Tuesday, June 28, 2011

It is in German but we have been told by our lovely singer/translator, Maria that the article says wonderful things about the concert in Gunzburg.

In memory of...

On our tour of Günzburg, we were introduced to an honorary citizen, Janus Korczak. A teacher and head of an orphanage in Warsaw, he chose to remain with his students until their deaths at Treblinka. In 1991, a play to commemorate Korczak was held in Ginsburg and his tie to the community has grown since, to the point of this statue being erected to honor him. Let us remember the past so as not to repeat it.

Submitted by Mark Campbell

Monday, June 27, 2011

The group took a walking tour through Nordlingen, a town built within a meteorite crater. We took the opportunity to sing while stopped in St. George's Church.

We walked across the top of the wall that encircles Nordlingen. Since the town was built inside of a crater, it really was a circle.

The choir was honored to visit Maria's hometown of Unterschneidheim where we greeted by Maria's mother, sister, the town's former mayor and the director of the local choir.

A brave few climbed the steeple of the Munster Cathedral. 768 steps to the top and everyone of us made it back down.

Our day ended at the Zunfthaus by the Danube River. A delectable ending to a wonderful day!

Medieval splendor

Our impromptu performance today took place in St. Michael's Chapel in Hollenzollern Castle. This was a great privilege as the area we were in is usually roped off. They also allowed pictures to be taken, normally 'verboten'. We did well enough to earn an encore request from the listening tourists.

Prior to this performance, we warmed up in the courtyard with 'Shenandoah'. After, a wave of applause flowed over us from the open windows of the main hall above where a tour group had stopped to listen.

PS - While this may be poor practice, text may be posted and photos added later. We are doing our best to synchronize all the parts, but it is a work in progress. For my part, I will add "+" to the title of a post that has had photos added. Thank you for your patience.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The town of Gunzburg was preparing for the festival taking place later that evening. The locals were standing on tables and chairs to set up their tent. Ethan offered his height which required standing only on his own two feet.

The Kammerchor extended such hospitality by providing cakes and coffee. Delicious!

ISing choir member, Connie asked a member of the Kammerchor about the type of music they most often sing and found out that most of their music is serious. ISing performed a wide variety of music that evening. Connie also asked her if they ever use drums in the church, the Kammerchor member’s eyes got big and replied, “No, NEVER!”. A lot of accommodations were made for the first American choir to visit.

Cultural blend +

A special moment was watching the German choir process toward us at the concert in Burgau. The two cultures coming together through the beauty of music.

submitted by Mark Campbell

Choir Etiquette

During the concert in Burgau, a fly began flitting around my head. New to the choir, and knowing the discipline expected by the director, I kept my eyes on Steve. The fly demanded more attention, landing on my nose. I looked at the fly, my eyes crossed, and now there were two Steves conducting. I was unsure of fly protocol – to swat or not. Steve never covered this in his talks: was one required to sing with a fly on the nose? Might I inhale it when I breathe? I waved it away, four times, only to have it land on my music, creating new notes as it crawled around. Finally it left to bother other ISingers.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

To ensure that we haven’t left anyone behind, we count off and everyone has a number. We have now increased our number by one. Meet number 53, aka Herbert. Our bus driver was made an honorary choir member today when he was presented with an ISing polo and officially dubbed, number 53. Welcome Herbert!

This evening we had a wonderful opportunity to sing with the Kammerchor at the Stadtpfarrkirche Maria Himmelfahrt, a cathedral in Burgau. They welcomed us with a reception of cakes and pretzels. Delicious! We tried to not stuff ourselves before the concert.

After the performance, we had dinner with our host choir at the Gasthof. This time we made no such attempts to hold back on stuffing ourselves. The food was wonderful and the company, even better.

The invitation has been extended to Herwig Nerdinger and the Kammerchor to visit ISing in Oregon. This was done primarily through bribery. Steven Galvan brought Pinot Noir from the northwest to share with our hosts.

In Gunzburg, the choir was given a splendid walking tour by Christian, a teacher at the local school and member of the Kammerchor. He showed us the city center where the town was preparing for a festival. He also shared with us the history of the town including the artwork, cathedral, town gate and mix of old and new buildings.

