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written by Rahela Duric  

credits: Feniarco


34° C ... San Vito al Tagliamento... The sun is burning and the stones are reflecting the heat in the »Piazza del Popolo«... The town is in Holiday-mode ... it’s siesta time, so you don't get to see a lot of locals outside. Maybe they went to the sea, or are enjoying the mountain views somewhere... or maybe they are just resting after having a perfect Italian lunch, with primo and secondo piatto.

 And in the middle of all this, there I am, standing in »Via Stazione«, asking some local Italian woman for directions to find the Hotel Patriarca, where I will be staying for the next ten days during the upcoming Euro Choir 2016.

It is my first time participating and I am already excited about meeting all the new people and to sing for hours every day. I am a professional conductor, so I usually stand in front of the choir, giving directions, rehearsing and conducting. But not this time. This time I am going to be »on the other side«. The chance to just sing and create music without carrying the responsibility for the whole group gives me a new sense of freedom filled with passion that allows me to express myself through music. To be able to open my heart to a music piece, sense its energy, feel the emotions it carries within, understand the story behind the score and actively participate in the process of creation is the reason why I came to this place. 


The rehearsals started the next day, when I found myself sitting in a room with 46 other young people, who pretty much wanted the same thing. We all sat in a half circle and pronounced funny written words in Finnish language, trying not to break our tongues by doing it (»syvälle sen kuva järven pintaan päilyy«- just to give you an example). 

There are people who might ask: Why do you do this to yourself? Why do you sacrifice whole 10 days to sit in a room and rehearse for seven hours per day, when you could just go to the sea and enjoy yourself? Well, let me tell you why...

There is just something very special about choir singing and it is very difficult to describe what exactly happens to singers when they sing together. However, even though you can’t describe it, it’s there and this special thing happened to us too. I had a feeling that during our time together the music was a sewing machine, that sawed our hearts and souls together with a thread made of beauty and harmony. And it didn't matter which country one was from, the age or even if one was tall or short. I felt connected. After a few days I had a feeling that these people were very close to me, even though I perhaps haven’t remembered all their names. As I tried to think of why we grew so fond and close to each other, here is what I came up with... 

I believe singing together is a very intimate matter. It takes courage to sing in front of others and especially in front of the two people sitting next to you. It means to show all of yourself, the good and the bad, like for instance the mistakes you make or your exhaustion after long rehearsals. However, it also means to laugh together about the silly things that happen during rehearsals. I really enjoyed the enthusiasm of the people there and the common passion for music was literally contagious. The fact that we just sang for seven hours straight didn’t matter at all. Even in the evening, while we were having our well deserved drink together, the singing didn’t stop. This made me realize, what of a deep effect singing has on me and on us. 

It profoundly reaches into our souls. It makes us breath together, move at the same time...it makes us listen and hear each other, without even saying a word. It's communicating beyond communication. To be able to just look at the conductor and see the whole story of the music in a single gesture of a hand or in a look is absolutely amazing! It's mind-blowing! It's a glimpse of beauty that makes our hearts full of joy and happiness and is always a call for more. That's why I never get tired of singing. My voice does... but my soul doesn't. 

Friday... Venice... a concert in a beautiful church... this city that inspires ...that is so magical, so different, so alive, so moving ... And I sing ... we sing... sicut cervus... ita desiderat anima mea ... the last chord ... And after the music stops, we listen to the echo of the last tone slowly vanishing into the enormous church, until it gets lost in the last secret corner somewhere far behind. The hands of the conductor slowly let go of the magic that just happened ... indescribable! Magical! There is nothing like it! 

That is why I do it ... that's why I invest my time ...why I spend hours in a closed room, even though the sun is shining and I could be enjoying the sea breeze somewhere at the sea side.It's for this joy ... the smile on a conductors face after the music magically took us to another world. And there is always room for more ... that is why I will come again. And you should too!