Once every three years, it's nirvana for choir fans: the World Symposium on Choral Music. 2002 in Minneapolis, 2005 in Kyoto, this year in Copenhagen. This year's Symposium has 38 of the world's tightest and most creative choirs singing at the Opera House in Copenhagen this week.
My colleague Brian Newhouse is a fine singer himself, and a tremendous fan of choral music. He'll join me on the air again Friday to share some of his favorite music from the week, and here's the most recent daily update from Brian.
Every morning, the Queen of Denmark wakes up and right out her front window is this view of the Opera House across the Copenhagen harbor. She is apparently a very nice lady. A lot of her subjects sure are...from the bus driver who got off his bus to walk me across the street and point out the real bus I should've taken, to the shopkeeper who sorted through the Danish coins in my hand - some of which has holes in the middle for some inexplicable reason.
You can even walk right through the Queen's castle grounds whenever you like. (The Queen lives on the left. Denmark's most famous church, the Marble Church, lies just beyond.)
All this came to mind in a little panic just before the start of yesterday's sold-out World Choral concert at the Opera House. I got there a bit late and scanned the place and saw the only seats left were in the second balcony near the stage. I made my way there, doing my best "excuse me, please" in bad Danish. There was a little knee-high wall that separated these empty seats from the rest so I just stepped over it.
Settled into a surprisingly comfy chair, I leaned back across that little low wall and asked the gal on the other side if she knew whether these seats were taken.
"That's the Queen's box," she whispered.
Let's pause here a moment for cultural reflection. All right then. I'm sitting where the Queen of Denmark sits. Choices, what are my choices? Think...
Welcome to the inside of my brain:
Get out before Danish Secret Service hauls me out to the harbor.
Look confused. Babble in English.
Or, just sit here.
Which is what I did.
Barely breathing through the first couple numbers of the concert.
Glad to say there was no tap on the shoulder. No guy with sunglasses whispering into his wrist.
I finally settled back into that very nice royal chair, and the concert was a gas. Rajaton from Finland (think Manhattan Transfer who can also sing classical) came and wowed the audience. They're huge across Europe and now I've got a good idea why. They wrapped it up with this piece that was a hoot.
It doesn't need an intro. It's a '70s thing.
The Queen would've loved it.