Voices International, an international choir composed of at least 20 different nationalities, recruits new members. The JAA Club has interviewed Jij Linster-Besch, chairperson of Voices International ASBL.
Jij tell us the background history of Voices International….
It is an international choir, whose members live in Luxembourg, for personal or work reasons. The love of singing and of music is what holds us together. It is also great to meet new people, to share very intense moments together (at concerts for example), but also to meet different cultures/nationalities/languages. We perform 2 series of concerts, one for Christmas and one in Spring.
Voices International was funded in 1997 by a very enthusiastic music director, Peggy Jenks, who was a Music teacher at the (former) American International School in Luxembourg, together with some singers, who were as enthusiastic as she was to continue together as a choir, after the school production of the musical “Oklahoma.” I myself was part of that “crazy” bunch of people.
How many nationalities do you have in the group?
That’s a very difficult question, as it changes from season to season. If I do remember well, the maximum of different nationalities we had, was around 30. (see Luxembourg’s population)
This season ( we just started ) we have already 22 different nationalities. And I believe, we will have some more.
What is the specific added value of being part of this group ?
I am myself a Luxembourger, and it is very important for me to be in such a multicultural group. We all can learn from one another, we can see Luxembourg and the world not only through our eyes, but also through the eyes of the people, who live now here, who come from a different country and maybe have some different points of view.
Besides the singing, I love to hear from them, what their home-country and culture look like.
Are there any difficulties that you have experienced because of the incredible cultural mix?
I must admit that I never had the feeling, that there were difficulties that really matter. The major difficulty may sometimes be the language, if you express your feelings like you are used to do in your country, it might offend somebody coming from a different culture. But if you are open-minded, you get along very well.
How do you become a member?
We started the rehearsals for the Spring season the 15.1. and we will accept new members until the 12.2. You just come to our rehearsal, that takes place in the International School, 36 Boulevard Pierre Dupong L-1430 Luxembourg, on Monday evening from 19-21.15 o’clock. And if you like what you see and hear, just stay with us for the season. More informations you will find on our website.
Do you need to be a good singer?
Of course you should be able to sing, preferably also sing in tune. You don’t necessarily need to read music, we have practice tracks on our website, where you can learn your part. You need to show and have commitment, to be present at the rehearsals and at the workshops, study your music at home and memorise it, as we normally don’t use our music on stage.
What are your big achievements so far?
The first thing that comes into my mind was our trip to New York, where we sang in prestigious venues such as Avery Fisher Hall and at the assembly of the United Nations, together with other choirs. We took also part in the celebration of the silver wedding anniversary of our Grand-Duc and Grand-Duchess at the Grand Théâtre, we performed in the Golden Hall of the Musikverein and in the Konzerthaus in Vienna. In Luxembourg, we did the first representation in Luxembourg of MisaTango by Martin Palmeri in 2016 and in 2017, some of the members took part in the performance of Misa Tango in Vienna, together with the composer himself.
What are the next events?
We are preparing now our concerts, that will take place in the first 2 weeks of June, together with our new director.