In April 2011 I participated in the Aarhus Vocal Festival in Denmark and had a wonderful time. Afterwards, Florian Städtler, one of Europe’s leading a cappella advocates, invited participants to add their 10 favourite Aarhus moments to his Vocal Blog, which I happily did. He gave me permission to repost my contribution here. As you’ve probably noticed, this is in English, because of the international character of the festival. All the names you see below are people in the a cappella scene, from vocal groups such as The Swingle Singers, Pust, The New Vox North, Basix and The House Jacks.

Let me start by saying that the whole festival was one of the highlights of my life. I’ll never forget the wonderful time I had and I hope I’ll always be able to recall the way I felt doing the workshops and listening to the concerts; totally free, happy and inspired!

Here are my 10 favourite moments, in no particular order.

  1. Meeting all the Twitter people I had been anticipating the festival with. (btw thank you, Rogier IJmker, for awakening my curiosity with your “I’ve booked my ticket to #aavf” tweet.) Also, getting to meet all kinds of lovely singing people during the tasty and healthy meals. (Do I get away with putting three faves in one here?) 😉
  2. Hearing Vocal Line live for the first time and being totally blown away by them. There are choirs and choirs, and then there’s Vocal Line. I want some of what they have for all the choirs I get to coach.
  3. Bobby McFerrin’s masterclass, all the personal and professional things he shared with us (“I sing with the voice I have in that moment.”), and of course, standing next to him while singing a Circle Song with the fantastic “New Vox North”.
  4. The New Vox North’s performance. I still get goose bumps just thinking about it, and I’ve tried to put in words how they sounded and how I felt during it, but I simply can’t.
  5. Opening night with Papaya (oh, the energy!), PUST (folk sounds ftw!) and Postyr (daring stuff!). At that moment I realised the whole weekend was going to be totally awesome (a word I never use, but it’s the only one that fits.).
  6. The PUST workshop by Elisabeth and Haavard. I especially loved to experience a different way of working, some of which I’ll certainly be using during my own workshops!
  7. Learning several songs during the open singing on Friday afternoon. Again, I was thrilled with the highly effective way Morten en Malene taught us the songs. Inspiring!
  8. Kristian’s duet with Bobby McFerrin. So moving and such fun to watch! Yes to the moment, indeed!
  9. The improvisation workshop led by Kristian. His calm, reassuring way ensured that everyone ended up improvising freely and con gusto! For myself it was quite heady to be improvising and simply loving it. Again, yes to the moment!
  10. Getting to jam with Jake Moulton, Tobias Hug, Haavard Gravdal and the lovely Clare Wheeler, and of course a whole bunch of fellow participants I don’t know by name. It was addictive!

Thank you, Florian, for giving me the opportunity to relive all those wonderful moments. And for being our Vocal Advocate! I had two more favourite moments, which I’ll simply share, because you can’t stop me. 😉 11. When Jake Moulton demonstrated his art without the help of a microphone and I realised how incredibly soft and vulnerable the sound was. 12. The workshop given by Nils and Anders and the fun we had singing High on Life in the Slow Lane. Which is what I want to be. Always.

Big hugs to Jens and Jim. Thank you for a wonderful experience!