Les gens qui ne rient jamais ne sont pas des gens sérieux

Be who you are and say what you mean, those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Chór Akademicki Uniwersytetu Warszawskiego

Oh. My. God. My new choir is a little scary.

I went this evening despite the still-croaky voice and hacking cough because my attendance record has been pretty dismal so far and I am terrified of getting left behind.

The rehearsals are held in a geography lecture theatre which is a bad start for me. Geography was the very first subject I gave up when we moved to Germany and I was mighty relieved as a result (something I've since regretted as I seem now to have developed an ability to stand open-mouthed in front of a world map for hours. But I digress). The surroundings bring back bad memories.

Then there's the Polish. I'm pretty tuned in to Polish now after nearly six months of M & co surrounding me with their czs and szs. However, following a choir leader who is using specific words to describe just how we should be breathing, and what moods are appropriate where, at the same time as reading the words to the Polish national anthem and trying to commit them to memory I still find, shall we say, a little taxing.

Then, there are the name tags. I thought this was a standard getting to know 80 new people thing, a friendly welcoming gesture. How wrong can you be about a little scrap of paper? The real reason for the name tags soon became apparent. As I listened from the side with another girl similarly wrapped up to her ears in a scarf and taking regular breaks to blow into a hankerchief as I coughed my guts up, my eyes widened in horror.

The name tags allow the choir leader to pick on people at random, tell them to stand, and sing their part as an example to the rest. The poor trembling singer stands in a sea of upturned faces and tries his or her hardest to remember the notes, words and avoid messing it up in a thousand other ways in front of ALL THESE PEOPLE.


Forewarned is forearmed, or something. I now know what to prepare for. I have to imagine the worse case scenario which could follow what I understood the choir leader to have said this evening about next week. She mentioned sopranos. That's me. She said 'the whole repertoire'. That's the three songs, including the Polish national anthem, which I will spend this weekend committing to memory. Perfectly. She mentioned 'individuals'. I will prepare for the sea of faces.

Jeszcze Polska nie zgineła,
Kiedy my żyjemy.
Co nam obca przemoc wzieła,
Szablą odbierzemy.

Marsz, marsz, Dąbrowski,
Z ziemi włoskiej do Polski,
Za twoim przewodem
Złaczym się z narodem.

I can learn that, right?

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