Saturday 10th September 2011, was the day of the inaugural rehearsal of The Caroline Sharpe Singers, a landmark event when the group of enthusiastic individuals assembled at Trinity Methodist Church. For the record, the group consisted of me, Ruth, Anna-Ruth, Diane, Jean, Vicky, Chris, Shirley and Jeff Buckley.
In those early days it was pretty much me and Jeff as the 'men' in Caroline Sharpe Singers and thank heavens for Jeff as I think I might well have sunk without trace. At that time I was very much finding my feet singing-wise and Jeff was a great source of support to a nervous little me. Clearly an accomplished singer, Jeff could hit any note with aplomb and always got me back on track when I got hopelessly lost or sang an octave to high. And we had such a laugh too! Jeff helped keep the 'fun' in rehearsals which, as I've always said, is what singing should be all about.
A few years later he joined me in the Loughborough Male Voice choir. I had been twisting his arm for a while, but he had so many other commitments at the time that he couldn't initially, but he did succumb eventually. I knew he would add that extra bit of class to the baritone section of LMVC and he did. Just the same class that he added to Ruth and Caroline's Christmas Panto, 'What Can the Matter Be?' back in 2002, at Trinity Methodist Church, dressed as Little Bo Peep. Alas, that was shortly before I met Ruth so I've only seen the video, but it's definitely worth a re-run, for Jeff's legendary performance alone!
It's not often in life that one gets to meet such a warm, gentle, friendly, funny and easy to get on with bloke as Jeff Buckley. It's desperately hard to grasp that he's not going to be there any more to keep that bass section in check each Saturday morning.
We're all missing you Jeff, but wherever you are mate, keep singing!