Cousin George could sing all the verses of the Lambton Worm plus many other Geordie songs.
Before TV, or even Radio for that matter, most families had to entertain themselves and in my family everything revolved around music.
Each member of the family had their own particular talent: piano, violin, cello, wind instrument or singing. Most were quite talented and this was nurtured and improved, especially for the male members, by their enlisting in the army and joining the regimental bands. They in turn helped their children learn and make music.
Parties were the events when everyone was asked to “perform”. Father and a cousin sang a duet (tenor and soprano) “The Spider and the Fly”, cousin George could sing all the verses of the Lambton Worm plus many other Geordie songs. Grandfather, an accomplished organist and pianist, would play for the singers and then in turn play a piano piece. In the 1920s, he was conductor for St. Mary’s Church (Gateshead) choir and also the Newcastle Post Office Male Voice Choir – I still have his baton. An aunt who lived in Byker, had a beautiful contralto voice and was a member of a local Pierrot show. She incidentally worked for the Maling factory.
Not many of us left actually play an instrument now, although my sister is keeping up the tradition. She was a member of the Whitley Bay Girls’ Choir and now sings with the local Amateur Operatic Societies and local Lansdowne Singers.