and although it may have been in the middle of exams, I wouldn’t have given it up for the world because I mean talking to small children at the weekend counts as ‘Language Acquisition’ revision, right? I just hope that by the next reunion (here’s hoping there’ll be one) I can have even a fraction of the memories that were shared this weekend and I can’t wait to pass them on to the next generation. 🙂