A eulogy for a concert skirt

SkirtThe results are in, and skirts are out. In a vote with considerably wider margins than anything to do with British politics, trousers have triumphed and #Skexit is happening (thanks chorus management for the pun).

And while the ladies of the chorus have spoken, let us take a moment to admire the finer qualities of this redoubtable garment as we consign it to the uniform scrap heap.

Surely its finest point is its near indestructibility. Made of nothing natural whatsoever, you could spill almost anything on this skirt and it would run off. There was absolutely no need to fold it; crumple this beauty at the bottom of your bag and it would emerge looking exactly as before, pleats in place. I stand proud as one of the few people who actually managed to destroy my concert skirt beyond wearing, achieved by the injudicious application of a tumble dryer. It turns out that the only way to make these skirts look worse is to accidentally remove the pleats…

If showing a bit of ankle is something you despise, then never fear, our concert skirt provided coverage from waist to floor. Or in some more petite ladies’ cases, from armpit to floor, the skirt being worn more in the style of a strapless dress in order to be able to walk. We will no longer be able to have merry laughs with our fellow choristers as we stand on each others’ skirts while trying to get on stage, nor will we inadvertently panic as we try not to stand on our own skirts while rising during a piece.

No more will we hear the changing room cries of “I found it!”, as another lady located the elusive skirt pocket, highly prized for keeping tissues and lozenges safe during a performance.

And no more will the skirt’s capacious depths hide a multitude of pre-concert dinner sins, or in some cases, a nearly full term pregnancy.

Instead, we move to the simple tailored trouser. Where we may all have pockets and can endeavour to wear something not made of a material seemingly designed to consign us to the fiery pits of hell after 20 minutes of singing.

But what will the committee talk about now I hear you cry? For surely it is the law that all choirs must complain about their concert dress. Never fear, I say. For some foolish young whippersnapper will fail to understand the meaning behind ‘tailored trouser’ and present themselves in a skinny jean (although we have been warned that if this does happen you will face the wrath of chorus management). And from past experience, there is plenty of room for a discussion about whether a garment is the right shade of black…

Our next concerts are Ravel and Boulanger on 14 August (Symphony Hall) and Boulanger on 15 August (BBC Proms). Come and check out our new outfits!


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