Monday, November 9, 2009

Outsourced Outsorcery

Why is it that my blog titles rarely have anything to do with the content, you ask? Cookies, is the answer. Now no more questions.

So! As I recently decided my knowledge of Narnia was scanty at best, I decided to read the whole series again. As such, this blog entry will be written as if by the hand of C.S. Lewis, an homage, if you will:

172. Singing In The Mountain Town

At once James awoke to find dark clouds flickering through the boughs of ancient-looking evergreens standing beside the road. Inside the bus it was silent but for some metallic chattering, but it was easy to imagine the sounds that lay past the windows. The pattering of the rain and the thundering of the swollen river just a stone's throw from the path they drove. It had been raining all day, and as the sun set now James cursed himself silently for not bringing an umbrella.
Soon enough the bus slowed and stopped at a small building, the roof of which was held up by smooth tree-trunks so large one couldn't hope to wrap their arms around and have their fingers touch. The walls were made of large grey stones with the same dark timber filling in the gables, and the rest was painted a cheery green colour. It was beautiful and quirky to look at, and seemed right at home nestled here in the mountains. Looking around, James noticed that in fact all the buildings here had the same look, as if every architect had been given precise instructions as to how their building should appear, and had followed them keenly.
"Ah, Whistler at last." chirped a girl sitting behind James, who until that moment he had not noticed, "I expect we'll need our jackets." she said and stuffed her arms into the sleeves of a thick coat, "it does look a little unpleasant out there."
At that moment, the door of the bus opened and wind howled in at once, coupled with lashing rain.
"Wonderful night to arrive!" huffed the bus driver from the front, and jumped out, vanishing into the darkness immediately to open the trunk and assist with the passengers' luggage and help them inside. Indeed, once inside, the building was more pleasant than one could have guessed, a great roaring fire in a large open hearth sat in the middle of the room, and comfortable looking couches crowded around it.
"Welcome to the Summit Lodge" said a woman's voice suddenly from the bell desk behind him, and James proceeded to check in and find his room. That night he slept soundly as the storm outside finally blew its last gale and melted into a clear morning sky.
The next day was a whirl for the boy, and if I may take the liberty of skipping the morning rituals, we can leap right to the more interesting parts, one being the moment before the contest - which is, of course, why James was in Whistler to begin with.
His warm casual clothing from the night before had now transformed into a beautifully pressed white shirt, a bright, electric-blue tie and black jacket. His shoes shined brightly as if they had never been worn before, and in part this is true, for they had only been taken out of their shoebox for the second time that very morning.
"Five minutes!" came the announcement, and soon James and a group of forty or so others were lead silently down a corridor and finally to a set of risers facing a giant black curtain. Behind the curtain they could hear noises, an audience laughing as a voice told jokes over a microphone.
"And now," the voice started in a different tone, and James' heartbeat began to pound as he stood watching the rest of his chorus get into their final positions, "from Vancouver BC, and hosts of the 2009 District convention, the Greater Vancouver Gentlemen of Fortune!"
James stood still as the curtains slowly opened to reveal hundreds of people sitting partially shrouded in darkness, applauding and whistling as the stage-lights blinded he and his company. Then a different sound, a gentle but high-pitched buzzing - the pitch pipe, giving them the first note. The director stood in front of them all, and raised his hands, sending a final smile perhaps to comfort the nervous in the chorus. James' heart now felt as if it were in his throat, but he hadn't time to think of that because suddenly the director was signalling the start of the performance, and they were off.
As they sang, it felt as if time were on fast-forward. The movements came as they were supposed to, the notes rang out into the hall, and then suddenly it was all over and a small, plump woman was ushering them off the stage behind the once more closed-curtains.
"Come on!" urged a voice behind James, as he bumbled down the stairs that led into a dingy side-corridor. The applause dimmed as the announcer once again took to the microphone, and while he spoke, the chorus was led through the corridor back into the auditorium where they sat to wait for the scores to be given. It appeared that they had done well, but not well enough, the chorus had come a close fourth by a matter of a few points, and it showed on some of their faces.
James made his way to the foyer through a sea of people talking and singing, and after waving to a girl he recognized who was volunteering at the event, he found himself outside, wandering the small rambling streets of the village through the pleasant little buildings again toward the town-square.
The sun was setting and snow-tipped mountains peeked over the rooftops, glowing orange as the light faded. There seemed to be a lot of excited chatter going on around him, and soon he noticed a large group of people were gathering in front of a small balcony, upon which James' director stood. Suddenly a voice behind him shouted "Mary Lou!", then as if on que the whole town erupted in song. It seemed like something from a dream, hundreds of people singing melodies that echoed through the busy streets and caused windows to be thrown open and people to come curiously out of their buildings to see what was happening. These people that came to watch were in costume however, for that night it just happened to be Halloween, and I dare say that you have never seen such costumes. The colours, and shapes and sizes were dizzying.
By the time the singing had finished and people had disappeared to wherever they had come from, it was dark, and James decided to go and see how the girl was getting on back at the convention center.
As he approached her, she let out a sigh, "thank God!" she said, "can we go and do something? Anything? I've been sitting here for hours!" and so they did.
The night began by walking around and talking with the various people in costumes, then they went to a nightclub and danced for what seemed like hours, and presently they were back in the streets as the early morning chill descended, where they spent an hour wandering aimlessly, singing and remniscing. Finally after walking his friend home, James found himself back at his hotel room, drifting to sleep in the rather comfortable bed...

Well, there you have it. I'd like to have done a book-on-tape version for you, but I didn't have the time … it may still come at a later point!

To explain briefly, I sing in a barbershop chorus called the Gentlemen of Fortune, and District is the second 'round' in a contest to select choruses and quartets to compete at international level. Great fun, and a great weekend!

Cheers all,


Blogger Template by Jimzip