C is for Chorus and Chorale

Here is a report of a very recent chat between me and Child 3 who, now eleven, has recently started Middle School.

Me: “So, did you have choir today?”

3: “Mom. It’s called chorus.”

Me: “Oh, yeah. I knew that. Sorry. It’s a British thing.”

3; “It’s fine. I understand. And I know what you mean. Just don’t say it in front of anyone else or they’ll think you’re weird.”

Actually, that’s probably funny enough in itself, but it gets worse. Child 3 has also auditioned and got a spot on the school’s vocal ensemble and when I was telling Child 1 about this in the car on the way home from wherever, we had a conversation that went like this:

1: “Oh, yeah. They have that in High School too, except it’s called ‘corral’.

Me: “Corral?”

1: “Yup.”

Me: “Seriously?” (sniggers a tad)

1: “What’s funny about that?”

Me: “Well isn’t that something you do with horses?”

1: (witheringly) “It’s spelled C-H-O-R-A-L-E”

Me: “Really? I’m looking that up when we get home.”

It turns out that he is correct of course. Which means that Child 3 has opened the door to another world of linguistic intrigue and surprise for me. Chorale? Pronounced like corral or core-Al. Who knew?

But the best part of this debacle was (for me anyway) yet to come. Googling around for a picture of some choir (chorus or chorale or who cares what you call them) to illustrate this post, I came across this:


These are the Sutherland Sisters! I love them! I had already come across the sisters and their six feet or so of hair each, somewhere or other on the web, but I didn’t realize that they were first famous as a singing group!  Even better, by 1884, these seven sisters from Niagara County, NY, were part of Barnum & Bailey’ Greatest Show on Earth. Yes!! Because not only do I have a thing about writing about Barnum, I also have an interest in writing about sisters. And now here they are helping me out with my other little hobby of linguistic difficulties.

Such a happy day 🙂


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