I won’t waste your time listing the virtues of German-made socks (a very long list, mind you), or enter into a discussion about why the people in a country where many are happy to sun bathe nude in public parks make the very finest socks. Let it suffice to say that, for the past several weeks, it’s not Carolina that’s on my mind….its Germany.
There are a variety of reasons that I am suffering from my seasonal compulsion to eat sausages and drink Kinderpunch (although this year I may graduate to Gluhwein like a grown-up), and since the compulsion has been leading me to spending time planning my trip (which is not until the end of December) rather than doing things that need to be done NOW (like launching the new web site for Serate Musicali), I thought that I well, should take a moment and think.
There are some obvious reasons, probably. For example, maybe it is simply that I’m awaiting the box of CD’s from the production company for my first ever commercial CD, Weihnachtsfreude, which contains mostly German Christmas music and sports a wonderful picture of my favorite Christmas Market of all time, that in from of the BerlinKonzerthaus on the Gendarmenmarkt, and preparing for an upcoming recital of some of this music on December 3, 11:00 am, at the Mansion at Strathmore. These are good reasons to be thinking about rosti (German hash browns) and hot chocolate (no, not at the same time). And while I ecstastic that this project is finished and that the CD’s will arrive today and that I can share this music that I love so much with my friends and those who so kindly support my singing, there are some other important reasons to be thinking about my favorite German cities.
You see, it was just about a year ago that I returned from a second devastating audition trip to Germany, vowing to never ever sing opera again. It was a year ago that I was asked to sing at the funeral of a beloved member of our congregatation at Calvary Baptist Church and that while singing at that funeral (still jet-lagged out of my mind and having just barely recovered my voice from the effects of a sinus infection that had forced me to cancel my last audition) that for the first time I clearly heard the call of God in my life.
What a year it has been: struggles with my voice, struggles with my life, struggles with that call and just what it means. In the last year I have sung great oratorio works, done recitals, preached a sermon, led a service at Thomas House, started a fledgling social group, organized big and small concerts, begun my work with a spiritual director, and through all of that, come back to a place where it is okay to sing opera alongside with oratorio, as long as I sing to communicate the amazing power of God’s grace. And, most importantly, I started and completed a personal project that means so much to me: Weihnachtsfreude.
So, if you are one of the people (thank you in advance) who manages to get a copy of this musical project (hopefully it will be available on CDBaby and ITunes very soon), remember while you are listening, it’s not just Christmas music: it is the first step forward in my new life, the first tangible product of a lifetime of listening and praying and trying, and a musical gift I would never have been able to give if it was not for the events of the last year, since November 2008.
And now, if you don’t mind, I’m going to go back to planning just which Christmas markets I will visit, and thinking about sausages. It is, after all, my day off…