Thursday, June 12, 2008
All Day Rehearsal?
This started out as what I thought was going to be the longest day in history. Patience truly is a virtue and one that not many college students are blessed with, and having to sit in rehearsal for three and half hours can be hard on one... but surprisingly enough, I think we all fared pretty well.
The bus left the hotel at 8:45 and we drove to rehearsal. We arrived at the hall and after crawling over instruments, made it to our seats where we settled in. The conductors got started right away as we had some ground to cover so we were kept in a constant thought process. Singing foreign languages requires a lot of brain power, but German even more so. "De" is "duh"? And then you have all the umlauts and things that look like crazy eights but mean "ss." Not only do I now feel so much more comfortable with my German singing, but I actually feel like I understood what we were singing by the end of the day. Thank you again Dr. Hart for making me write the translation in my score. It really did help.
Our break in between rehearsals came and we wondered what to do with ourselves for the couple hours we had. The group I was with decided on food and a tour of the Assumption Cathedral. We crossed the main square and headed for the church. Upon reaching it, we were in awe. You just don't see churches like this in Billings, Montana, or in Montana, for that matter... The Assumption Cathedral (which wasn't as old as I thought it was) is the city's main landmark. It was built at the end of the 19th century, of cut stones from ruined fortress walls. Because insufficient funds for its construction were gathered from donations, the municipality held a lottery, thus raising a further 300,000 leva from its citizens. The iconostasis was made by Ivan Filipov, a master craftsman from Debur, and most of the icons were presented as a gift from Russian Tzar Nicholas II, in 1901. The day of the Virgin Mary's assumption into heaven, 15 August, is still the official holiday of the city of Varna. The inside was remarkable. The icons were beautiful, the stained glass stories remarkable, the wooden pulpit and chairs where the royal family sat were intricately carved, and all together created a beautiful cathedral. It gave one goosebumps the moment you walked in the doors once you got past all the tourist information and stands.
Next item on the menu was lunch... ha ha... Our little group wandered back to the main square where we stopped at a cafe called Happy's. I would compare it to an Applebees or something along those lines. It served authentic Bulgarian meals but it also served some American cuisine as well as Fabiano's Brazilian Bread... boy, was he happy. After we ordered our food and our wine, we all began to sit back and relax. We came to realize just how blessed we were to be here sharing good food, good memories, and good times. These people in our choir have become so close to me and I realized just how much closer I had gotten to some people and how much I had learned about others. That realization made me happy and proceeded to carry on for the rest of the day.
We stayed at Happy's for the remainder of our break as it began to rain and we didn't really feel like touring in a downpour. As more of our group kept showing up to get out of the rain, the more we ordered... food, dessert, milkshakes and so on. It was all so good though. The walk back to rehearsal was a quick one though as we all didn't want to get too wet. At least it was still warm out. Humidity is good for something.
The rest of rehearsal went really well. It began to sink in toward the end that tomorrow we would be standing in front of an audience and performing this piece. I only hope that we succeeded in getting the emotion across as Brahm's would have wanted. That's what music is about, after all. We must tell a story or share a memory with others and the expression comes through the tempo, the facial expressions, the dynamics, and so much more. It truly is a work of art and its amazing what we all together can create when we work and sing as one. It's like we all have the same thought and we have to tell it or else we just might explode.... well maybe not quite like that, but you get the idea. Trying to fall asleep was hard. I was just too excited! Tomorrow I actually get to sing the Brahm's Requiem in its entirety! How many people get that chance? Not many, so I just wish to express a huge thank you to all who helped our choir get here. Its a memory I will never forget and an experience I might never get again. Thank you so much.