Monday, September 21, 2009

The ChesterTones get serious

From Bob:

I'm starting to work on forming a barbershop quartet for the next conference. Dale seemed genuinely pleased that we might form a quartet and perform. I sing bass, and Don B. and Mark C. sing lead and baritone, respectively. We need a tenor. We plan to learn a couple of standard barbershop songs and then try to have something Chestertonian put to music in the barbershop style. (The woman I take voice lessons from has joined the Chillicothe Chesterton Society and she has offered to create the music if I find the right words).

So I have a request. Can you put something on the blog asking if there is someone who would like to sing tenor (we'll learn the parts on our own and then practice together at the conference before the banquet) and if so, please contact me?

Also, can someone suggest one of Chesterton's short poems that might be humorous that we can put to music?


If interested, write to me and I'll put you in touch with Bob.
UPDATE: A tenor has already come forward!
BUT--we still need ideas about what Chesterton work might work well with a barbershop quartet of singers. Any ideas?


  1. The Song of Right and Wrong

    Feast on wine or fast on water
    And your honour shall stand sure,
    God Almighty's son and daughter
    He the valiant, she the pure;
    If an angel out of heaven
    Brings you other things to drink,
    Thank him for his kind attentions,
    Go and pour them down the sink.

    Tea is like the East he grows in,
    A great yellow Mandarin
    With urbanity of manner
    And unconsciousness of sin;
    All the women, like a harem,
    At his pig-tail troop along;
    And, like all the East he grows in,
    He is Poison when he's strong.

    Tea, although an Oriental,
    Is a gentleman at least;
    Cocoa is a cad and coward,
    Cocoa is a vulgar beast,
    Cocoa is a dull, disloyal,
    Lying, crawling cad and clown,
    And may very well be grateful
    To the fool that takes him down.

    As for all the windy waters,
    They were rained like tempests down
    When good drink had been dishonoured
    By the tipplers of the town;
    When red wine had brought red ruin
    And the death-dance of our times,
    Heaven sent us Soda Water
    As a torment for our crimes.
    - G.K. Chesterton

  2. That one goes to "Ode to Joy" and "The Marines Hymn" (Halls of Montezuma) - indeed anything with the 87878787 syllable pattern.

    That one is from The Flying Inn and other good "rollicking" poems - there ought to be something singable there, like the "Logical Vegetarian" one.

    In my lunacy I had to write a variant with "Chestertonian" substituted - here is the link: The Logical Chestertonian. I have a tune worked out, but cannot arrange a way to post a MIDI format file... probably have to reduce it to WAV, or equivalent. I will discuss that with Nancy.

    I am glad to hear of this effort, and look forward to hearing some of the results eventually!


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