The road will be muddy and rough

We sang from the upper-floor, most of us sitting down, so for once the finale was literally true, as we stood up to declaim: ‘We’re not gonna sit in silence!’

Saturday 21st April was a hot day and I felt torn between going out for a walk in some shaded spot like Styal or singing in the choir’s latest gig. As it happens the event was all about our access to the lovely open spaces we still enjoy in Britain. It was the annual commemoration of the mass Kinder Trespass of 1932 organised by the Greater Manchester and High Peak Ramblers and the Kinder Advisory Committee.

Our set was hand-picked by our choir director Liz to reflect the themes of the event – being in the countryside, equality and standing up for our rights. So we sang: Saltwater – ‘when I hear of how the forests have died, saltwater wells in my eyes’; Siyahamba – ‘We are marching to where freedom begins’; Unison in Harmony – ‘Over hills and over valleys Over mountains, over seas, Nation shall sing unto nation, Until nations cease to be’; Woyaya – ‘It will be hard, we know, and the road will be muddy and rough, But we’ll get there’; E Malama – ‘Earth and sky, sea and stone, Hold this land in sacredness’; You’re the Voice – ‘This time, we know we all can stand together, With the power to be powerful, Believing we can make it better’; and finally, the foot stomping equality song John Ball.

After our set we were able to listen to some excellent poetry and prose in support of access to the countryside. What stood out for me from all of the afternoon’s performances was the passion shown by all. This was reflected in the final event – all present singing the Manchester Rambler under the direction of the local folk singer Jack Parker. The chorus of this song, written by Ewan McColl, includes the famous words ‘I may be a wage slave on Monday, But I am a free man on Sunday’.

Blog by William West.  Photo by Craig Baillie.  More pics and a snatch of video at Flickr.

About Manchester Community Choir

Manchester Community Choir exists to bring together and to encourage people from all sections of the community to sing together and share the joy of song.
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