The Choir Soap Opera
Uit de keuken van de curator

The Choir Soap Opera


Fingers Crossed!
By Gemma Medina Estupinan

With projects come challenges. Each one different and attractive…but, no way. Sometimes, the things happen just to make your life difficult and difficult!!
2 weeks ago, I live in a Soap Opera, the Choir’s Soap Opera and I am wondering to myself what will be next!!!…

Gemma Medina narrates her experiences coordinating the Choir’s recording and performance as part of the Chto Delat work, Song of the Museum Guards for the People of Eindhoven (2009). The first part is a series of fragments from Gemma’s correspondence with the Head of Collections, Christiane Berndes; and in the second part, Gemma stews a little.

From: Gemma Medina
Date: 2009/11/13
Subject: Update!
To: Christiane Berndes

Hi Chris,
Our choir’s soap opera seems that it will be a nice end.
The first choir we approached wasn’t professional enough (so our conductor said).

He says that it is really difficult to know which singers we need without first having the music. And that, after listening to it, maybe it might be impossible to find professionals with the time, who are prepared to do it for such little money or good amateurs to sing it (because it’s a difficult format for these voices). So, we have to wait till Monday, till we have the music, and then, maybe we can find somebody.

Just two choirs of amateurs could do it in Eindhoven (that are good enough): The first one, answered me that they couldn’t. The second one, they didn’t answer me.

Your friend cc-ed to me a proposal from a professional quartet from Delft, but they wanted to earn 500 euros each, excl. travel costs (impossible!) and they are just 4!!

Then I sent emails (a lot!!) to different choirs.

I found one, the Utrecht KamersKoor.

The conductor said that he could find professionals to work with us but he must act as the conductor.

He will look for the people, and Monday, he could give me the names and I’ll send to him the music and all the details. For him, the budget is OK but we should pay apart from the travel. It is OK because at this moment we still have money free from other things that were cheaper than budget (accommodation and translation to Dutch).

Now we are looking to make the video and the sound recording the same day on the 23rd. I found a specialist that could manage it.

Again, It seems like it will go on! but…let’s see what happens Monday!! hahaha

Have a nice weekend!!!! 


From: Gemma Medina
Date: 2009/11/16
Subject: Other chapter…
To: Christiane Berndes

Dear Chris,
I will be crazy at the end of this project! (hahaha, I am kidding)
We have a new chapter in our Choir´s Soap Opera.

On one side:
Dmitry won´t send us today the music. He has still to change things and he say that it will be here at Wednesday. That means, that the choir will have less time to work with the song before to do the recording.

On the other hand: the conductor of the Utrecht Kamerkoor, say that they asked some really good, smart and quick professionals whose find the work attractive but, they say that the budget is almost nothing for them. The conductor says that it will be really difficult to find someone that could and would like to do it for so little money (again with the money!). He is quite nice and says that he is looking for somebody but he thinks that it is almost impossible.

They ask at least 100 euro more for each one.

Actually, I think that it is true. There should be good professionals to do this work in so little time. And if they are professionals, they earn more money…

I calculated that with the money of rest, we have almost the amount but still we need 100 euro plus transport (I was thinking, maybe someone could go to Utrecht and pick up them and then drive back…that could be cheaper…) And I am trying to get cheaper the audio and film recording…

About the recording option, it wasn’t through the contact the museum had worked through before (I am still trying to get contact with him, because he is never at the office!) It was directly through the audio studio that often makes recordings there.

Tomorrow morning, I will be at the museum (until 12),

Maybe we could talk about it…I hope that everything will be OK and I could arrange it.

But could you still cross your fingers for us?

Best wishes

Op 18 nov 2009, om 11:21 heeft Gemma Medina Estupinan het volgende geschreven:

Sorry, Chris,

I talked with the person coordinating the recording studio in Eindhoven. He admits that it was his mistake and he is trying to get the space for us the same day (Tuesday 24th!) And I talked with the conductor, and he said that it’s OK…

I am really sorry for everything..
(but anyway, give me a moment today to talk please)


>>> Christiane Berndes 11/18/09 5:02 >>>

Gemma, you don’t need to apologize! It is great, the effort that you are doing!

