Here's a clip from our first concert in Spain in the city of Borja. It's "Hear My Prayer" by Henry Purcell.
Kaixo! It's me, Camden of the tenors, posting again, this time not about flying but about an inspiring rehearsal, a short walk to the beach, a little exploration, and a powerful concert even better than the last.
Our day started with a light breakfast, as usual, but our rehearsal following it was different. Ethan gave us some more insight on his interpretation of Samuel Barber's "The Coolin." He invited us to bring out a personal part of ourselves while performing that song. One of his mottos about being a musician is that the great ones specialize in "focus and vulnerability." "The Coolin" and "Aho" are two songs that are an exercise in vulnerability. The former is about the love of your life, the latter is about the loss of a life dear to you. We left that rehearsal with a new understanding of emotional expression.
Our concert wasn't until later in the evening, so many spent our afternoon at the beach. We waded out into the Atlantic and let the waves splash (and sometimes jostle) us. The most memorable wave would be the one we faced while in a chorus line kicking our legs. Once we had our fun out there, we headed closer to shore to play a game of Ninja in ankle-deep water. The waves made the game... interesting to say the least, they seemed to come by more often after someone dove for a quick attack.
We rode our tour bus over to Ordizia where that night's concert would be. During our sound check, Ethan wanted us to change the way we made a section feel rhythmically; he wanted us to sing it like we were ribbon dancers. To help us visualize, he took a tie and used it as a ribbon (check out the video). After our sound check we got to explore the town a bit. I got to relax with a small cup of vanilla tea and some potato chips. What shocked me about this cafè was their choice of music: they had some (in my opinion) pretty bad American pop music playing on the radio. I didn't realize our country's music got radio plays in a Basque cafè where they didn't even speak English.
The concert was in a reverberant cathedral not unlike our first concert. We performed much of the same set with a few differences. We removed one song and replaced it with another. We prepared a new, fun spiritual as an encore: "In Dat Great Gittin' Up Mornin'." It's full of soloists doing a call and response with the choir. We also had, for the first time, two females (Michelle and Grace) sing the opening solos for "Hallelujah." They showcased their rich low-range by singing in the same range as the men that usually started off the song. When it came time to sing "The Coolin" and "Aho" we showed the audience a part of ourselves that many don't share. It's hard to describe the feeling of putting everything you have emotionally into a piece, but it's an experience I'd love to repeat at our next concert.
Jaclyn of the altos here! Okay guys, being a member of the PSU Chamber Choir doesn't suck. Today after breakfast, I met up with a group of lovelies including our fearless leader, Ethan, to explore the beach. After enjoying a glass of Txakoli, which the Basque refer to as "breakfast wine", we headed out. The beach was beautiful and the water warm. The waves were some of the biggest and most beautiful I've ever seen.
We found a lovely place to stop and enjoy more wine and some delicious desserts. The cuisine here is absolutely fantastic, and I have yet to have a bad meal (hopefully it will stay that way!). Some of us were really tired today:
Now we are outside of our hotel enjoying a glass of wine (today was a free day, so obviously WINE!) and enjoying the company of our chamber choir family. I'll leave you with some pictures, since they can convey so much more than my words can.
Kaixo! That's "hello" in Basque. It's Camden here again letting you know about the rest of our initial traveling.
Our flight to Madrid went smoothly. After seeing nothing but the Atlantic Ocean for about 6 hours, it was nice to see land again. Once we landed, it was a no-nonsense, get-to-the-bus-so-we-can-get-to-Tolosa-before-bedtime stop in the airport.
Once on the tour bus, we started a long ride to Zarautz. on the Way we stopped at a bar and restaurant called "Alonso." this is where I completed a personal goal of mine for this trip: order a meal with out using any English. I was able to do it with 6 carefully uttered words: "Chorizo... y una Fanta... limón... gracias"
After the a few rest stops, countless windmills, and pretty little villages, we made it to our hotel just in time for dinner! The competition is providing all the meals through the hotel restaurant and dinner was not a disappointment. Since almost everyone in our choir was sleep deprived, we went to bed soon after that. Some stayed up to enjoy a little celebration in the courtyard with a live band.
