German newspaper covers Chorale performance

The following is a translation of an article that appeared in the Naumberger Tegeblatt newspaper on May 25. Watch a video with highlights of the ceremony online.

Festival with Singers from Valparaiso

Caption: The Valparaiso University Chorale, under the direction of Professor Christopher Cock, was part of the topping-off ceremony in Mark Zwuschen. The Americans were excited to see how such events are celebrated in Germany. (Photo: Kunze)

MARK ZWUSCHEN/MZ/HDK. - Another milestone has been reached: on Sunday a topping-out wreath was placed on the top of the small circular chapel in Mark Zwuschen.

The enthusiasm was high. The choir and the gathered congregants prayed together, sang hymns, and ended with celebratory coffee and cake baked by the women of Mark Zwuschen. The students from Valparaiso were the guests of honor. The high point of the celebration was clearly singing the hymn “Now Thank We All Our God,” sung alternately in English and German.

Pastor Thomas Meinhoff, from Seyda, was visibly pleased with the (nearly) completed construction. In his prayer he thanked everyone for their support of the ambitious project: one hundred fifty-three individuals, private firms and institutions so far. The customary celebratory verses were spoken by master roofer Andreas Werner from high up on the scaffolding. He read a total of ten stanzas, including the following: “The reverend and architect with careful thought/The blueprints for this chapel wrought.” In accordance with the longstanding tradition of the carpenters’ guild, a champange glass (empty, of course) was then shattered against the wall of the structure.

The young Americans clearly enjoyed and were entertained by these traditional German ceremonies. The choir, under the direction of Christopher Cock, showed their thankfulness for the hospitality with additional songs. This is the choir’s third tour of Germany.

The chapel was designed by the organization “Kappelle Mark Zwuschen.” The organization’s president, Heiko Meissner, was also extremely happy about the work that has been accomplished so far. The cornerstone was laid on September 5, 2009 (reported on by the MZ). “The ambitious goal we’ve set for ourselves is to have the chapel done by the fifth of September this year,” he said. 

Supervisor Michael Zwiersch, from the architectural planning bureau Peter Eule, was also on hand. “We have a great deal of experience with church restorations, but for us, a new building, and furthermore one in the shape of a circle, is a completely new event, though of course a very interesting one,” he added, with a laugh. The initial construction was done by the building film of Günter Sommer aus Schadewalde.

For Andreas Wermer from Gadegast and his workmen, it was also a matter of circles. Heavy wooden beams radiate from the middle of the roof in the shape of a star, and the roof is covered with wooden planks. After Tuesday, these will be covered with shingles by roofing master Steffan Schwarzer from Moxdorf, along with his workers. Thorsten Käßner from Seyda will be taking fourteen extra vacation days so that he can cover the walls with fieldstone. The chapel is intended to match the typical Flemish style of  church construction.

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May 20: Concert - Leipzig, Lutherkirche (7:30 p.m.)
May 23: Service - Seyda (10 a.m.) and Gentha (1 p.m.)
May 24: Concert – Rottenburg am Neckar, Wallfahrtskirche Weggental (7 p.m.)
May 25: Choral Workshop – Rottenburg am Neckar (9:30 a.m.)
May 26: Concert - Bernburg, Schlosskirche (7:30 p.m.)
May 27: Concert - Köthen, St. Agnus kirche (7:30 p.m.)
May 28 - Service - Leipzig, Thomaskirche (5 p.m.)
May 29 - Cantata - Leipzig, Thomaskirche (3 p.m.)
May 30 - Service - Leipzig, Thomaskirche 10 (a.m.)