Sevcik's Blog

A year in Cairo Egypt

Monday, May 22, 2006

Cairo Choral Society

This spring I joined the Cairo Choral Society, full of mostly ex-pats from Europe and America living in Cairo and wanting to sing semi-professionally again. In December Teri and I went to their Christmas concert (where they sang the Messiah) and it was completely wonderful and one of the most spiritual events for me during that time of the year. Well, Teri got the idea that we should join the choir. Ha! Join THAT choir?! Sure, Teri, who has great musical background, could think of it, but certainly not me. I've never had a trained voice before, and the first choir I have ever been in was last year with my home church. But, Teri wouldn't give up, and kept telling me I'd be just fine. Finally I said, okay, I'll go for the first night, but I'm probably not going to sing and I'll just go there for you.

That was back in January. We went to the first practice and I was scared out of my mind. The practice was 2 1/2 hours long and we started with all these breathing techniques I didn't know or understand and all these scale practices that I couldn't figure out. The director was intense (still is). We stood next to the woman who ended up being our soloist for the concert. We didn't know anyone, but everyone seemed to do the ex-pat-Cairo thing; that is, join something and be INTENSE about it. That first night we had to sign up and we were given a couple sheets of information about the choir--the concert dress code, the choir dues, the names of the people on The Board. For Le 150 we could join the choir, and that money helped pay for the ORCHESTRA that would play with us for the concert. We were given music and noticed almost all of our pieces were in German. Yikes. Oh, and some French and Latin. So, not only do I need to learn how to carry I tune, I need to learn to speak another language at the same time. Wow. Scary.

Somehow Teri convinced me to keep trying it, even though that first night I don't think more than a couple sounds left my lips. I didn't want anyone to know I really couldn't sing and certainly didn't belong in this choral society. I've always loved singing, but I've also always been self-conscious about it. Anyhow, Teri was a good support and told me of course I could sing, and she would know--after all, she does know what she is talking about.

So, four months later and a lot of long singing practices, it was time for the concert this past week. By this point I just thought it was a success that I could sing for more than two hours and not go home with a sore throat. Well, the concert was AWESOME! After a couple days of dress rehearsal and some set-backs (such as our hired tenor soloist backing out the night before the concert--our director has never seen anything like it!) we held two concerts; one at the American University in Cairo and the other at All Saints Cathedral in Zamalak. And Teri told me I was GOOD at singing. Yes, really pretty good, in fact. Darn tootin' sweetness.

I invited six of my St. Andrew's teen students to attend the first concert, and they all showed up, some bringing a cousin or two. They all said they've never seen anything like it--none had been to a music concert. We went out for some ice cream afterwards too. Such a great time! After the second concert the choir was invited to a home of one of the deans at AUC to celebrate with food and friends. I made zucchini bread and received compliments on it all night, mostly people talking about it without knowing I made it. People were trying to figure out how to make it and suggesting it to other people. The word "tremendous" was even used. Oh, what a great night!

The songs we sang:

"O Nuit" -Jean-Phillippe Rameau
"O sing unto the Lord a new song" -Henry Purcell
"Cantata No. 34" -J.S. Bach
~O ewiges Feuer, o Ursprung der Liebe
"Regina Coeli, KV 276" -Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
"Die Harmonie in der Ehe" -Franz Joseph Haydn
"Der Greis" -Franz Joseph Haydn
"Die Beredsamkeit" -Franz Joseph Haydn
"Mirjam's Siegesgesang" -Franz Schubert


  • At 4/30/2008, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I just moved to Cairo from Finland and would love to join the Cairo Choral Society. Could you email me at and tell me how to do that?

  • At 5/12/2008, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I am doing an internship here in Cairo and I would love to join the Cairo Choral Society, too. Could you email me at

  • At 11/27/2008, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    hi there

    could you please let me know how i can join the cairo choral society?

    thanks a lot :)

  • At 4/19/2009, Anonymous Anonymous said…


    am moving to Cairo shortly. could you give me an e-mail address for the Cairo Choral society so I can find out what they are singing next?

  • At 8/18/2010, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    i am also moving to cairo shortly and would love to sing in this group. could you help me with this?
    my email is

  • At 4/28/2011, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    hi~ that's so fun. could you please let me know how i can join the cairo choral society? plz give me information

  • At 5/27/2011, Anonymous Anne Ogrady said…

    If you want to join, just come along to one of our rehearsals. We shall be starting our rehearsals again in September and are planning to sing Brahms' Requiem in early December. Rehearsal date and location will be posted on our Facebook page or on the AUC website nearer the time.

  • At 1/02/2012, Anonymous Kitchen Benchtops said…

    The cairo choral society, in conjunction with the american university in cairo and the diocese of egypt.


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