I’m in Spain with New Dublin Voices – we’re staying in a lovely town by the sea called Garautz, and the competition is taking place in a town about 45 mins south, Tolosa. It’s the first time I’ve visited Euskadia, ‘the Basque country’.
Two of the pieces we performed yesterday in the ‘folk’ competition were in the Basque language – one of them based on folk rhythms and which proved very tough to learn by heart. The music was easy enough, and it helped to have a strong ‘earworm’ to hang the words on.
It’s funny how memorization happens. Most of the task is repetition and using as many tricks as possible to come at it from different angles, because it’s obviously necessary to do most of the learning outside the precious rehearsal time. I found the input from other choir members really useful in the past few days. Not even ‘input’, more a shared concentration – literally going over the words beside someone else doing the same thing. Sharing little ways to link phrases in the memory. There’s something about the ‘hothouse’ environment of a competition that focuses everyone.
We’ve one more rehearsal now, for a gig tonight (the competition performances are over now…results tonight).
Addendum: we got 3rd prize! 1st was a choir from Ukraine, 2nd was a French choir. Next thing on the horizon, our concert in Christ Church Cathedral on the 18th.