Leise rieselt der Schnee

On a recent snowy evening this word nerd and a couple of soprano pals sang at an old people’s home with guitar and mandolin. Most of the music was in English, but towards the end we broke into some German carols, which were well received by the German-speaking audience.

Why am I talking about Christmas carols? Because this event was an example of a story which started out ticking all the dramatic boxes: The Players arrive, The Players prepare and warm up, The Audience await with bated breath… But as the curtain was raised, the whole thing headed off in a completely random direction.It was great fun to see people’s faces light up in recognition of a tune, but there was a certain amount of generally disinhibited commentary and humming during the performance. One elderly woman decided she’d had enough and left, only to return to walk determinedly across the ‘stage’ in front of us. When gently re-directed by a carer, she turned and announced loudly (in German) that she will go that way if she so chooses, thank you very much.

At the time, Dear English Pal and friend were battling Pur Ti Miro from Monteverdi’s Poppea, and I must say it made for quite a dramatic moment as they paused to catch their breath. This word nerd was having a hard time holding back the giggles.

On a side note, a few weeks ago an aged local emerged as we were taking publicity shots in an his front garden. (We’d asked his permission, of course – this is Switzerland.) We’d been looking for fir trees as a backdrop, as we had a performance of Christmas Carols planned for the local Weihnachtsmarkt. Incredibly, his story was that he was a retired arborist who specialises in fir trees. So what did we sing for him, in three-part harmony? O Tannenbaum, of course. I think it made his day and gave him a good story to tell over the dinner table that night.

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