I didn’t realize how behind I am with my blog, so I’ll go backwards in an attempt to catch up without getting overwhelmed.  My Sunday illustrated well my state of being.  I got to church on time, but I forgot some books I was supposed to deliver and I forgot I’d agreed to sing German songs at the Bloms afterwards.  I was thrilled at the invitation, then failed to write it in my book, and it slipped the memory completely.  The books I’d put together with something else to bring to church and I brought that, but not the books . . .

I’d planned to work on reeds after church so I could play at Kirche Kreative, which I didn’t forget about, but hadn’t had time to get the oboe out, which means I haven’t played since Dec. 25th.  So, in stead of resting on the Sabbath I biked home quickly, got oboe and the books, biked passed the Cooper’s to drop of the books on the way to the Bloms, arriving nice and sweaty for lunch.  We had a lovely lunch and a grand time singing German hymns that go faster than any English hymn I know.  The pastor’s kids did just fine because they grew up in German schools, but it was quite a fun challenge for me.  While we sang I worked on reeds a bit until I was satisfied with a few.

Here's a sample of the fun. 


I left before dessert and managed to bike back to town in 30 minutes, as estimated (not all of my brain is broken), and in time for rehearsal.  After half a day of English, the instructions that came at me a mile a minute in German left me reeling.  It’s not a typical vocabulary for the circles I walk in and I was trying to listen, read a rather detailed instructions sheet with strange German words and abbreviations, and maybe look at the music and play something interesting since these were praise songs and though there were notes, the instrumentalists are expected to improvise pretty countermelodies.  We had a lighting fast rehearsal, had a break, rehearsed with the choir and I began to worry about my lip.  Now, here I must be happy because endurance has always been my number one worry when performing on oboe.  To think that I might not play for a month, then play a few hour rehearsal before a concert (we played about 10 songs, and you know how praise songs get repeated) and survive would have been a thought nearly as impossible to imagine as grad school in Europe.  Here is one service where I was glad for a long sermon, but really, I didn’t have much trouble.  I suppose I was too worried about what notes to play.  Stephan’s Mom came and noted that I didn’t look nervous, and it’s true, I wasn’t.  I wasn’t even scared, though I should have been.  I get nervous is there’s something to loose: if I’m worried my reed won’t do what I need it to do and that I won’t be able to fix it, or if I might have a memory slip or mess up the passage I’ve worked for ages on.  Here I knew there was no way to play in an intelligent manner, so there was no point in being nervous, I’d just play what I could.  I actually had a lot of fun improvising and much of what I tried worked because there was a thick carpet of sound provided by the keyboard, bass, and guitar.  That meant that if I hit a note out of the chord it provided a nice contrast that wasn’t overwhelming and I could resolve it and make it sound like I knew what I was doing.  When it’s just piano, a note out of the chord really sounds bad unless you prepare it correctly, and that I can’t do yet.  Anyway, it was great fun and a great experience.

The other funny thing that happened was just before I started my whistle solo for the Irish Blessing (I could resist suggesting it) a lady in the choir behind me tapped my shoulder and whipped off some German.  I figured it must be important to interrupt the service and my solo like that, but I couldn’t guess what she was asking though I understood the words “Will it bother you if I put my hand on your shoulder?”  Why on earth?  What?  I was like a deer in headlights – or stage lights.  She repeated her question, I said I didn’t understand then I looked back at the director and he signaled the start, so I figured it must not have been anything urgent, but it left me shaken and I lost my place toward the end of my solo, but they improved around me.   It turns out the choir usually joins hands or something in the final blessing and she often lays a hand on a musician, but I found that to be a rather odd time to ask me . . .

I was happy that Veronika and her two friends were there and also Margee.  If her son is devoted to coming to concerts as she is I’m a lucky girlfriend.

On the language front, I understood most of the sermon because it was slow and clear high German.  There was quite a bit of Bern German in another part of the service and a friend translated into high German for me.  I was proud to know that I got the gist pretty much right, though I have to admit it sounds just about the same as Basel German or Zurich German or . . .  And while I was relating the story about not understanding the choir lady’s German someone asked in surprise “You’re not German?”  Maybe he was being nice, but that’s the first time someone has thought I was German after more than “Nice to meet you.”

Okay, really off to bed.  If you wouldn’t mind, I’d appreciate your prayers.  I have much to much to do and no idea how it’s going to get done, and I probably have more to do than I realized because of the rate of things I’ve been forgetting lately.  I am refreshed from the Sabbath even though it was busy, I had to work (though now that oboe isn’t my major anymore can I call it that?), and involved nearly two hours of biking, but I could use some help keeping perspective and fulfilling all my duties this week.

Posted by harp on Sunday, January 27, 2008 at 11:13 pm | Edit
Permalink | Read 5610 times
Category Switzerland Adventure: [first] [previous] [next] [newest]

Margee's son will try.

Posted by Stephan on Monday, January 28, 2008 at 3:30 am

For the record...We like Margee's son and are reluctant to send him back to Switzerland, but for Margee's and Janet's sakes will do so.

Also for the record...We'd love to attend a concert with you and will try to plan our next vacation a little better in that respect. :)

Posted by SursumCorda on Monday, January 28, 2008 at 10:46 am

If your sending him back to Switzerland you sure chose a circuitous route! You'll make it before he does. ;)

Posted by IrishOboe on Monday, January 28, 2008 at 10:53 am

I took him to the airport. Everything from then on is his responsibility. :)

Posted by SursumCorda on Monday, January 28, 2008 at 12:49 pm

I'm taking the next step in the wrong direction home, but I'll eventually show up. Janet, you know I'm not fleeing you - I miss you.

Posted by Stephan on Wednesday, January 30, 2008 at 6:10 pm

And what better way to pass the time than to travel for two weeks with two others I love dearly and miss terribly! I'm praying for safe travels for all of you. Ever so much love, Janet

Posted by IrishOboe on Wednesday, January 30, 2008 at 7:11 pm

Note that I've added a video from the German sing.

Posted by IrishOboe on Saturday, February 02, 2008 at 12:17 am