My package arrived today! Woohoo!

So this morning I was sitting at my computer wishing I had some of my music books to play from. I knew they were in the mail, but the box was taking a long time to get here. Just as I thought that, I looked to my right (out my window) and saw the red mail truck! Cue doorbell and there it was. 10 euros and a signature later and I was in business. Apart from a few music books, a devotional, and a couple of Birthday cards, there were packages for Aurore’s baby Maeline and Charles’ baby Capucine. The girls got bibs and other stuff (I didn’t actually open those bags) from my Grandma Jean and my Mom sent a pair of little moccasin slippers for Capucine (since Bastien and Clémence – Aurore’s oldest – each got a pair while they were in Canada last year).  Thanks Grandma and Mom! It was really neat to get a big package like that.

By the way; here is a picture of me from Saturday. Just in case you’ve forgotten what I look like ;):

Also, I learned about Mardi Gras (or Fat Tuesday in English) today in French class. I’m going to wait until March 8 to post about it though, because Mardi Gras is on March 8 this year. Stay tuned!

*****And now, the promised post about the concert Saturday night. *****

We went to a place in Louvain-la-Nueve called Ferme du Biéreau: The Farm of all Music (Farm of all Music is the subtitle). It’s an old barn renovated into a concert hall and offers a wide variety of shows. I have a couple pictures of the outside, but they are really dark and you can’t see much so I won’t put them on here. Sorry. Sybille is an administrator there and likes to go to all the classical concerts. The modern music is a little to loud for her. I don’t blame here. Bands can get crazy loud! Anyway, here is a picture of the cover of the program: It was all in German, with some Mendelssohn, Liszt, Schubert, and Schumann. The singers were about 40 or so of the best men and women from an 80 person amateur choir Jean-Go’s Dad Dominique sings in. For the concert they were broken into a men’s chorus and a women’s chorus, but they did perform together for a few pieces. Dominique was of course in the men’s chorus. For this amateur choir (the big one) that had a week in August (starting and ending on a weekend) where during the week they met every evening for master classes, and on both weekends had all day workshops and things. During this time they also had private lessons, and their regular day jobs! Talk about committed, passionate people. The uh, choirs at Laurier could take a few notes *cough, cough*. That was one thing the director made clear during his speech before the second act; the passion of these singers.

Also performing were two soloists (a mezzo-soprano and a tenor) as well as a harpist and a pianist (they both accompanied the choirs at times). The vocal soloists also give private lessons to the choir members, and work with them as a group as well. I was impressed with both, but I enjoyed the tenor more. The mezzo wasn’t bad, she just didn’t quite compare with Kimberly Barber and Frederica von Stade; they are both so animated when they perform! Maybe I’m a bit biased on their behalf because I’ve met both (well…I was at an ‘intimate’ Q&A breakfast session at Laurier with Frederica von Stade that all the voice students were able to attend). Back on track! Like I said earlier, both the harpist and the pianist performed solo as well as accompanying the choir, and both were wonderful. I especially loved the harpist. She was amazing. My fingers sort of hurt watching her play, but it was absolutely magnificent. Now I can’t decide if I want a harp or a string quartet at my wedding! That is, if I ever get married, ha ha ha.

So this choir rehearses twice a week and it showed. At the risk of this sounding something like one of my university concert reports, I’m going to talk a bit of shop. I was very impressed with the diction of the choirs, especially the women. Both groups were also very attentive to the director and there was only once that I noticed the peeing of s’s! That’s impressive, because it happens a lot. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, just hiss like a snake at the end of the word hiss…then imagine a group of 80-120 people doing that not quite in unison…more than once in a piece…not cool, not cool at all. It wasn’t very bad, I just noticed it because at the time I was listening very closely. Because I was sick I got very tired near the end and had to shut my eyes. So I was hearing, but I wasn’t listening as close as earlier. It was very beautiful though, very soothing. Not so good when you’re trying to stay awake! It was a little on the long side (kind of like this post don’t you think?), but I’ve been in concerts like that before.

If I had to choose between the women and the men, I will say that I enjoyed the men’s chorus more. Having some training in classical singing, I’ve been exposed to some of the most talented female voices. And I don’t just mean the professionals that came to the school, or our teachers. I have/had very talented peers! For women with not very much training, there were quite good. The sopranos had a little bit of a hard time with the very top notes, and near the end you could tell they were all getting tired. Being a soprano myself I know how that goes! Not saying the other voices don’t get tired – and altos can have it bad as well; singing really low for too long is also very tiring – but man, sopranos feel like they’re screeching after a while!  All in all, it was a great concert and I’m really glad I went. Who knows what other concerts I may get to go to…

Inside the barn.   The Women. The Men.

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2 Comments

  1. Adeline

     /  March 2, 2011

    actualy,” the farm of all musics” is the subitle. The name of the farm is “Ferme du Biéreau”. Just behind the barn wall is my scool when I was 8 to 10 year (Ecole du Biéreau).
    Louvain-La-Neuve is subdivised . there is The centrum of course, le Biéreau (that’s where they build the first Students homes), la baraque (it’s the oldest part ‘cose that’s where the first people put theyr mobilhome when there was nothind there) les Bruyères (the last buildings were build there), l’Hocaille (that’s where my mom is living) Lauzelle.
    All those names are comming of the old names when they wear just fields and farms.
    But this is another story.

    Reply

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