Monday, 18 March 2013

Singing In Riyadh's Choir.

People tend to make a song and dance about living in Saudi Arabia but, really, it's not that bad once you get the hang of it.  Finding things to do in Riyadh isn't difficult either if you keep your ear to the ground or ask around.   In fact, you could quite easily collect hobbies while living here.

The thing with living in Saudi is that, because there is so little to do, once you find something to do, even though you may not normally do it back home, you're more likely to be talked into doing it here because the other option, doing nothing, will make you go La La eventually.  I've tried my hand at a couple of things since arriving in Riyadh, just because.

Case in point, one day, late last year, a lady I met at a coffee morning (great places to get info, coffee mornings) told me she sang in a choir.  She said this very nice group of people get together regularly to practice various musical pieces and, every so often, they also put on a performance or two for friends, family and complete strangers who get talked into buying tickets.

That day, I was one of those complete strangers.  So impressed was I with the fact there was a choir in Riyadh that, after attending the show which, that year, was based on movie soundtracks, I decided to join. Contact details were obtained, emails sent and next thing you know, I'm at choir practice.  That my voice was a little rusty didn't matter.  Once upon a time I used to sing in the church choir in Kaeo.  Granted, my Aunty ran the choir and, in all probability, let me in because she knew my mother can sing.  It's unfortunate the gift wasn't passed on in the genes but God loves a trier, right?  And so does the Riyadh Choral Society.

On arrival I was asked if I was a soprano, alto or something I'd never heard of.

Ummmmm..... I don't know.
So do you sing high or low?

Talk about having a voice identity crisis!
Aunty never asked me any of these questions back in Kaeo.

Do you like to sing the tune or harmonise?
Oh, I can't harmonise to save myself.
You're on this side with the tune singers then.

It occurred to me, while standing amongst the tune singers, that I actually can't sing!  Or, at least, the lack of practice over the years had seriously choked up the vocal chords.  I wasn't daunted though.  Fortunately, some years back, we fostered a group of siblings and, one of them, we enrolled in The Australian Girls Choir.  The head of the choir told us that one way you can learn how to sing is to sit amongst singers and simply tune in your ears while mouthing the words.  I fell back on that advise when, every now and then, my voice went 'Arrrgh'  not  'Tweet'.

Unfortunately, my time on Riyadh's expat choir was short lived.  Not from lack of singing ability - of course not!   Life events served to interrupt my dreams of participating fully in the Riyadh Choral Society, and I haven't quite managed to get myself back there.  I remain, however, an ardent fan of this dedicated choir and  I am always promoting their existence to other Expats I meet who have reached that point where they are wanting to contemplate more than their navel while living in Riyadh.

If, one day, you meet a stranger selling tickets to a choral show in Riyadh, buy them, go, you may find yourself inspired to bolster the choir numbers.  And if this post has inspired you, click over to  Contact a Kiwi, drop me a line and I'll send you the Riyadh Choral Society addy.

Ka Kite,

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