Not too many of them going on at the moment – so here are some features and characters we will all recognise from great sing-songs past.
- The one who forgets the words. People don’t get up to sing if they don’t know the first verse or chorus. But not knowing the second or third verse rarely stops them. And no matter how many times people say “we’ll help you out”, and no matter how good their intentions, they have often had a few drinks and you CAN’T rely on them to know the words. You need to know them yourself, or have the lyrics handy.
- The person who has never sung before. The sing-song has a special place for them. Extra encouragement on the way up, extra applause on the way down, no matter how the performance goes.
- The shushers – there are always a few. Usually have the best interests of the sing-song at heart but can be annoying to others who just want to chat.
- The surprise element. There’s always someone who you wouldn’t expect to be a singer but gets up and blows you away. The person who has a very different on-stage and off-stage personality. Always a great feature and a reason in itself to start the sing-song.
- The pro. In a room of amateurs they’re not always the biggest hit at the sing-song. If they are to take part, song choice and reading the mood of the room is crucial.
- The comedy song. Always a winner if delivered well.
- The song everyone knows. Also always a winner, and doesn’t even have to be delivered well – at a sing song people generally either want to be entertained or to sing along.
- The song about someone in the room. Often contains new lyrics to an existing tune. Generally a hit too.
- The new take. Sometimes not intended to be a new take, but a new interpretation of a song for any reason is a great addition to the sing-song.
- The musician. It adds so much if you have a musician or two at the sing-song who can pick out keys and accompany singers at the drop of a hat. It makes everyone sound better.
- Sing-songs can happen anywhere, with any amount of people, but they should make people smile. At least some of the time.
12. Finally, at the sing-song, musicality doesn’t always matter. Knowing the words and delivering them with confidence, passion and in a clear manner goes a long way.