Sunday, 22 September 2013


Yesterday, we raised the goblet of rock as we watched a gang of kids with special needs sing haphazard, glorious versions of Abba’s Mamma Mia, Ho Hey, by The Lumineers, and that well-known rock classic, We’re Going To The Zoo.

I’d had the phone call earlier in the week. Would my girl like to practice a few songs at After-School Club so she could climb aboard the tour bus with the school’s rock choir and perform at the church fete on Saturday? The answer, of course, was “For those about to rock, I salute you, yes please.”

It was their first time ‘on the road’. They had to produce something special to win over the gig crowd - after all, they were on after a troop of small, cute children doing a cheerleading routine to the Thunderbirds theme. 

It took them a while to clamber on to the raised outside stage, which had a high step some of them couldn’t manage on their own. There was a slight delay while the church blokes running the PA had to dash inside and find a tape deck, when it turned out the music was on a cassette and not a CD. A girl in a wheelchair was lifted onto the front of the stage, and sat, flanked by two members of staff, supporting her as she joined in with real gusto. My daughter stood, wrapped up warm in her bright blue winter coat, shyly shaking some maracas. 

They were a bit timid at first. Their animal impressions during the zoo song were slightly half-hearted, and a lack of a working monitor caused a few difficulties when it came to Abba, approached at an ambitious speed.  They couldn’t hear the music too well, so it turned into a round as they got a couple of verses ahead of the backing track, but eventually got far enough in front for the chorus to catch up with them. By this point, they were giving it their all, blissfully unaware of their unorthodox relationship with the tempo. Superblummintroupers, the lot of ‘em.

And then it was time for their crowning moment, as they launched into The Lumineers.  The “HO!”s and  HEY!”s rang out, not necessarily in the right order, even though the teacher was holding up signs to help, but it didn’t matter. The kids, the staff, and the crowd were all grinning. I clapped along, looking at my daughter’s shining face; the line “I belong to you, you belong to me, my sweetheart,” just about sums it all up.

We left as it started to drizzle, carrying the treasure from our pre-gig booty collection mission at the fete’s fundrasing stalls. We passed an enthusiastic Zumba class, whooping it up with a full-on performance of Gangnam Style. A gaggle of giggling Air Cadets had joined in at the back. My daughter stopped for a minute to watch, dreamily hugging a bagful of second-hand books to her chest. And my boy just couldn’t stop beaming, clutching his ‘Test Your Strength’ stall prize -  a slightly lethal-looking plastic bow and arrow.  

It was a bullseye kind of day.

Video is The Lumineers - Ho Hey

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