Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Phantom of the Choir

In a previous post, I mentioned singing in the choir of the Jewish Community in Oradea. In fact, this period is worth more than a mention, as I sang there ever since I remember myself as a little girl until I left Romania in 1981. This choir attracted many young (and old) singers along the years, while its sheer existence was and still is a miracle, after most Jews left Oradea after WWII and  gradually till the revolution in 1989.

I loved being part of the community, singing songs on festivals and holidays for the community members, and touring on Hanukka and meeting Jewish youngsters from other Transylvanian cities. One of my strongest memories is the Kol Nidrey tunes we sang with the cantor and pipe organ on Yom Kippur. As if I knew how much I'll miss this, I recorded the entire evening on a casette, but with my moving to Israel, the casette was unfortunately lost.

During the last 30 years, I sang some tunes for my children, until I myself questioned the existence of these different tunes in the gloomy past. It felt like I was the only one on Earth still singing them. Last week, a choir member whom I haven't met for 30 years, came to visit and brought me a CD recorded by the choir. What an intravenous shot of pure nostalgia!

Thanks to my recent choir experience and learning, I am now a critical listener. I can hear the imperfections in the singing, breathing, attacks, scooping and the cover-ups by the accordion accompaniment, but that is not the point of this music. It brought back one of my best childhood memories and for that I am thankful.


Miriam Drori said...

That's beautiful! How lovely to get this memory of a former life.

Jeff Meshel said...

Nothing like singing. It's the best.