We have just completed our last rehearsal before we embark on our journey. Four plus hours of intense singing, polishing and bonding have left us more than ready. Many details of the festival are still a bit sketchy, so we have been cautioned to go with open and flexible attitudes and "go with the flow". I am not worried- I think there will be so much to see and do that hopefully nobody will have much time to kvetch.
In today's rehearsal, Josh spoke about the wondrous opportunity for us to be in a place with seven other choirs from all over the world who are doing what we do. It is kind of amazing, when you stop to think about a group of people in South Africa, or France, or England coming together as we do to create a community, to share their love of this music, and to perpetuate the existence of Jewish music across the globe. I am looking forward to meeting the singers in the other groups and sharing our experiences. I bet I will find many similarities among us.
One of the songs we will be singing is "Bai Mir Bisti Sheyn". If I heard Josh correctly, this song was originally written in yiddish by Sholom Secunda and made its way to the U.S. where it was translated into English and made famous by the Andrews Sisters. When that version made its way back across the pond to Germany in the 1930's, it was ultimately banned once it was discovered that it was originally a yiddish song. We will bring it back in its original form, which I find amazing. Josh told us that he has thought carefully about how he intends to introduce the pieces we are performing, wanting to stay away from the dark history of the holocaust and focusing instead on the positive resurgence of a Jewish presence in 21st century Berlin. It's fascinating to consider how many different ways there are for us, as Jews, to approach this journey.
So away we go. . . Here is a photo of today's rehearsal, which I am mostly posting as a test to be sure I understand how to post photos once I get to Berlin, as I can be kind of a techo-idiot at times.