Sunday, June 17, 2012

Why not go to Europe and sing?

Just got back from a whirlwind tour of central Europe, as part of one awesome choir. Salzburg, Vienna, Budapest, and Prague. All amazing cities. How did this happen? Well, as it turns out, I was courted by a local guy on Growlr (look it up, kids) with whom I shared a big love of choral music. He happened to sing in this group that was going to Europe in June. Trouble was, not everyone could go, so they were recruiting from the outside. Thus concluded, for all intents and purposes, the extent of my arm-twisting.

Random thoughts...

  • Jet lag. Not so bad going over there. Particularly considering I got maybe 20 minutes full sleep on the way over...and that was with the benefit of 3 mg melatonin. It's this coming back thing that has me off. It's not quite 7, the sun is still brilliant, and I'm SOOO logy.
  • FRA. Ugly-ass airport. Industrial (not in a good way), and too much of it under construction to even come close to being attractive. Germany, you're too good for this. You got some shit to do. This is your #1 hub airport. Make it look and act like one. Some streamlining would be good, too. No need to walk a mile from a gate to customs along darkened corridors...only to do the same to reach your next gate. I will give props for the cots seen (and being used) in one area, though. Other airports would be wise to consider the same.
  • Fish pedicures. Seriously. Our last day in Prague, during our last hours of free time, some fellow choir girls decided to do this. I have no idea what they were thinking, yet at the same time, it sounds rather compelling. It sounded especially so at the end of the trip. I mean, soaking your poor, aching, blistery feet in cool water while fish lightly nibble at the dead skin on your...oh...sorry. Too gross? Yeah, I kinda thought so too. And I still have the blistery, overgrown-callused feet to prove it.
  • "Hey gurl haaay!" This was Mr. Man's influence. This is what the cool gay boys are saying nowadays. And by boys, I mean I think it originated with bears, of all groups. But now it's being spread. By the end of our tour, we had everyone greeting each other this way. It replaced "cheese!" in pictures. Even the tour director was saying this on the bus. And its shelf life expires in 3..2..1...
  • Churches. Oh, God, a shit-load of 'em. Each of them more astounding than the rest. I mean, there's only so many times you can walk into a huge ass cathedral and gape up at the stunning stained glass, painting, sculpture, and iconography before it becomes a blur. So what do you do? You sing in them to commemorate them, right? So...
  • St. Vitus Cathedral. Yeah. That huge one in Prague Castle, overlooking the city. I can now say that I've sung in St. Vitus. Not like it was something I even considered before, but we had a quick impromptu performance there. Our tour guide took aside a docent, got her to pull some strings and tell the organ player to knock it off for like five minutes (he didn't), and we jumped right in. (About halfway through, the organ player realized that some choir was singing, so he stopped, just in time for the most dramatic part.)
  • Other choral music. Yeah, I'm into the really serious shit, if you followed that last link through and listened all the way to the end. (If not, do it. No, really.) For me, music like that is just sublime, heavenly. Aside from Gustav Holst's Nunc dimittis, the pieces that just killed me were the seminal Ave verum corpus by William Byrd and Our Father by Alexander Gretchaninoff. (That last link is the group I sang with...on their last European tour 5 years ago!)
More later...this poor boy's gotta unpack and get to bed. The sun's setting, it's 4 in the morning in Prague, and I'm fading fast.

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