NY Humor in a Southern Choir

I didn’t see the punchline coming when John told what happened during choir rehearsal. For your information, John was born in Brooklyn and raised in Queens, so he is New York through and through. The choir is made up of Southerners and Mid-Westerners. When John came home, he told the story over a cup of coffee.

A choir member, knowing singers should be precise, asked about the pronunciation of “the”. Should it be “the” or “thee” in this instance? Grammar-minded people discussed the context and began to explain the reasoning.

John simply said, “In Brooklyn, it would be DA.”

I nearly snorted my coffee through my nose. John was our executive choir director for 25 years, and he would have sung the “the” correctly without thinking twice about it. His comment certainly caught me off-guard.

111418 John.JPG
My comedy hero, photographed for a different reason.  Note: he is also on the monitor slide show.

35 thoughts on “NY Humor in a Southern Choir

  1. Love it! We have these discussions from time to time in my choir in central Illinois — one time the question was whether it should be “thuh angels” or “thee angels,” and I suggested a Midwestern congregation might understand “them angels” better than either one.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Thank you for this story. I keep smiling and really like this guy; John.

    As to your discussion I am used to the ” Thee” in old songs and texts. I do live in England though. 🙂



        1. Accents are fun. I always chatted with the butcher whose shop was a short walk from our house in England. One day when I went in, he was talking with a friend. I listened to both of them and wondered if they were speaking English. I don’t know that it was Cockney, but the accent came from London. It was totally unintelligible to me.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Very funny!! Go John!! My mother in law and hubby are from White Plains and even though they’ve been here in Cali over 50 years, when she gets excited, it’s NY all the way. Russ can’t resist mimicking her. He, of course is accent free. When I was in AL, I had to get used to the drawl, but they all that it was I that had one.


  4. I love this Anne. I think the whole post byoo-dee-full…by the way that’s Philly talk for beautiful. I don’t think I have an accent, but my sister who moved to NC, says we all really do…she notices our Philly-talk that she’s been away for longer than she lived here. Even though we live in South Jersey, we talk like we live in Philadelphia.


  5. HAHAHA – that’s hilarious!
    I always thought it should be “thee” when just before a word that starts with a vowel. No?
    My John *also* sings in a choir, in fact he’s at practice as I write this, they’re doing a cantata on Saturday night at the church. I’ll ask him about ‘the’ and ‘thee’ – if I remember! 😉


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