The Bird and the Child
This was the prizewinning song in Eurovision 1977, played over again and again on all TV channels( and there were only about 3 of those). Suji came running from whichever room she happened to be in, the moment she heard the opening lines. Marie Myriam had become a nationwide phenomenon, feted at every street corner and besieged by eager fans wherever she went.
Suji assiduously practiced her own rendition of the hypnotic melody. Appa and Amma liked her version so much as to test out the new spool recorder by taping her thin little voice singing "Comme un enfant" in a faintly nasal tone, minus all the accompaniments and chorus singers of the original.
She tried out for the school chorus in Mr.C's room. He sat at the piano, asking the auditioning students to sing a few notes for him as he played a few chords. It took him just a few seconds of listening to Suji when he snapped "Alto" at her and waved her to a seat.
What might 'Alto' mean? Suji didn't have a clue, until the first meeting of the newly formed chorus group for the year, which is when she learned that she was in the group that usually sang a counterpoint or supporting vocal while the main melody was carried by the soprano and tenor group. It didn't faze her enthusiasm. She happily attended all the sessions, practising regularly for the musicals that the school would put on- Joseph and the Technicolor Coat, Bugsy Malone and others.
'Down the river, oh down the river(2), we go-o-oh
Down the river, oh down the river, oh down the Ohio'
Marie Myriam is now in her 60's, still singing her famous 'L'Oiseau et L'Enfant'. She still remains the last French winner of the Eurovision contest. Here she is, singing the same song last year.
Mr.C still teaches at the school in Paris and has even kindly corresponded with me by email a few years ago.