Singing while you wash

What and when have you been singing recently?  Without MWC rehearsals, most of my music making has been to accompany the ritual anti-Covid 19 hand-wash several times each day – singing the recommended Happy Birthday to you, twice through, not forgetting to add on the three cheers, all of which can indeed be made to last the requisite twenty seconds.

That’s not a very edifying piece to sing so frequently, and I must confess that I soon tired of it.  But what would be a suitable substitute?  Well, there is a section of my favourite oratorio, Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontuis, where Gerontius sings the Creed,  which is decidedly more interesting and powerful, and the first phrase lasts just about twenty seconds.  It worked well to start with.  But, whatever the singer thinks, others in the house indicated that, sung so often, this piece could also become tiresome – and I would not want to give Elgar’s work that reputation.

So what else might there be?  An obvious choice is the choral theme from the last movement of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony.  That lasts just over twenty seconds and went down well with the enforced listeners.  It even works well without the words, just sung to “lah”.

But even that could pall.  The next thought was the gorgeous cor anglais melody from the second movement of Dvorak’s New World Symphony, written while he was living in the USA.   Some commentators believe that the melody reflected Dvorak’s longing for his home country, Czechoslovakia; one even creating some matching lines starting “Going home”.  That was a prompt for some revised lyrics reflecting our current situation.
Staying home, staying home,
Now we’re staying home.
Staying home, staying home,
Not allowed to roam.
Go out for necessities, scripts and groceries.
Otherwise, stay inside, be content to hide
Staying home, staying home,
Now we’re staying home.
Staying home, staying home.
Not allowed to roam.

After a few weeks of distancing and isolation, I found that I was getting not a little frustrated.  A new song was needed for hand-washing to give vent to that frustration.  What transpired is a reworking of O sole mio, with apologies to its Neapolitan composer and to Elvis Presley.
It’s now or never!  For we must fight
Coronovirus with all our might!
We’ll distance and wash as well,
This pesky virus can go to……..
And even with the final word omitted, it still lasts for twenty seconds!

Ah well.  The restrictions are gradually being lifted.  Maybe one day it will be appropriate to sing Dvorak again, but with different words:
Going out, going out……….

Roll on the day!