with Horse and Hound

Does Your Hunt Have a Song?

belvedere_houndsBelvedere Hounds drawn by D.T. CarlisleContinuing with our musical theme—songs of foxhunting—does your hunt have a song? Mine does. Yours could, too.

Somewhere around fifty years ago, the late Alexander Mackay-Smith, MFH found himself confined to the hospital with a broken leg from a hunting accident. With time on his hands, he set about composing a hunting song for his hunt. He took the music and theme of a popular hunting song, “Reynard the Fox,” and rewrote the lyrics using well-known places, features, and people from the Blue Ridge Hunt.

Plagiarism? Of course not! Virtually all the traditional hunting songs we know are retreads of even more ancient English and Irish nursery songs or folk tunes with hunting lyrics set to them.

If you have a poet in your hunt, give him or her our new CD, Songs of Foxhunting, and download the hunting songs—music and lyrics—from the website. Ask your lyricist to choose one of the tunes and rewrite the lyrics to memorialize a great hunt, to honor a special member, or to sing the praises of a revered Master.

So, what will I do with the Blue Ridge Hunt song? I will try to find a hunt member with church choir experience who will collect a few of us and mold us into an ensemble qualified to sing the song at our Hunt Ball or some other hunt function. We could even give the sheet music to the band leader and have an instrumental accompaniment. Heck, we could even record it!

Oh, yes. I’m sure that some of the members I approach will just roll their eyes and smile indulgently, and, yes, I know I’m going out on a limb. However, nothing venture, nothing gained. As my good friend, Caroline Treviranus Leake (Alexander Mackay-Smith’s stepdaughter), reminded me recently, “Singing is a happy time.”

I’ll report back as to my progress. Let us know if your hunt has a song. We invite you to submit it to us for posting. If you record it, we’ll make that available on FHL, too!
February 9, 2011