It’s awful being an alto when you’re singing in the choir,
Sopranos get the twiddly bits that people all admire,
The basses boom like big trombones, the tenors shout with glee,
The alto part is on two notes, or if you’re lucky, three.
And when we sing an anthem and lift our hearts in praises,
The men get all the juicy bits and telling little phrases.
Of course, the trebles sing the tune – they always come off best –
While altos only get three notes and twenty-two bars rest.
It doesn’t matter what we sing, from hymnbooks or from psalter,
The choirmaster looks at us – our voices start to falter;
Too high! Too low! Too fast! Too slow! You hold that note too long!
It doesn’t matter what we do, it’s certain to be wrong
Oh! shed a tear for altos: they’re the Martyrs and they know
In ranks of choral singers they’re considered very low.
They are so very humble that a lot of folk forget ’em:
They’d love to be sopranos, but their vocal chords won’t let ’em.
And when the final trumpet sounds and we are wafted higher,
Sopranos, tenors, basses, all will form the heavenly choir.
When they sing Alleluias to celestial flats and sharps,
We altos in the corner will be polishing our harps.
Signed – ‘Bob the Organist’, but never published.