To sum this up, we're all safe and sound and this trip is going to be great!
Hello! Welcome to the start of another fantastic tour in another country. My name is Camden Davis, a tenor in the choir, kicking off this trip with a blog about our travels.
Together, we embarked on a long journey from Portland to Tolosa. It starts with waking up in (or staying awake until) the wee hours of the morning for our first flight. We decided to meet at the airport at 4am to ensure we wouldn’t miss our flight, which departed at 5:50am. It was nice to see all of the excited and friendly (albeit very tired) faces even though it was long before any of us would normally arise. Despite our look, we had a goal to show Spain our musical ability and had a strong desire to do so.
Many of us fell right to sleep right after and during takeoff, including myself. Those who stayed awake or woke up in time had the privilege of seeing a gorgeous sunrise over the clouds in the horizon through the windows of our plane. We landed safely in Newark, New Jersey for a nice, relaxing, long layover. We started settling down, making Gate 80 more like home. We took advantage of this time by working on some memorization. The people in the airport seemed to enjoy our rehearsal; many pilots thanked us for the music. The last 3 hours of our layover in the Garden State was up to each of us how to spend it. Since we’re students, many of us spent this time working on homework, others explored the airport, and of course, others slept.
It looks like we’re about to board our flight to Madrid. I’m posting this now so I don’t get left behind. To be continued…
Hi all - Assistant conductor Jason here. We're for Spain in two weeks! Working very hard but having a lots of fun preparing for the Tolosa contest. We also have a concert coming up next Friday, October 17th in Lincoln performance hall at 7:30 PM! Hope you can join us. Until then, here's a teaser video of us are rocking out to an Irish Basque section of one of our competition pieces... that's not really Irish.
Welcome to the new www.psuchamberchoir.com! As you can see, we've got a new look. We've also posted the 2014-2015 season - look under Events to learn more. We'll continue bringing you updates through this blog both on events at home and on our upcoming tour to Spain for the Tolosa Choral Contest from October 24-November 2. Stay tuned!
Sorry it's a little late but here's the final results. Thanks to University Communications for posting this news on our behalf:
The Portland State Chamber Choir won the first-place in Adult Mixed Choir category at the 16th International Choral Kathaumixw on July 4.
Started in 1984, the International Choral Kathaumixw competition puts a strong focus on global partnership through music. This year's competition featured both youth and adult choirs from nine countries during the week-long competition held July 1-5 at the Powell River Academy of Music in Powell River, British Columbia, Canada.
Portland State's choir also took two second place awards in both the Contemporary Choral Music and the Folk & Cultural Traditions categories. Portland State students Joanna Meline and Saori Erickson took first place victories in their respective soloist categories as well.
"This was really a life-changing week for an amazing group of students," said PSU choir director Ethan Sperry. "There are so many phenomenal choirs singing here and it's an honor to be among them and to be counted at the top of that list."
We're very proud of how it turned out. Congratulations to St. Stanislav's Academy Youth Chorus from Slovenia for winning the Choir of the World and the Totem Pole! And a huge thank you to all of our supporters.
Greetings, faithful readers! First, let me thank you for taking this journey with us as we have travelled to Powell River, Canada. When you read this blog, we know your heart joins with us as we share our music and our lives with the people we meet along the way.
As the Kathalmixw competition continues into the week, the Chamber Choir is rallying to face more and more difficult challenges with aplomb and, more importantly, an ever-increasing sense of community and support.
Wednesday was the main category of the competition here in Powell River, and our own set consisted of:
Christus Factus Est -Anton Bruckner
The Coolin -Samuel Barber
Hallelujah -Leonard Cohen, arr. Ethan Sperry