I want to tell you a story. It’s a true tale, with plenty of vivid excitement along the way – I’m not joking, I’m serious. So don’t laugh!
It was in 1937, a gentle time with the wizards of dance and music and the popping of champagne corks – well, for some anyway. Everyone was enjoying themselves and people just glanced at a war that was never going to happen to them. Hitler was churning up discord in a foreign land and that was that. Good for him.
Now in this realm of peace and quiet, a boy of thirteen stood in front of a crowd that was polite and it could be said, expectant. He stood there, straight backed and proud, his vocal glory about to dismiss any snorts of insult and wanton despair – he was the Silver Songster, a master of contralto genius.
The music played, it’s bounced around the pillars of acting deliverance looking for somewhere to hide, somewhere to hang its head in shame. The boy reached into a place that only God knew, and let the sound that made angels chuckle and seraphim’s reach for mercy at God’s right hand. It was shameless, it was beautiful. It made the crowd stand still and wish they could stay here forever.
The young lad finished Bishop’s ‘Lo! Hear the gentle lark’ and remained still. There was a silence and suddenly the theatre exploded in clapping and “Bravoing!” Britain’s Greatest Boy Soprano had done it again, he had silenced the audience with a voice that could not be stopped. It was wonderful. It was bold and the whispers from other times screamed out of the shadows.
He raised his small arms in supplication and gratitude to the audience who loved him so much. His smallness suddenly grew to a mighty force, a singing charisma. He had won.
The Welsh Boy who was billed at the London Palladium as ‘Britain’s Greatest Boy Soprano’, is alive and well today. Living in his own home, he still remembers the fame of his early days.
My father-in-law is active and still had has a rare comment to make, all unknown to the younger generation. Sometimes the things we have experienced are realised just by ourselves, perhaps that’s the way it should be.
Memories get more sensitive or a trifle sterner and as we grow older, a bad or a good thing? No one yet has been able to answer this.