Why I'm meeting a seasonal need

Christmas is even busier for church organists than for GPs. Actually, organ playing is an allegory of general practice.

You need both hands and feet to do it properly so you use your nose or your teeth to turn pages or just wing it; sometimes you need to pull out another stop to up the volume and power, but if you don’t do it slickly enough the organ produces a horrific farting noise and the congregation all swivel their heads, develop acute vertebro-basilar syndrome and blame you… oh, and of course every so often the power cuts out so you have to change a fuse.

The parallels are obvious, but here is another.

Services once viewed as luxuries rapidly become necessities once offered, even for organists.

A few years ago I persuaded a few crazy souls to sing the Hallelujah Chorus at our church carol service. The resulting cacophony had the congregation laughing in the aisles and saw several people use their ventolin for the first time in decades. Nevertheless we enjoyed ourselves so much that the next year we added another carol and had a few mulled-wine-soaked rehearsals. The year after that we did three songs and took the mulled wine into church.

This year it wasn’t yet October when emails came from across the county: ‘Can we join the Great Wratting choir?’

Now we hadn’t realised we were a choir. Certainly nobody listening to us had any conception that we even aspired to be a choir, but we are obviously fulfilling a need, so rehearsals begin (and end) next week.

Like GPs who set up a service out of the generosity of their hearts and then find they absolutely cannot take it away, we have become a part of the routine, another bit of Christmas.

So if you’re in the area on the Friday before Christmas, bring your ventolin and your voice box. Just don’t expect to get out of it next year.

- Dr Selby is a GP in Suffolk.

You can write to her at GPcolumnists@haymarket.com

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