Monday, September 20, 2010

A Singers' Retreat, an Open Mic, a Football game and Oktoberfest.

As usual, I am horribly behind with my blogging and have far too much to report than is possible to write on one blog post without boring you all to death, tears or some other awful fate. Instead of harping on about any number of things that I could, I will just give a few highlights of the past two weeks or so...

Last weekend I went away with the Willamette Singers on a retreat (and have been teased endlessly about "singers retreat"/ "jazz camp"/ "band camp" by church friends). Needless to say, the retreat was lots of fun. It involved plenty of rehearsal time, as well as time getting to know one another. I am really happy to be a part of this group, as it is comprised of really great guys and gals who are fun to be around, and the group singing is so much fun! I have not done serious group singing since Primary school (many years back!), and so it is really wonderful to be doing it again. The jazz melodies, rhythms and harmonies we work with are awesome...and very intricate! So it is quite a challenge keeping up with all the music. Singers comprises 16 actual singers (4 basses, 4 tenors, 4 altos, 4 sopranos) and then a small rhythm section. At the moment I am playing piano on one of the songs; I'm really glad that I get to keep up my piano playing too!

Another highlight was an Open Mic Night that happened last Thursday (the 16th) on campus, and in which I performed! I sang a Xhosa song called Yakhal Inkomo, and I think people were generally impressed with all the African clicks coming out of a white chick's mouth. :) It was fun to do a bit of performing, and I even got to do it on a piano!

On Saturday I watched my first American football game! This was certainly an experience, and probably not one that I will hurry to repeat. Jokes, that sounds terrible. But in all honesty, it did ignite the fires of patriotism within me as I longed for good South African rugby. Ja, nee... Firstly, American football is slow...tiresomely so: there is a lot of stopping and starting, and not a whole lot of movement. Secondly, there are generally between 65 to 70 people in a team, or in Willamette's case 99 players! Come on! In other words, players are constantly being switched and swapped on and off the field, so that it is near impossible to keep track of who is doing what and in which position...ahem. In addition, this means that throughout the game, the side of the field is lined with footballers, making it (at times) difficult to actually keep your eyes on the real action (for obvious reasons...wink wink, nudge nudge). And finally, the game is VERY long; it seems to go on for hours. This is why, as I was politely informed yesterday by a fanatic football fan at church in his attempts to convince me that I simply need to watch a "real" football game in order to grasp its glory, it is fun (perhaps even necessary or at least recommended) to "tailgate" in between: i.e. barbecue during, in between, and after the football game. This leads me to conclude that in many respects watching American football is all about the experience - one which eludes me for the moment, but watch this space! There is yet hope!

Yesterday consisted of church, Oktoberfest (ironic) and lots of socialising with church peeps. It seems to be fast becoming a Sunday staple to stay out all day with friends from church, and arrive home in the late hours of the night, having done not a drop of work all day. A very out-of-character habit to be adopting, but hey, I'm abroad! ;) Anyway, yesterday was no different. After church I hit Oktoberfest with Moritz (an actual German, who could not stop complaining about the inauthenticity of the whole thing - especially the misspelling of words, which I must admit was a bit of a poor show) and friends from church. It was nice to get out of Salem a bit and explore a different town (Mount Angel in this case). The town is tiny, and pretty much all the streets (of which there are probably only about four) were closed in order to house food and clothing stalls, wine and beer gardens, and other forms of entertainment and general merriment. We had lunch there and wandered around a bit, seeing what was on offer. The remainder of the afternoon was spent chilling at various homes, playing games, watching a movie, and partaking in other enjoyable activities. 

A new week has begun on my AfricanAmerican Adventure, and who knows what it may hold? :) I will probably be starting an internship this week at the Statesman Journal (one of the newspapers here in Salem). The internship is part of my Politics course (making up the bulk of it), and I look forward to getting some good practical writing experience, and discovering (or coming closer to such) whether or not journalism is a potential career path for me! (This will be most helpful in deciding what it is that I actually plan on doing next year. No pressure).

Thanks for tuning in!

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