We had our first two full orchestra rehearsals yesterday and I had the joy of experiencing the truth that music really is the universal language. *insert eye roll* We've calculated that htere are no fewer than 16 countries represented and over half do not speak German as their first language (myself included), but the rehearsals are run in German. Nonetheless, we've been able to make sense of the music and the musical instructions. I think it's going to be a success. It will, however, be exhausting. We will spend 16 days in China, in 7 cities, including one in Mongolia and will do 12 or 13 concerts with rehearsals before every performance.
After the two rehearsals yesterday, my brain was absolutely fried. I took one year of German my last year in college and I'm racking my brain trying to pick out words I understand and piecing them together. So far it's been okay. I've only needed help a few times and either Christian or Petra, the second flutist, has been able to help me. But by the end of it all, even though the rehearsals were good and my solos were appreciated, I was so tired. So so tired.
We were able to unwind with some of Christian's friends as they were doing a Christmas movie marathon all day today. We joined them during our lunch break between rehearsals and had the most delicious meal and then we met up with them again after our rehearsals to watch Home Alone 2 and The Nightmare Before Christmas. It was so nice to turn my brain off a little -- especially because the movies were in English. Christian's friends, I hate to say, have been the most pleasant surprise. All of them are so talented and gifted and friendly. They are funny and welcoming and ... have fun, really. It has been a real delight to spend time with them. And we've had a party every night we've been here. It doesn't allow for much rest, but it does make for lots of memories.
When we returned to the apartment, leaving the marathon a few movies early, the four of us staying here in Christian's room (Christian, Michael, Julie and me) sang some Christmas carols in four-part harmony. It was definitely outside of my comfort zone, but it was delightful because I know that non of them will judge me. They love me truly, and so I can make a fool of myself missing my leaps of a third on the lowly alto part, which I so enjoy. We're going to "perform" Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming" at our Christmas dinner tonight with Christian's friends.
In honor of that, I leave you with a photo from yesterday, compliments of Michael's amazing photography and the first verse (in German) of "Es ist ein Ros entsprungen."
Es ist ein Ros' entsprungen, aus einer Wurzel zart,
Wie uns die Alten sungen, von Jesse kam die Art,
ein Blumlein bracht mitten
im kalten Winter Wohl zu der halben Nacht.