Langenhagan – a town twinned with Southwark and our destination for a weekend in May 2014. After 18 months of planning we finally made it to Germany! Having hosted the German ‘Choir Under Fire’ many months ago – it was now the turn of Koruso! to visit Langenhagan to sing.
It took some planning, (including great debates on who was going to carry the gifts for our hosts? Would they go in hand luggage or suitcases? Could they be confiscated as a broken mug could be used as a weapon?) but in the end 38 of us arrived in Germany for what can only be described as a weekend of singing, strengthening friendships and sun. And
And yes – the weather was on our side….
Having left Peckham and Heathrow with the rain pouring down and grey skies, it was glorious to arrive in Hanover to sunshine and blue skies. It wasn’t just the weather that was glorious – our hosts were wonderful and so welcoming – from cups of tea to German specialties to savour – we were thoroughly spoilt. And our singing was definitely glorious our performance of ‘Go down Moses’ was definitely strengthened by the fact that we became more united as a group on that short trip. I must admit to sobbing throughout Choir Under Fire’s rendition of ‘I believe’. I think it hit me that this was such a special occasion and their singing gave me chills.
Although the concert was the ultimate experience – there was so much about the trip that was incredible. We certainly packed a lot into a weekend.There was lots of fun to be had at rehearsals and it was wonderful to get to know our German friends – many of whom we recognised from their trip to London. However, it was also a very special time for us to get to know each other better.We pride ourselves on being a friendly choir and this adventure helped to strengthen our relationships with each other – and I know this will ultimately lead us to sing better as a group.
It was a case of eating breakfast with one group of friends, eating lunch with others, going sightseeing with another group and strolling to a rehearsal with another Koruso! friend. And we did learn lots about each other – whether it was through a chat on the tram, a conversation over breakfast or at the after rehearsal and after show parties. Sightseeing in Hanover was so much fun with a big group – it took us forever to get anywhere as there were so many photo opportunities. Climbing sculptures (who could hold on the longest?) and pole dancing on the tram were amongst our many pursuits!
But ultimately we went to sing. It was not just about the concert. The rehearsals and impromptu singing opportunities were just as much fun. The ‘singalongs’ at the piano might not have been concert standard (when replayed on an iphone) but they were great fun and who knew we had two new pianists in our midst? And I am not talking Chopsticks! There was great pleasure to be had singing with our German friends after the concert informally around the piano. In fact, the relationship between the two choirs is unique and we all felt that in many ways this would be the start of something special.
I think I need to learn some more German as I wore out my one and only German phrase ‘ich haben gutten flug’ (taught by a specialist in the German language – well, she has an O Level!). Although I don’t think I used it as much as others were using ‘Feeling Good’ as a response every time someone said “how are you?’ Singing in German together was a real achievement and singing ‘Happy’ together was a fitting end to the concert!
I don’t think that when I joined Koruso!, I imagined I would have the opportunities it has offered me. We have sung in a theatres, in various churches, in gardens, a cricket ground, in shopping centres, in art galleries……….. and now in Germany. Well it cannot end here ……………… we feel the world is our oyster.