Community Sing, Paris Style

Yesterday I saw an advertisement for a women’s magazine containing a quiz called “Are you more of a Carla or a Michelle?” The French all completely adore Obama—I guess all of the Obamas. This is good, because all the American bars were completely full during the inauguration, so my friends and I had to find a random bar and get the proprietor to put on CNN. Conveniently, none of the other patrons seemed to mind the three weirdos in the corner singing along to the Star Spangled Banner.

In other news, last night I auditioned for a student chorale at the Sorbonne. I was pretty nervous; as many of you are surely aware, I am a firmly mediocre singer, on top of which everything is always extra scary in French. My auditioner took me into a side room and started off by telling me that they had too many sopranos already and couldn’t take another one. After I reassured him that I could sing alto, he had me sing some arpeggio-type things while he played piano. And that was it—I was in. I have no idea what the point of the audition was, other than to verify that I can actually make noises come out of my vocal chords.

I had my first rehearsal immediately afterwards. It was thrilling just being in the room, an amphitheater with wooden risers and a big painting of the muses on the wall, full of students whispering and sneaking sandwiches and studying while we sang. I looked on with a German girl named Eva and tried to stumble my way through a Verdi piece whose name I forget and a Requiem whose composer I didn’t catch. Fortunately years of musical activity in various forms has made me a decent sight-reader, so I managed to not totally suck. The music was beautiful, and the knowledge that I was sitting in the Sorbonne singing hymns in Latin was pretty mindblowing.

Everything is just going really well at the moment. Classes start Monday, tomorrow I’m headed for Toulouse for the weekend, and I now have at least one real non-American friend in my foyer—a girl from Cologne named Lina, with whom I am going to a Franco-German thing at the international students’ dorm tonight. (Germans are rather friendlier than French people, I have discovered.) I also went to a really lovely Conservative synagogue on Friday night that I think I’m going to try to go back to at least once or twice a month. I feel like I’ve been extending myself a lot and getting really positive results. It’s a good feeling to know I can do this.

Oh, and a note of clarification about a few things. I actually can Skype without much difficulty; I found a better room where I won’t bother people when I talk, particularly if it’s late enough at night or early enough in the morning. So y’all should let me know if you want to do that. But bad news for anyone who I promised floor space to: I’m going to have to go back on my word – my foyer has a strict no-visitors policy. You should still come visit if you can though! I’ll find you a cheap and clean hostel!

More news after Toulouse,

Published in: on January 22, 2009 at 2:40 pm  Leave a Comment  

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