Something you do with your choir that others might find bizarre or strange!
In our warm-up routines, I play a popular song on the loudspeakers, and we dance and make special figures that warm up our body prior to singing. Our rehearsals are also usually full of jokes and funny dialog between voice groups. There isn’t a rehearsal which we don’t have a smile on our faces! 🙂 See for yourself!
How does your choir bond as a group?
Through social activities such as attending other choirs’ concerts, various cultural activities and organizing music camps all together. Polyphonic music brought us together but our sociability keeps us together.
What is something you do in rehearsals that surprises new members?
Social interaction games. These include forming groups by the color of the eyes without talking, trying to learn each other’s name while singing your own name, etc… These games are designed to allow strangers to get to know each other faster and in a fun way. They help our new members to get to know and warm up to other choir members.
A turning point in the life of your choir?
When we founded the choir, our goal was to have a concert abroad within 6 months. Since we were a young choir, it was very difficult and most of us were a little bit unsure if we could accomplish that. Finally, we overcame all the obstacles and took the road for Georgia. That was when everybody in the choir knew that we could accomplish anything we set our mind to.
Any emotional moments in rehearsal?
For the final rehearsal of our very first concert, we went to the concert hall at Zakaria Paliashvili State School where we’d be performing. Right after we stood on the stage and started singing our first song, we just stopped. It was the first time we heard the choir’s voice in such an acoustically-“alive” space. We all looked at one another and we were able the see our mutual amazement . Here is a video from the concert, singing a piece called ‘Aygız’.
A challenging performance and how you faced it.
Last year we had a special concert for the National Organization for Visually Disabled (6 Nokta Körler Derneği in Turkish). We held the concert in total darkness, thereby, disabling our most dominant sense of sight and putting the focus on sound to empathize with the audience. Since there were no lights on though, I conducted with glow sticks in my hands so the choir could still follow. Here’s a brief glimpse!
An unforgettable moment you had in a performance?
During a concert in Ohrid, one of our choir members proposed to another choir member. It was very special and emotional to everyone since we all know and love both of the singers very much.
A favorite piece of repertoire & why
Our favorite repertoire is probably one of my own arrangements: “Hababam”. The original song is the soundtrack a favorite old Turkish movie series. We all loved the original tune very much, but it had no polyphonic arrangements for choirs. When I wrote the arrangement, the choir loved it right from the start. Check it out!
What is your audition process?
We audition for the musical talent, not skills. Every candidate tries to repeat the sounds and short melodies that I play on the piano. If they succeed, they begin their 2 month trial. After 2 months if fulfill the requirements (discipline, adaptation, etc..) they become a full fledged member of the choir.
A favorite inspirational quote
Young Composer: “Herr Mozart, I am thinking of writing a symphony. How should I get started?”
Mozart: “A symphony is a very complex musical form and you are still young. Perhaps you should start with something simpler, like a concerto.”
Young Composer: “But Herr Mozart, you were writing symphonies when you were 8 years old.”
Mozart: “Yes, but I never asked anyone how.”