Met vriendelijke groet,
Kind regards,
Christiane Berndes
Curator and Head of Collections

>>> Gemma Medina Estupinan 18-11-2009 17:16 >>>

Thanks Chris,

But it was 10 minutes before that he phoned me again, and said that it was completely impossible to use the recording zaal.

But is OK.
I am looking for studios and there are two where maybe it’s possible (I will know tomorrow) and on the other hand, I am waiting to get contact with the guy that arranged for us with the first recording studio because he has a space and he knows different places…let’s cross our finger again!!

And actually, I didn’t find the studio that you mentioned before. Could you give me the name?

Inge gave me a contact of a music specialist shop and they gave me the name of a studio.  Let’s go on!

But at least, the conductor seems more relaxed now. He thought that it would be necessary to sing without music sheets, in the audio recording too, and he was worried about the time. They have just 2 pieces of the song (they still don’t have all the song…).

I’ll let you know how it goes tomorrow!!!



Gemma Medina Estupinan
With projects come challenges. Each one different and attractive…but, no way. Sometimes, the things happen just to make your life difficult and difficult!!
For two weeks, I have lived in a Soap Opera, the Choir’s Soap Opera and I am wondering to myself what will be next!!!
Two weeks ago, I had a conductor whose should find a good choir, an studio, audio and film. WE GOT A CHOIR!!! Everything was perfect. So perfect that I had to imagine that the storm was coming.

I got an email: “Sorry, but I can not find singers to do this job. It’s really complicated and I won’t to go on”, said the conductor…the former conductor…


In just a week, I didn’t have a conductor, a choir, but I have a studio recording!

Stress, phone calls, emails (hundreds!!) and after that, a new oasis came to me. I found a conductor that promised me he would find a really professional choir. YES!!! WE HAVE A CHOIR AGAIN!!!
And yes, he did it, but it was not easy!
A week before the recordings, something happens. I have to change the date of the recordings.
I got a call of the conductor. “Sorry, but we can’t do it at this date, it’s completely impossible, you have to looking for another choir!” After 10 minutes of conversation… “OK, I will try to find someone for this date”
Uff….I could breathe again…
But WAIT !! There is a problem with the studio and the space to film. We made a reservation but it was a mistake. We couldn’t use it anymore! We had a place and later we didn’t have it. Then…I had to looking for a new studio of audio and film recording….URGENT! WE ARE LOOKING FOR A STUDIO!!

Stress, phone calls (hundreds), emails, arghhhh!!
I found a place! It is nearby the choir’s base-city. It sounds OK, easier and better for everybody…THE THINGS GOES ON!!!

Three days before the recording. The conductor said: “I can’t find the fifth singer. But don’t worry about it. If I couldn’t find it, I could sing it myself.”

Two days before: “I am still looking for”

One day before: “Nobody called me back, but for sure this night I’ll know something more”…

Recording Day: A LOT OF PROBLEMS!!!  We got lost! All the ways have constructions works (I hate the navigational system!). We were there, in the studio, the conductor was singing. Oh my god!

The choir with uncertain faces: “Is it working?” “Could you do something with this material?” The artist with a concentrated face.
After recording day (3 days before opening); Everything seems be OK. The artist showed us the videos. They are great!! BIG BREATH FOR ME!!!
2 Days before opening: The Conductor called me: “Sorry, I am sick. I won’t be there on Saturday for the opening. But I will try to find someone to replace me…”
The opening is tomorrow…and I still don’t know if it will be a happy end…but as a good Soap Opera, the end has to be exciting…
The last chapter of this story: Saturday 28th November at the Van Abbemuseum…I see you there!