On being 50…

Yep, last week was my birthday, which I spent in bed with a cold, however, it was also the best birthday I’ve ever had.

One surprise party, four balloons, three cakes, so many friends that I lost count.

I bought myself an Anglo concertina, it’s something I’ve been wanting to play since I was a child. Actually it’s my second one, I bought my first a few months ago, but it was a 20 key and had a dodgy key, so my birthday present to myself was a 30 key Hohner concertina.

I’ve always known that the concertina was an instrument played in Salvation Army open airs, but that was before my time, however since getting interested in the instrument I didn’t realise just how big a part the Army had in the ‘tina’.

On Friday I took advantage of a free concertina lesson and was able to play a £6,000 concertina which was wonderful, but then I was shown a Salvation Army concertina the tutor also had. Right there on the box was the old Judd street SP&S stamp.

While I don’t share a love for brass band music and think the Army’s ‘songsterfication’ of good music is a travesty, I do love the old choruses. I also love the folk night at the local pub on Fridays and there’s a connection I think between the old SA choruses and the Folk songs.

There’s something I like about the honest singing of a sea shanty or a SA chorus. I remember the old singing company and songster practices and being told how to pronounce certain words.

Songsters sound ‘posh’ the tunes are too high for me and they all sound like they sing with upper class southern accents, as a proud working class Yorkshire lass I don’t connect to it, it’s not my words.

But the sound of a chorus, sung from the heart, with no fancy-smancy frills, that’s what I like. Something that even the most common of man can sing, that’s what I love.

Recently I found a photo of my Granddad, Brigadier Jepson Jepson, with his accordion, confirmation that I’m following on in family footsteps. Hopefully I’ll get good enough to share a chorus or two here!

Jepson Jepson with some of his many musical instruments

Published by bettyvirago

Betty Virago is an award winning textile designer. Based in Yorkshire, England, and known for her Northern Folk dolls and the Quilts of Hope project.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: