There’s just time while my laundry soaks in the sink to jot off a quick note about life with the Singers.
First observation: They think in music. At least Ricky Parkinson does. Every conversation elicits from him a verse of music as part of the dialogue, and it quickly becomes obvious that there is no conversation that cannot be embroidered with a good song. The thing is, somehow it makes perfect sense that he’ll begin singing while you’re talking around him. It just seems normal — perhaps because he has such a great singing voice. If I did the same thing, people would run for the hills.
Second observation: The Singers love music. More than love it. It is the passion of their souls. When I watch them perform it’s like watching 45 people simultaneously open their hearts in absolute transparency to the audience. They just put it all out there, without guile and without arrogance. Paul, the Hungarian tour guide, told the Singers he had heard many choirs over the years, but the Singers were different. “You sing from the spirit,” he said, touching his chest. “It is different, yes?”
Third observation: There are times when the bus is a cacophony of noise and other times when it lapses into exhausted silence. Here are some random memories: John Walker strumming a few chords on his guitar and hearing choir members nearby immediately pick up the song, blending effortlessly into harmonies that they invent on the fly. Curtis Lee relentlessly working his Rubics Cube (with a little help from Andy Maughan and support, of course, from Karly Smith). Joseph Cook rehearsing music in his head–occasionally pulling out a pitch pipe from his pocket to test a note against his memory. (Joseph devours music the way I devour chocolate!) Rachel Webster’s noisy laughter and comforting hugs. Austin Sharette’s ability to suddenly quote Shakespeare as if it were his native tongue.
You can’t put 45 20-somethings together on one bus and not end up with some interesting conversations. Herewith are random quotes I snatched from the air, unattributed to protect the guilty:
“Trust me — I am not to be trusted.” “I am going to cut your eyebrows off.” “She was just laughing at me. It’s okay. It happens all the time.” “Ladies and gentlemen, that is why he’s 32 and not married.” “It’s a totally true story! Okay, the crow didn’t really have an eye patch but….” “Can I buy a Czech vowel please?”
And if you get a chance, you must ask Jared Lesa and Michael Newton about the story of Czech Crow and Praha Pigeon.
The water has drained from the sink and it’s already tomorrow. I better fake a fast rinse cycle and hit the sack. Here’s a photo of the choir in Nymburk, where they performed at St. Jilji Church (built in the 13th Century).