In a very few hours I’ll be joining the University Singers on a long and wearying flight from Salt Lake City to Prague. From there the choir launches a four-week tour through much of central Europe, singing in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia, Italy, Austria, and Germany.
I can’t speak for the choir members (yet), but I’m slightly excited. Okay, more than slightly. Somewhere between “unbelievable” and “hyperventilating.” But maybe that’s just me. It’s my first time in Europe (if you don’t count England) and I’m eager to see and experience all the amazing scenes that lie ahead.
That is…when we have time. Dr. Allred has iterated and reiterated that this is first-and-foremost a choir tour, not a sightseeing tour. In fact, the Singers are performing almost every day from the moment they arrive, culminating in a week-long choral competition in Marktoberdorf, Germany.
Their repertoire for this tour includes some 38 songs, ranging from spiritual and sublime to hand-clapping and foot-stomping. And here’s the amazing thing: It’s all memorized. Every note. Every word. Including a lot of words in German and Hungarian and Czech and Slovenian and, I think, Latin. I have a hard time with the words to “Happy Birthday,” and these people are zipping through songs with titles like “Dajte, Dajte,” and “Dekle Je Na Pragu Stalo,” and “Verbum Supernum Prodiens.”
Well, wish me luck. I’ll need it – but the Singers? Not really. You don’t need luck when you’ve practiced to perfection. You just need a place to perform.