Sunday, June 29, 2014

Adventures and Personal Stories of ISingers

Kirk & Dana spent Wednesday in Chartres (pronounced Shart), walking slowly, eating pizza, buying fruit, and drinking wine. Then there was more slow walking. And a nap.

Story from Mark
I went to the FNAC store to buy an adapter. After a nice young female clerk helped me find it, I went to pay at the register. I was carrying my money in my belly pouch -fear of pick pockets- I pulled out my cash and had an idea. I would use my credit card and save my cash. I put the money back, zipped it up and reached for my card. Oh crap, I didn't have my card. I went to get my cash out again and couldn't find it. I looked on the floor and it wasn't there. I then realized that it was inside my underpants. I panicked and stepped out of line. I went to the nearest corner and shoved my hand down into my pants. I was in the store with my hand down my pants. I found my money in the bottom of my shorts - paid for the adapter and embarrassed left the store.

From Kerra
Tuesday in Chartres - Kerra & Yvonne walked the steps to the top of the cathedral bell tower. They walked 30-40 mintues to see the Picasette house, which is closed on Tuesdays :( It was a nice day and the streets were relatively empty. On the way back they had a mixture of beer, lemonade & grenadine. Kerra said she liked it, Yvonne said she couldn't taste the beer, but it was ok.
Wednesay in Paris - Kerra did a sewer tour and bought a stuffed rat. She ate in a fantastic Argentine steak house and saw an amazing ballet performance @ The Operal Garnier. Charlotte & Kerra met @ the train station at 11pm for a 2 hour trip back to Chartres (and had to switch to a bus on the way back due to track construction).
*Also Kerra loves Kir.

From Chamonix we took the train up Mont Blanc. Once at the top we hiked down to the glacier, Mer de Glace, and were able to have a small group (Andrea, James, Lauren, Rebecca B, Ona, Amanda, Raina, Bryan, Susan & Yvonne) sing Shenandoah while inside the glacier. The acoustics were incredible! On our way back from the glacier, we were sucking wind because the incline was so steep. We passed another group going up and struggling the same as us. The man jokingly offered me a cigarette to help.               -Andrea Wood

Last Supper:
Our German speaking driver knows the words "Long, long cheese" in English.

From Rebecca B.
While walking through the tunnels of the Paris catacombs, I found myself at quiet peace within the massive tombs. The reality struck me- six million nameless souls and all around the silence of a reverent control. As my journey came to closing after bones and skulls were past, I heard a sound arising from behind me on the path. A group of younger tourists (Americans, no doubt), were laughing then singing as we were headed out. At first the song was clouded perhaps one that I knew, but then they started in on one that gave me deja vu. So as I started up the stairs to find the world above I assented to the words "Find me somebody to love." They continued up the staircase getting most of the harmony right, then changed to the iconic "The Lion Sleeps Tonight." From many flights ahead of the I projected loud and clear the missing notes of their quartet. As they inclined an ear I exited the tunnel with one thought - Yes, just one - to gather up my cohorts and show them how it is done!

While navigating the line at Versailles, I saw a man wearing an OSU Beavers shirt. As I walked by, I called out "Go Ducks!" Local humor in a foreign land.

On the trip home, I wore a black T-Shirt with a gold Batman logo. The customs and security inspectors I  Amsterdam separately both serenaded me with "Nanananananananananana nananana BATMAN!" The security inspector wanted to give me a high five and pointed my shirt out to the other inspectors in the area, where they joined in on the anthem.

From Lauren
I was walking up the stairs after the ice caves when a man descending about six steps in front of me lost his footing. He slid about 2 steps before stopping himself from going further by laying his body sideways on the step. My moment of relief at his recovery was brief, as my focus turned to stopping the 2 year old boy riding on his shoulders from sliding down the remaining 8 steps, or worse, through the open space on the back of the step to the steep rocks 6 feet below. His father clung to his legs as I attempted to stabilize his body. After we all realized that the child was okay, Raina rescued the pacifier as it tumbled away. The boy hit the side of his head against the step, and to recover from that and the scare, he had a well deserved cry. His dad took the boy in his arms and continued down the stairs. Despite the fright, down was far superior to going up and the caves were definitely worth it. However, I would recommend leaving your small children with a sitter.

