Our favourite night of the year

The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO) is a renowned symphony orchestra and an integral part of the varied cultural scene in Birmingham. CBSO has suffered huge cuts to its budget for community outreach, although at least one part of their work has remained in place – the large unauditioned community choir, SOVocal, created to bring the joy of singing in a choir to anyone who fancies joining it.  The choir rehearses in the south of the city and is a joyful collection of up to about 200 people meeting weekly to sing together.

The husband has sung with them for several years now and his decision to join a choir positively changed the fabric of the family in some ways.  He had never sung really before (hymns in church was the limit), so this was a new experience and a chance to hone a skill. He gained a regular hobby as a focus in his week and he has met new people, making new friends and having fun – all hugely important in life.  And all that before we even get to the health benefits of singing.  It’s a great hobby.

And just before Christmas every year we get to share in it, as the choir joins their parent Symphony Orchestra for a Christmas concert in the city’s Symphony Hall, an immense venue which imposes a real sense of occasion with SOVocal joining two other choirs and the full and very loud orchestra.  It is a family occasion for the McMillans. It’s fun to be going to watch Dad in a performance, after many years of Dad having to watch offspring in various things. We gather the wider family together and last night it was good to see my niece cracking up to Alan Titchmarsh’s Christmas-themed antics.

Every year the concert feels like the proper start to our family Christmas celebrations and one of the best nights of the year.

Always something better to do

I am struggling with making myself write in the mornings.  Yesterday was a good lesson in why I should though.  There is always a list of things I should be doing in the mornings; various parts of my volunteering roles are very much email or computer based, so this precious 15 minutes could definitely be used for the greater good.

This morning is no different.  I need to write a report, it should have been done a few days ago, so I need to crack on. Yesterday I got the laptop out deciding I would check my diary for the week and then do my account reconciliations – also overdue.  I wrote this blog instead.

The result surprised me. It gave me a bit more energy than crossing things off the list would have done.  I had forgotten that this exercise of putting thoughts onto paper first thing seems to straighten out my thinking for the morning and enables me to just get on with things a little bit faster.

I still didn’t get the report written, but I did get lots of other bits and bobs done yesterday, which I suspect I would not have had I not taken this bit of time to do something fun first.  To get my own thoughts sorted and out there before I start writing for everyone else and doing the chores that enable everyone to flourish together.

This is my version of putting on my oxygen mask before helping others.  I still need to plan what I am going to write though, eventually this is going to descend into sheer babbling if I don’t.  Some may say it already has!

white plane on the sky
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