I entered the room. There were about 27 persons and five minutes left to begin our first rehearsal. In those minutes the group was complete. Mostly from Italy, but also people from Slovenia, France, Belgium, Russia and Switzerland formed the “choir” of aprox. 40 singers that I had the good luck to work with for the atelier of Latin-American choral music. It was in Lignano, in the famous Alpe Adria Cantat organized by FENIARCO, where 4 more ateliers were being held with excellent conductors from different countries. We started on Monday and the concerts were on Saturday, as it happens in many festivals where not just the quality of the music is the main goal, but also the way the team works to obtain results, the efficiency of the rehearsals, the commitment of the group, in order to get the best of everything in a very short time.

I write “choir”, in quotation marks, because the first day is just a group of singers, some had sung together, others come from different choirs, others just like to sing but all of them are there to work, learn and give their experience to build together a choir in few days, while learning a repertoire that does not belong to their culture.

The ateliers in a festival are the best showcase of what a choir is. They are a challenge for the conductor and for the group, but the most beautiful experience of a festival is to be part of a living transformation, where a group of singers offer their confidence and merge their individualities so as to create a new collective identity with the contribution of everyone. Voices, movements, pronunciation, body expression, memory, feelings and the respect for the effort of the others, all this and more in an atmosphere of joy and companionship we witnessed during those days.

I give thanks to all the singers and to the organizers. And my affection to the excellent conductors with whom I had the pleasure to share that unforgettable week: Roberta Paraninfo (IT), Stephanie Miceli (GER), Jan Schumacher (GER) and Walt Whitman (USA).

Image: Alpe Adria Cantat 2010 Latin-American choral music Atelier Group