Some might be surprised to find out, but I sang in concert choir in high school. It was full of personalities, so to speak, and always had some drama going on. Most of us (self included) had voices of indifferent quality at best. And we were hormonal teenagers who were often too distracted to follow instructions properly, much less throw heart and soul into making wonderful music. But our director was an amazing fellow who took less-than-ideal ingredients and mixed them into magic. It was great fun. And there’s something wonderful about turning words into a rich, flowing sound that fills every cranny of an auditorium.
We could have used better outfits, though. Our men looked like cheap Vegas best men and the ladies looked like they’d just stepped out of a production of Macbeth, still holding the ladle for stirring cauldrons and cackling. New outfits weren’t in our stars, though – not a small town high school concert choir competing for microscopic funds against the football team.
So when one of our own turns out to be a member of a choir that’s looking to get new uniforms, of course I want to help! You can, too. They’re doing a sort of Latvian version of a Kickstarter, but in this case, you don’t have to donate dollars, just vote. You’ll need a cell phone, because this site texts you a code to use, and it’s in Latvian, so you’ll need RQ to guide you through, but it’s not terribly difficult.
First, a song for motivational purposes.
RQ says that’s a “Latvian epic poem about dead heroes rising again, classic Latvian choir fare and a favourite at any possible venue, no matter how badly performed – one of those songs everyone thinks they know by memory until they actually have to sing it.”
Right. That should have you warmed up a bit. Let’s move on to a “traditional Latvian song about bread and working hard to get it.” We can all identify, even if we don’t understand a word, right?
Right? Now, let’s have “Latvia’s unofficial national anthem, traditional song about going home and getting the girl – now a drinking song because it’s fun to sing off-key.” I like a song that’s fun to sing off-key, because despite the concert choir training twenty years ago, I am still better at singing off-key…
Okay, that should have you thoroughly ready to jump on a Latvian site and attempt to upvote RQ’s choir, I hope. Here’s what to do:
CLICK HERE: http://www.labiedarbi.lv/lv/balso_par_projektu/atbalsts-jauniesu-kora-sonore-koncertterpu-susanas-pabeigsanai.html . The column in orange on the right – where it says ‘Valsts:’, select country of origin [ASV for Americans]; where it says ‘Numurs:’, enter your mobile (cell) number (the country code changes automatically when you select your respective location); then press the button that says ‘Saņemt kodu (bezmaksas)’. That means ‘Receive code (free)’. The site has all the usual assurances about not sharing your cell number with third parties and secure connections and all that, in case anyone’s interested. Then they’ll send you a code that you have to enter in order to vote, and when THAT happens, you’ll notice a new, empty fields with the title ‘Kods:’ will have appeared; enter the code, and hit the button ‘Balsot!’ (‘Vote!’).
Everyone who does so has my eternal gratitude, as well as an invitation to the Canadian-Latvian Song and Dance Festival in Hamilton, Canada* in 2014 (my choir are the officially invited choir from Latvia for that particular year). You can all come to the Latvian festival, which is next year, here, in Riga, Latvia, and if we have the (a) house by then, we might be able to put you up (if nobody minds putting up with 3 active children on a vacation :P ). It’s a small country but there’s lot of interesting things to see (including some geology that I used to think was rather boring but turns out it isn’t so much).
See? Pretty simple. Of course, when I tried, I didn’t get the text, but I have crappy pre-paid service, so your mileage will probably vary, especially if you’re in Europe.
For those who would like more music from RQ’s choir: “try http://www.draugiem.lv/sonore/ . The playlist is on the right side, go nuts. I recommend, from that list, items 3, 4, 5 and 6 – just because they’re Latvian songs by Latvian composers. The others are pretty heavy, technical fare.”
Those of us who have fond memories of our concert choirs probably began salivating gently at the “heavy, technical fare” bit. Go. Vote. Listen. Enjoy! And join me in planning to get a passport and head up to Canada, if not save some pennies and get the hell over to Latvia. Geology and music, plus new uniforms we helped them get? Brilliant!
*RQ adds, “By the way, the Hamilton area has some neat geology, for some added incentive… It’s right on the Niagara Escarpment (of which the Falls are only a part), which is full of all kinds of trails and stuff, and I have no doubt that it is full of geological and other nature discoveries. :)”