12. Apr, 2020

Mal Foster - Life Stories No.9

Mario Lanza - Younger Than Springtime

As my relationship with Amanda blossomed, I found myself coming out of my shell. I somehow got involved in amateur dramatics. Whether it was to impress Amanda, who was already a member of CAMUS, the Camberley Amateur Musical Society along with others from her family, or just to prove something to myself, I'm still not sure. I joined to be part of the chorus for their next show, South Pacific, the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic but things didn’t quite go to plan. They were looking for someone to fill the lead role of Lt. Joseph Cable U.S.M.C. and apparently, I fitted the bill. I was in... Just one problem, I couldn’t sing! The show was performed at the Civic Hall in Camberley for a whole week in May 1983, including a Saturday afternoon matinee. I always remember the look of shock/horror on my mum's face when she came to see the show on the Tuesday evening, with her friend, Mrs Weller. When I gave them their tickets, I didn't tell them I would be appearing!

Thanks to the musical director Janis Ian and a couple of others, I was put through my paces, using my diaphragm as a voice control valve and being trained to some extent, operatically. Out of three songs, one I had to perform whilst in a love scene with a character called Liat was the classic, ‘Younger than Springtime.’

A recording of me warbling away does exist but to my knowledge, has never been digitalised.  I was told by a couple of my fellow cast members that my version was close to that of Mario Lanza’s, so I’ll take that! … but don’t worry, my operatic appearances these days, are limited to the bathroom! 

You can hear Mario Lanza’s version on YOUTUBE