Jennifer Glinzak, choral manager

I’ll admit that the reason for the lack of posts while in Perm’ was due to the fact that we made friends, and lots of them.  The quick exchange with the Pedagogical Choir led to an evening of revelry and bonding.  We drank, we ate, and we sang; completely overtaking the back room of a music bar.  This is what cultural exchanges are about – speaking 3 broken languages between two groups of people.  Who knew my two semesters of German classes would come in so handy?

IMG_4266That night was an all out party with over 60 people, roughly half and half Russian and American, singing folk songs, spirituals, and popular music from each of our countries for each other.  We even had two birthday boys – one American (Steven) and one Russian.  In talking with Steven after, it seems that this birthday will be almost impossible to beat.

The next day, we all felt it a little bit, but it was onto an exchange with the Perm’ State University choir, whose warm reception and generosity cannot be matched.  They set up a massive traditional spread for us, including pickled herring, potatoes, and bellinis ( Russian pancakes that we Americans have come to live for here).  Of course, there were the few obligatory vodka shots had by all – not a lot, trust me parents, your kids are just fine…

We too sang back and forth, mostly traditional music from both sides, but with an interjected Beatles or Billy Joel song that everyone knew.  Then we played a cute Russian game, where everyone stands in a circle and spins around one person in the middle who points with eyes closed at the ring.  At the end of a quick chant, whomever the person in the middle is pointing to has to come into the center and stand back-to-back with the pointer.  Then each turn their heads on three, if you end up facing opposite directions you hug, if you end up facing the same you kiss on the cheek (my guess is it’s really on the lips, but they made it more PC for us).

The third night in Perm’, all three groups got together at a pub/restaurant called Sol and drank, sang, and ate more.  This after party was followed by an after-after party by some who went for bellinis and karaoke.  But by 5:30AM, we were on a bus to headed to the train station to travel to Yekaterinburg.  I don’t think I’ve ever heard our choir be so quite for so long as we were on that train…


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