Wednesday, 21 January 2015

It's a Wonderful World

So I went along to my very first Choir practice last night feeling more than a little nervous. The location was a very cosy community hall opposite (and run by) the village church. I couldn't have been made to feel more welcome. I got introduced to all the other members - there were around 15 but I understand it numbers 20 at full capacity.

The choirmaster was a lovely smiley lady whose first language was neither Swiss, German or English (I just love this zany country) so there was sometimes a little confusion in places but her enthusiasm carried her and us all through!

And what luck - the very first song was a new one for everyone and it just happened to be 'It's a Wonderful World'!! So of course I was in my element (although there was a tiny discussion in the middle as to whether to sing in English or German (imagine!) But thankfully English prevailed. Actually it was glorious hearing the men behind me singing in harmony with rich, deep - and very lovely English sounding - voices. I felt quite nostalgic.

We followed up with 'Wade in the Water' and 'I will Sing with Spirit' - both again in English, fortunately for me, although a little high at times as I scarily found myself in the soprano section.

What a lovely experience it was. The two hours flew by. And my fears of being rejected for being too squeaky or tone deaf were unfounded. I was even invited along to the jolly afterwards at the local pizzeria. It is very nice to feel a part of a larger thing like a choir which really is far more than the sum of its component parts. I feel I am at the beginning of something wonderful.

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Pick of the week

Winterthur's Church Square in the snow

I've joined a choir!

I've somehow allowed myself be talked into joining the local choir. Now, I love singing - especially in the shower and the kitchen - but I'm not sure how this actually translates to singing in public. I am also pretty used to my wonderfully musical husband describing me as tone deaf! Nice, huh?

But I have never agreed with him. And now I have recovered from the shock of suddenly having to sing in tune, with others, and sometimes with an audience :-O I am determined to prove him wrong.

There has been lots written about the benefits of singing in a choir and the BBC's amazing Gareth Malone has made it a pretty funky and very accessible thing in his series of addictive programmes. So I'm smitten. And I hope the reality of it all doesn't disappoint.

Brütten Choir gathers at the village Gemeindesaal each Tuesday evening from 8pm.

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Gut neues!

Happy New Year! I know it's a little late, I'm sorry. For once I have not felt like blogging or doing much of anything creative and I'll explain why. I had a lovely Christmas spent with family here in Switzerland but it was one tinged with great sadness as a friend died from Cancer. I usually like to keep my blog upbeat but I am still grieving the loss of a good friend as well as the loss of a wonderful person from our community so I feel I should share a little of this.

Michael was a South African guy who moved into our village in March. As his wife had an amazing and well paid job he stayed at home as the 'househusband' in one sense but as a great wildlife artist he could also earn plenty of funds himself. Having lived in Canterbury in the South of England for 6 years he was, like me, unable to adapt quickly to the Swiss way of allowing children to walk to school un-accompannied so we were the only two clucking hens on the school playground morning and noon. Of course, we also enjoyed the bond of being able to relax into casual English and as you can imagine we got to know each other very well.

He got a cough in early October which was diagnosed as Cancer on 15th October and exactly two months later, 10 days before Christmas, he died. I can't put into words the horror of this thing that has taken my friend away. And I guess time will heal this gaping wound some. But I am experiencing the enormity of how fleeting our lives are and how easily they can be taken from us. And knowing Micheal and experiencing this awful thing has meant that I now greet each day with a raw, urgent need to enjoy each minute and share the joy with as many people as I can in the precious time I have left. I ask you, my devoted reader to do the same. And would like to share a series of beautiful pictures I have taken over the Christmas period. Much love, S x

Loving husband, father and friend Michael Gibson