St Aubyn Arms, Praze-an-Beeble with the St Aubyn Singers Thursday 23rd Aug 12
I’d spoken to John Barraclough after he’d heard me talk on the radio about the project (thanks Donna Birrell!) and he’d invited us down to The St Aubyn Arms where singers have been singing for the last 30 years or so – or as they put it ‘there’s always been singing in the St Aubyn’ Their information puts it well:
As with many informal singing groups in Cornwall two things are linked – a choir and a pub. For years members of Praze Male Choir sang informally in the St Aubyn Arms in the village after choir practice and in June 2005 at one of those post-practice sessions, the St Aubyn Singers were born’
We met John on the door step of the pub and were quickly introduced to Frank and Tony. Not long after the others arrived and the singing began. Apart from us there was one other man in our side of the pub and a couple in the other. Yet this was unimportant to the singers – they sang for themselves; for the tradition of singing; for whoever cared to listen and Sally and I were treated to something very special. There was such an array of songs; extra local verses to Camborne Hill, lovely solos from Geoff on Lily Of The Valley and Fields of Athenry; old hymns mingling with Elvis and Everly brother’s songs and ones written by members of the group themselves such as A Yorkshireman in Cornwall and Tom Trevaskis. They also sang quite a few Harry Safari songs and I discovered that he was born and raised in Praze so that seemed fitting!
In between the singing we heard many a fine story and tale especially from the group’s raconteur; Tony. But the main feeling I came away with was their deep love of singing. Tony in particular just sang one song after another and it reminded me of the way my father would sing and sing given the chance! Anything and everything would come tumbling out ; old Sunday school songs, victorian music hall ballads; wartime classics and folk songs from around the world. And that’s how I learned my love of singing.
We sing and the world’s cares go away, we sing and we can give voice to those feelings; we sing and connect ourselves to our past.