On December 4th the whole ECLA community gathered for the traditional Christmas celebration, which included a performance of the ECLA choir and a festive dinner.
Already in the days prior to the celebration, Christmas trees and colorful decorations had made their way into each of the buildings on the campus, including the cafeteria and student dorms.
Perhaps, some of us felt it was too early for a Christmas celebration, either because – as in my case— the smell of the conifers reminded me of holidays at home and of childhood, or because, in general, such merrymaking avant la lettre would of course be a moment of relaxation, but would still cause some confusion in our perception of time, being that it was right before the final week of the Autumn term. But these were only covert ways to anticipate what proved to be a really vibrant celebration.
At 6 PM everybody assembled in the common room of one of the student dorms, which on the occasion transformed into a mini concert-hall, for the performance of the choir conducted by ECLA’s Choir Director and Vocal Instructor Yvonne Frazier.
The concert programme included Bach (such as Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben), as well as anonymous but mesmerizing carols (such as The Holly and the Ivy). There were solos and ensembles. There were English, German and Latin lyrics. But, more than that, there were seven wonderful voices which sounded a bit different than what they usually are, in seminars or during breaks in the cafeteria.
Yvonne’s short introduction to the pieces acted as interludes and described the different histories and backgrounds of the carols (for instance, the different versions of Jingle Bells that preceded the well-known version).
After the musical performance we hastened to the Cafeteria, where our Chef Stefan Will and his staff had prepared a very special Christmas dinner. Just like at the choir performance, I really felt that the Christmas atmosphere is not really dependent on the day that you celebrate. The dim lights of candles and the garlands, a glass of wine and a delicious meal (for which Crème brûlée and Kaiserschmarrn were a perfect conclusion)—all of these details are also a part of what one may consider a true celebration.
One very special moment during the dinner was the Secret Santa procedure. On the suggestion of one of the first-year students, Zachary Barnett, each participant, both students and faculty, bought a present for someone else, on the condition of complete anonymity (thus, in the end, each becomes a Secret Santa for someone else).
When someone dressed up as a Santa came in to distribute the presents, I saw that everyone involved was really nervous and excited; everybody thought of two things: What present did I get and from whom? and Will the receiver of my gift like it?
But this was not to be the end of our joyful Sunday evening. Late in the night the sound of guitars and of voices trying to synchronize to sing songs from The Killers or Bob Dylan could still be heard on Waldstrasse.
by Aurelia Cojocaru (2nd year BA, Moldova)