Wednesdays are quickly becoming one of my favorite days here in France. Traditionally, high schoolers have class during the morning hours, and school closes for the afternoon (elementary schools are closed all day on Wednesdays). After a short workday, I’m usually able to leisurely eat my lunch in the half-empty cafeteria and spend the afternoon doing what I like until choir practice.
I had the luck of stumbling upon a choir several weeks ago, and I’ve been attending rehearsals ever since. It’s an independent community group, not associated with a school or church, composed mostly of adorable retirees who can’t help but make me feel at home. Every Wednesday night at eight o’clock, I am greeted by the powdery cheeks of each and every member just begging to be kissed, which takes at least fifteen minutes. The grannies warm up by marching in place and smiling at each other, then usually move on to some very silly sounding vocalizations, even for this veteran chorister. Next comes three hours (yep, you read that right) of practice. These retirees sure know how to party! I’m generally yawning through the last hour of rehearsal, but the rest of the group seems to have no problem singing until eleven at night. It’s not the most difficult of repertoire, but the group could hold its own in a Solfege competition and performs a nice mix of classical and traditional works. Mostly, I’m happy to have found an ensemble at all in this small town!
Lately, a whole contingent of assistants has joined in on the party, so the mamies and pépés have four of us young’uns to coddle and stuff with homemade cookies. They’re all so kind to us; it’s nice to have a little bit of the comforts of family here. I’m used to speaking with teenagers and middle-aged colleagues at work; being in the choir allows me to learn a whole new vocabulary and se profiter bien from the universal wisdom of the greatest generation.
And hey, the homemade desserts aren’t so bad, either.