Jenny Lawson decided earlier this year that it was time to take her final bow and enjoy a well-deserved rest from the trials and tribulations of being the chorus director of Surrey Harmony. Not wishing to hog the limelight, she said she wanted to spend her final evening as Director, as if it was a normal Wednesday rehearsal. NOT A CHANCE!! Having been at the helm for 23 years and steered us through success after success, a normal Wednesday rehearsal was definitely not on the agenda!
A host of chorus members arrived at 7.15pm with a mission to turn our somewhat plain hall into a festive venue, and by 7.45pm it had indeed been transformed with brightly covered noticeboards, bunting a-plenty, photographs, news items and competition reviews. Trestles now had the appearance of banqueting tables and were groaning under the weight of a fabulous buffet (and there were also mouthwatering desserts waiting in the kitchen!).
Many past members of the chorus and FiSH (Friends of Surrey Harmony) members had also come to join in with the festivities, and while we were all awaiting Jenny’s arrival we just had time for a quick rehearsal of a secretly learned song. On her arrival, and after she had picked her jaw up from the ground, she was seated in place of honour (chair with a cushion – lol!) facing her chorus and the entertainment began.
It was an evening of fun, singing and heart-felt tributes which were echoed by us all. Jenny was presented with lifetime membership of the chorus, a photo collage of some of her finest moments, an amazing book with photos of individual chorus members and their personal tributes and loads of wonderful pictures of the chorus over the last 23 years, plus a silver bracelet inscribed with “Thank you for the Music” on the outside and “with love from Surrey Harmony” on the inside – and still she hadn’t cried!! It was time for the finale – and we sang our secret song which summed up all that she meant to us “Thank You for the Music” and at last the tears rolled down her cheek (we’d have failed in our duty if she’d gone home dry eyed!) and there were many wet cheeks on the risers too. Each of us had brought a flower(s) which made her the most enormous multi-coloured bouquet–in–a-bucket. We certainly hope that after a suitable period of rest and repose Jenny will join us on the risers as a chorus member – and then she’ll have to learn the choreo!