19 - 23 July 2022

Novi Sad, Serbia

It was with joy that we welcomed the news that in July we will be participating in the Singing Bridges Festival in Serbia, in Novi Sad, which is this year's European capital of culture.

What an honor and happiness. We didn't waste time and immediately planned annual vacations to fit in with the festival. We eagerly awaited the day of departure, because we knew that it was something new, exciting, that we had not yet experienced. We were looking forward to meeting other choirs and singing together, sightseeing in Novi Sad, having beer in Lazo’s Salaš, meeting relatives...

When the day of departure finally came, our excitement and desire to travel was not dampened by the fact that the male part of the choir could not go. It was not easy for Vanja, our conductor, to restrain 21 "naughty, curious, singing sheep". The trip went according to plan. Quite tired, (after all, we are a 50+ choir) we arrived at the fabulous concert of the Apollo 5 group in the Synagogue. The magical sounds of their singing made our tiredness completely disappear and a feeling of happiness overwhelmed us. We fell asleep after midnight.

In the morning, we met the friendly hosts at the "Isidor Bajić" music school, who gave us credentials and directed us to the A1 workshop with tambura players. Milan Radišić, a conductor from Sombor, welcomed us. This was followed by a short introduction and a playful choirmaster, the young man from Sombor started the rehearsal by giving each other a short massage in a circle, with lots of laughter and humorous comments. And then came the singing. We all liked the massage, so we suggested to Vanja that we also introduce massages to our rehearsals. Our workshop included singers from Plovdiv, Bulgaria, singers from Ljubljana, singers from Poland and several singers from Novi Sad. The beautiful company was filled perfectly when our conductor Vanja joined us as a singer. So we sang together with her like we used to when she came to sing in the Slovenian choir.

We had a workshop for two days and on the second day in the afternoon we had a performance in the amazing building of the Novi Sad Synagogue. Thanks to the incredible energy and skill of our conductor, who, in a way known only to her, instilled confidence in us, we managed to overcome our nervousness and relaxed and enjoyed singing in the magnificent atmosphere of the Synagogue. We also had the support of the audience, who did not spare their hands. The atmosphere was great, and we were overjoyed and proud that everything turned out that way. It's really hard to put into words that special feeling when a lot of people casually sing "Songs and wine make us happy, our Vojvodina is happy" and that sounds fantastic.

I think that we will remember this festival for a long time because of the great energy of conductors, singers, and the audience. Well, everything was perfect.

Ljiljana Memon

Translation Ana Marjanović