By Guillaume Schneider
Part 1 is available HERE.
During the one and a half months that I had to wait until the first rehearsal there was a lot going on, but I didn’t lose sight of the oncoming events. I told the good news to some of my friends, the ones I knew would understand how much it means to me. I even tried to convince the singers of them to join me in the project, but the rehearsal schedule being pretty intense, they wouldn’t make it.
Then came Day 1 on February 18. Armed with the music sheets of TTT and a sharpened pencil, I made my way to the University of Music and Performing Arts. Another thing I was excited about was the fact that I would sing with students and adults who would take this project seriously. I remember well how high school rehearsals weren’t always as fruitful as I wish they had been. Even though my vocal cords were out of practice, my passion was still intact and a burning fire. I just hoped I would be up to the task since it had been almost two years since I finished high school.
As I was walking, reaching the entrance to the university, memories emerged from the past: images of the concerts of the three French-German High Schools appeared in my head and reminded me of how being a part of an ensemble shaped my youth and my willingness to become an active person. I guess that’s what you call growing up.
When I entered the Carl Orff auditorium, I became aware that this whole thing wasn’t a dream. The people I saw didn’t look like perfect singers, even less like hardcore fans who would participate without any singing background. This reassured me, I had just met my equals. We were first introduced to Mr. Gropper, a song and singing didactics professor who would lead the rehearsals. He looked like a funny guy who knew how to motivate his troops. After some formalities, we began the session with a series of stretches and extensive yawning, followed by a few exercises intended to warm up our tired vocal chords. I really felt how good this was for me and I started getting impatient. Ten minutes later, we were all ready to roll. Now the singing could begin!
We started with a scene at the beginning of the movie, at minute 3:06 of the track The Banishment of Éomer on the CR (Complete Recordings). I so love this moment, partially because of the ascending pitches of all four voices and mainly because of the 5/4 time which is really cool to sing. I think it was a good place to set in since it directly put us in the right mood. MEEEEL LAAAW VAAAHN… I was into it from the start and it’s safe to say we all were, especially after hearing the sound that emanated from our group. Whenever there would be an epic moment like that throughout the rehearsals (which was pretty much all the time), I dreamed of Middle-earth and wondered again and again how I actually ended up singing its music not only in my head, but for real.
At the end of the rehearsal it was dark outside and it had been a long day for everyone. Perhaps that’s why some of us seemed like they were craving for their bed. So had I been, maybe, hadn’t I been intoxicated by our own music. I had felt such a pleasure singing among this group, even though I didn’t know anyone. Such a shame the concerts would follow up closely, precisely two months later. Quickly, this thought was suppressed by a much more joyful one: we had merely airbrushed the music’s depth, rather reading the notes and the vocals without understanding their true meaning. So, what would it be a few weeks from now? I preferred not thinking about it, favoring a night’s sleep. All I can say is that I had high hopes. And an empty stomach.
[To be continued ... ]