Well, we are now just six days away from departure and the excitement is palpable. The emails and facebook posts are numerous as we all prepare for this journey, and what it will mean for each of us. I would venture to say that the range of emotions and focuses (foci?) is vast. Being a newer member, I am quite focused on what it will be like to travel and perform internationally, and to be part of an organization so esteemed that it was chosen as THE representative of the United States among many other nations. Others are contemplating the meaning of being Jewish and travelling to a place that holds such a complicated history for our people. And still others are immersed in the culture of the music and the composer we are honoring, who had such an enormous impact on not only Jewish music, but choral music in general. I am eager to see how this trip affects us all; I am sure we will all be forever changed by this experience.
I have been abroad many times, but never to Germany. I have studied my guidebook and my city map of Berlin as I try to become at least a little bit educated in advance of our arrival. There seems to be so much to see and to do, and while our schedule is very full, I am hoping to have time to walk the city and get to know it at least a little bit. Everyone says Berlin is wonderful, and I can't wait to see for myself.
Meanwhile, I imagine that we are all frantically trying to find and be sure to pack our scarves, ties and passports, figure out what electronic devices will work abroad and at what cost, and cement the music and those pesky German lyrics into our memory banks. We have our last rehearsal, a four hour marathon, on Sunday and I am sure it will be intense, but I know we will do ourselves and all those we represent proud when we gather on December 15 and perform for the first time. I cannot wait.