Remember how last year I joined a Musikverein and got to play in a band and hang out with some pretty great people! Well every year they put out a magazine about the goings-on of the Musikverein. And after my year with the group, they asked me to give an interview for it.
They mailed me the finished magazine and when I got it, I felt like my own personal celebrity all day (I mean, check out how big that headshot is!), so I thought I'd share it with you!
Hello Emily, Tell us first of all, where you're from and how you ended up in Germany, particularly Forchheim:
I'm from Watkinsville, GA in the southeast USA. I studied German at college in Georgia and did an exchange to Zurich four years ago. Since then I've always wanted to come back to Europe. I applied to be an ETA in Germany and was placed in Forchheim.
Do you like it in Germany? If yes, what do you like in particular, since you've visited lots of cities in our country:
Of course I like in Germany (I'm staying for another year if that's proof). I've tried to explain what exactly I like about Germany a thousand times, but I don't know if I've ever actually been able to. Maybe it's a lot of little thing that are completely normal to Germans, but are really interesting to me as an American. For example, I love riding trains. I've only ever ridden a train once in the US. So I think it's really cool that I can travel all over Germany without a car. The culture and traditions in Germany are also interesting to Americans. And I also like that I can speak German everyday.
And what did you think of the people in Franconia? People say we tend to be standoffish:
Hmmm, difficult question! I actually expected the people in Franconia to be more Standoffish, because I had heard a little from friends at home (I have a few friends who have done an exchange year in Franconia). At first, yeah, it was a little difficult to meet people, but the people I know now are all very open, fun and nice people!
How did you find our Musikverein?
A teacher from Ehrenbürg Gymnasium in Forchheim, Heidi Siegried, suggested the MVB to me and brought me to my first rehearsal.
Are there musical differences between Germany and the USA?
Actually there isn't that much! I always though in the rehearsals "yeah, we do exactly that at home!" Even the jokes are the same!
Was it difficult, because of the language, to follow the different directors here? Sometimes it gets really fast, or a lot of Franconian phrases are used:
Honestly, it really surprised me how much I understood at the rehearsals. Even if I didn't know a word before, I could recognize it right away from the context. At first, I was really confused by the (I don't know how I should say it) the letter-words for rehearsal letters (Anton, Berta, Cäsar, etc.).
Our little horn section was really excited you were there, because our director can never get enough of their sound, and now all four horn parts were being played! How long have you played horn?
I started when I was 11 years old. So that was about 13 years ago.
What kind of music did you play at home in Georgia?
The biggest difference with the music is probably the marches. We play a lot of marches from American composers. For example, J.P. Sousa. Aside from that, we actually play basically play the same pieces. The Junior orchestra, for example, played "The Great Locomotive Chase" at their concert. A piece that was originally written for a band in Georgia!
Was there a club there, that you played in?
In the US, there aren't really music clubs like in Germany. We do almost everything at school. So I always played in the school band or marching band.
Tell us Emily, was there a moment, when you thought "Oh my God, where am I?!" when yes, which moment?
Only once, and I thought it in a positive way. It was after the new year, when we celebrated at the restaurant Schwane in Forchheim. For hours, we sang fun German songs (e.g. Vogelbeerbaum). That's something we would never do in the US. It was really a great night!
And what was the best experience for you in our Musikverein?
Of course I have to say the camping trip! I don't know what - more clearly - I can say, it was simply an entire week of fun. I got to know lots of people I had already met a lot better, and they got to know me better. And to those that were there, I have to say "Cheers, Governor!"
What will always come to mind when you think of the MVB later?
Even if I forgot all the experience and people (don't worry, that will never happen!), I would always remember that playing with the MVB was the best thing I did this year!
And what will you do next?
For the next school year (2011/12), I'll be working as an ETA in Dortmund. After that, even I don't know yet. Maybe I'll stay in Germany a little longer or finally head back to the US.