It’s been a busy week since returning from Egypt. Within a few hours after finishing my last blog post, I found an email from the choir reminding me that we had our Easter/Spring Concert coming up in only a few days. We had two shows with the Amman Symphony Orchestra, and one of the “kid’s shows” that we’re known for throughout the city (not really, but we did have a host of orphan children that came down from the Hamzet Wussl orphanage to see us).

The choir concerts were held in the Jordan Museum, a large structure down in Wadi Abdoun within easy walking distance from my house (in fact, I can see it down below me when I stand on my roof). The building has been under construction for years with a grant from Japan, but only recently was given minor details like electricity and a roof. Just like last year’s performance in a half-constructed Maronite church, Dozan wa Awtar seems to have a talent for picking out interesting new venues that we can literally say no one has ever seen before.

We’re really lucky to have some great professionally-trained soloists with us, like Joe and Allyss. Their skill really shines in our presentation of Gabriel Faure’s “Requiem” The video of Libera Me below, courtesy of my friend Maya, really showcase’s Joe’s baritone vocal talent.

We all look pretty serious in that one. To switch things up a notch, here’s a video from our last show on Friday, where instead of black suits we’re in loose white outfits with multicolored strips of cloth all over us. The main idea of this, said our director Shireen, was that we could help the kids learn about different vocal parts by showing them visual cues. You’ll see some of the kids raising up little pieces of paper during the video; earlier in the concert one of the activities Shireen had scheduled was to raise one color when they heard men singing, and the other when they heard women. Apparently they liked that so much they decided to do it for the duration of the concert.

Yeah, that’s me in the front row, probably the first and last time I’ve been featured in that position. Being 1.9 meters tall tends to relegate you to the rear. But, I got the speaking role because I was the only male choir member who showed up to the kid’s concert planning meeting; it was me and a whole group of altos. I was apparently outvoted on what color each section should wear; in order to challenge “gender stereotypes” it was revealed that all of the manly, deep-voiced bass section would be wearing hot pink sashes. Sigh.

A few days afterward, Dan and I went down to check out the first Souq al Balad, a cooperative craft and organic food market that Entity Green is deeply involved in organizing. Surprisingly enough, it was also held in the Jordan Museum, on the other side of the courtyard where I had sung just the day before. The weather was beautiful, and with picnic tables out under the shaded and vine-covered terrace, it was like we had opened up a swanky new restaurant right there in the middle of downtown Amman.

All of my coworkers had come down before Dan and I (lucky folks with cars) and could be found browsing the selection of crafts, coffees, and natural soaps, vegetables, and honeys. Lillie, our primary organizer, was handing out flyers to visitors and Winkie could be found chatting with some of her friends and hooking together a new rug. Aaron and I sampled some amazing cheesecake (I eventually went back and bought four more slices; at a mere JD 1.25 for American-style desserts I thought I was dreaming) and some of my fellow choristers were lured by my invitations that I’d given to them during the concert rehersals (after all, they knew exactly where to go!)

SEO time! If you’re in the neighborhood, check EGT’s extremely well-designed webpage for more information and directions to the museum.

Edit: February 1, 2013: Well, the link above no longer works; the website I wrote back in 2009 has been taken down as EGT no longer does training. I’ve also fixed the videos so that they’re self-hosted, instead of using Facebook’s finicky program. Hope you don’t mind, Maya!