 From James Wood
Before our concert with the Clock Choir I met Yves, a man who had lived in Rochester, NY working for Eastman-Kodak to improve photography technology and was in Nebraska during WWII seeing the equipment shipped to the front. He thanked the USA for freeing France from the Germans. I thanked him for the French helping he USA during the American Revolution and the War of 1812.

From me (Mollie Williams)
At our very first concert last Saturday in Lyon in the crypt of Basilique Notre Dame de Fourviere, we had many tourists coming and going during the performance. As we finished singing and started heading to the back room to grab our belongings about 4 young people from Singapore approached me and thanked me and said they enjoyed the concert. One young man said he was excited to hear us sing Conversion of Saul because he sang it in his own choir at home.

From Anne
I have a lot of experience with bathrooms, including those which offer no amenities and those which offer rainbow-colored toile paper and the Empress' own wine. It was one of the fancier restrooms which showed my hand as a foreigner - particularly ironic given my success with a more basic model the same morning (I like to stay hydrated). So there I a, in Stalingrade Victory Square facing a toilet robot.

As I often do, I first merely observed the process-collecting intel. In a short time I perceived hat the red, yellow, and green lights indicated the point in cycle the toilet was on - yellow was 'wash'. When it turned green, I knew it was my chance. So in I went - but wait, how does the door lock? There was a button that said, "Push me," and in retrospect, I should have considered reading the rest of the sign. As soon as I pushed he button, I thought, "Oh. That means I'm exiting. This robot toilet is going to self-clean with me in it!" I pushed the door only it find it was sealed tightly. A quick bang of my palm met with no reaction from outside, and I thought, "Oh crepes," as my stomach dropped into my shoes, "I'm trapped." Plus, no one knew it! So I started yelling "Mayday!" Fortunately my panic was unfounded and Alicia was able to ask the nice man awaiting his own lady how to escape the toilet! Hold the button while you push the door open, dear reader. That toilet cleaned itself while I went next door to finish the deed.

From Yvonne

The last concert on ISing's France tour was in Cluses, Beaverton's sister city. It was a joint concert with Cluses's own Clock Choir. At the end of the concert, Cluses recognized me, the pianist, with a pot of Hydrangea! (How am I going to pack it and sneak it thru US Customs!) The pianist of the Clock Choir, on the other hand, received a wine basket filled with wine and chocolate. (Hmm... Something doesn't seem right here.) When I asked the other pianist whether he'd take the Hydrangeas home as well, he asked, "Would you like to have the wine basket instead?" Um, YAH! Apparently, he doesn't drink. Really?! Lucky me!

ISing in Chamonix

Our last hour in Cluses.

Susan representing Trossingen (sister city to Beaverton & Cluses)

Andrea was prepared for the only bit of rain on the entire trip, other than the next morning on the way to the airport in Geneva. 

Le Sigh. The last day of tour, we can finally truly relax and absorb the beauty around us. I won't try to describe Chamonix, it is beyond words and there are only so many times I can say amazing or beautiful. As a group most of us took the train to the glacier because the tram to the top was not running due to the wind, and the clouds were coming and going over the mountain tops (I was very disappointed to not be able to experience that, but now I have a reason to return).

Our last supper was at Restaurant le Tremplin under Mont Blanc. We had an outdoor dinner of the best cheese fondu, cured meats, salad with a curry dressing, and sorbet and panacotta for dessert. Cheers and thanks all around to those who worked so diligently to make this tour happen, to the choir members for making it a successful and enjoyable tour, and to our gracious hosts for inviting us in and making us feel comfortable and welcome.

Back to Interhotel du Faucigny to let loose, swim in the pool, and finish all the wine we didn't want to take back to the states. It was a fitting conclusion to the end of our tour.

It's gettin' a little cray cray on the bus - tour is almost over!!!

Awe Raina, are you out of wine?

Maria in Chamonix

Greg always saves the day!

*James Bond: The World Is Not Enough and Touching the Void are a few movies that were filmed in Chamonix.