Spoleto Festival USA Day 2

Today is the day we got to meet the enigmatic composer, Helmut Lachenmann, himself. We met up for our morning rehearsal at the brand new Gaillard Center to run through the piece with him. None of the choir really knew what to expect, although we’d made a million conjectures as to what he’d be like. Upon walking in, this tall, charismatic German man with a scraggly salt-and-pepper beard greeted us with ceremonious waves and multiple handshakes. His charm and bright demeanor won the choir over almost immediately.

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Photo by Alicia Brozovich

Running through the opera with Lachenmann at the rehearsal was extremely helpful and slightly intimidating. He had just as many notes for us as we had questions for him. John Kennedy (no, not the late president), our director for the performance, also helped us secure parts we were unsure about.

Amusingly enough, John Kennedy and Dr. Miller showed up in matching outfits. Coincidence? We think not.

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Photo by Jacob Truby

In the afternoon we met back up with Dr. Miller at the Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Paul to solidify the parts of the opera we were still having difficulty with. The piece itself is an amalgamation of voiced, unvoiced, and a few sung German consonants. When all the parts of the choir lock in, we are collectively speaking the German text of the Hans Christian Anderson tale. However, the opera changes meter so often and the rhythms have to be so exact, that it takes a while to get the text to speak. But with a lot of hard work on our part and help from Dr. Miller, it’s really beginning to shine. The Lachenmann opera has gone from something we didn’t understand upon first encountering it, to something we can perform accurately and with pride.

That being said, we got out of the rehearsal feeling a little brain-fried and ready to enjoy some of beautiful Charleston. A few of us had planned to go for a run after rehearsal to shave off the deliciously filling Charleston food, but it was raining when we got out of rehearsal. Fortunately, that didn’t stop Fiona, Jacob T., and me from going for a jog in the refreshing rain. #SpoletoBod

After a full day of rehearsals and rain, we retired in the dorm.

About Westminster Choir

Westminster Choir is composed of students at Westminster Choir College of Rider University, a center for music study in Princeton, N.J.
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