We Sing +

Today we sang our first concert, but not before singing in two other venues. As Steven promised we would, we raised our voices in spaces visually and aurally stunning.

Rehearsal at Kloster Roggensburg

The first was the the church at Kloster Roggensburg. After an 8:30 am rehearsal, we stepped across to the church to experience our sound in a place with 'ring'. Lifting ones voice in such a glorious space was wondrous, as was listening to the reverberations at the end of 'Salmo 150'.

Church at Kloster Roggensburg

(with Sue Brock)

Lower voices belting out 'Ave Maria'

We rode the bus to Günzburg, where we were met by Christian, a member of the Kammerchor with whom we would sing this evening. Christian was our tour guide to the town's interesting sites. At the Frauenkirche, we again sampled the acoustics of this sacred space, to, we can only hope, the pleasure of the other tourists present.

After a quick trip back to our kloster to pick up our concert attire, we traveled to Burgau. We rehearsed in the Stadtpfarrkirche, both alone and with the Kammerchor, then adjourned for a brief social gathering. Here we fueled ourselves from an impressive spread of homemade Bavarian cakes and pastries.

Our evening started with Mass. We were invited to participate, singing for the intro and offering from the first balcony, the Kammerchor providing a piece from the second balcony. After Mass, the audience changed a little, some parishioners leaving and the public arriving. We created a wonderful noise (Steven detected a gasp from the audience when David launched into his drum solo), closing with the two choirs together singing 'O Sacrum Convivium'. We received a standing ovation.

Performance at Burgau

We closed our day with a rousing dinner, accompanied by many members of the Kammerchor. Back to our rooms for well deserved rest by midnight.

Friday, June 24, 2011

What we have learned so far:

Beginning Thursday, we have learned how to travel together. No bags or people left behind so far!

How to eat together. Which often involves find one of the people in the group who speaks enough German to order the sausages and pretzels.

How to see the sights together. There is so much to see with beautiful buildings, statues and countryside all around us.

How to drink beer together. I think we have that one figured out!

New friends

As Yvonne and I were walking through Augsberg talking in English, a small girl looked up at me and said defiantly, in German, “I don't understand anything you are saying.” I knelt down and replied in broken German, “I'm sorry we're talking in English.” Her mother said something to her and the girl said in English, “My name is Katarina.” I said my name is Alicia and she ran into my arms and gave me a kiss. Katarina continued to show off her English by saying, very well, “Do you know the muffin man.” We made new friends today.

First day

ISing Community Choir has safely arrived in Germany. Most of arrived together at Munich airport and 7:30 am. We found our bus and, after some searching and waiting, we gathered in those members who traveled here on their own and were on our way by 9:30.

We drove through the bucolic Bavarian countryside, gently rolling hills covered by fields of corn and wheat and small wood lots, to the city of Augsberg. Here we had several hours to explore the old town and eat our first German food (and drink some 'breakfast' beer).

The main point was to stay awake all day to better synchronize our internal clocks to the local time. This was hard when we returned to the warm bus, well fed and exercised, for the last leg to Roggenburg.

We are staying at the Kloster Roggensburg, a compound on the edge of town. We are housed in a fairly modern dormatory. The rooms are simple, but the common areas are open, light, and airy, and we are comfortable. They even provided a room for rehearsal and a lounge with refrigerator well stocked with local beer and wine. Ah, the comforts of traveling.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Auf Wiedersehen

As we bid a fond farewell to our supporters in Beaverton, we continued the ISing tradition of singing for a cause. We took up a collection (of over $800) at the June 19th concert that will be added to more money collected while in Germany as we sing with the choir in Burgau. All to for a local, German charity that benefits the underserved in their community. 

Thank you for your kind support. Auf Wiedersehen!
ISing Dress Rehearsal

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Dress Rehearsal

ISing will be performing a free concert on Father's Day, June 19th, as a thank you to our supporters and final dress rehearsal for our concerts in Germany. Please join us at 6 pm at Bethel Congregational United Church of Christ, 5150 SW Watson in Beaverton.