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Gabe Glass

Guten tag! Es ist ein shoenen tag hier in Leipzig! For anyone who doesn’t know what that says, good day! It is a beautiful day here in Leipzig! Forgive me if my wording, spelling, or usage is wrong, it’s been awhile. Anyway, it’s Gabe again, ready to tell you all about day three in Germany. Not only did we get to tour around a quaint little town, but we also had our first performance tonight, so there is a lot to talk about.

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this in past posts, but the breakfasts provided by the hotel are absolutely amazing. It beats the continental breakfast any day! Many different types of breads and cold cuts are found in the buffet style breakfasts, along with cheese, tomatoes, cucumbers, hardboiled eggs, and the most important part of the whole line-up: Nutella! If you’re not sure what that is, it’s a hazelnut-chocolate spread, great on breads, sandwiches, or even just plain. There’s also single cup latte machines, and many other options. It’s a great way to start the day, providing a nice jumpstart into whatever activities might be going on, including a trip to Naumburg, Germany, a nearby city that has been around for almost 1,000 years.

The city of Naumburg was definitely an unexpected adventure. Driving the hour or so out into the country to find Naumburg had me and possibly others feeling unsure about how thrilling this tour would be. It turns out that I would be pleasantly surprised as we walked around the city learning about its rich history mainly through its architecture. The city has gained the titles of “the Cathedral Town of Naumburg” or “the Town of the Stone Wonders.” The names were pinned to Naumburg because of its many cathedrals scattered throughout the city, one of which we had the privilege of going into.

Entering the Saint Peter and Paul Cathedral was quite a wonder. As explained on our tour, much of the original cathedral was there, along with renovations that were added by wealthy benefactors. The only downside was that pictures were not allowed to be taken without signing an agreement first, which was five euros. Regardless, the chance to see a cathedral inside and out that is almost 1,000 years old was amazing. After the tours, it was a quick brat from a vendor on the streets, then back on the bus to quickly get to rehearsal!

Rehearsing with the Leipzig Baroque Orchestra has been an honor, due to their professionalism and the fantastic music they produce. There are only about 16 members, but the sound they produce would make you think otherwise. Working with professionals is something that I haven’t had much experience with, so while in Germany working so closely with them, I am taking in as much as I can, as well as giving back.

Before I talk about our first performance, let’s talk about dinner! It was another provided meal, about a 10-minute walk away from the church where our performance was to be held. Dinner was before our performance, so it was somewhat earlier in the evening, and it was another higher-class restaurant. First we were served a vegetable appetizer, which included eggplant, zucchini, red pepper, yellow pepper, artichoke and a couple slices of bread, all garnished with a balsamic demi-glaze. The vegetables were all grilled, which made them taste absolutely fantastic! The main course was a pot roast type meat, which was extremely tender, swimming in a tomato curry sauce, coupled with roasted potatoes. The meat was exceptional, the sauce was very well seasoned, and the potatoes were the perfect balance of firm and soft. After that it was all topped off with a delicious chocolate mousse, garnished with fresh whipped cream and a large mint leaf. An excellent meal, yes, but simply a precursor to an even more fantastic first concert!

Although the crowd was few in number, only amounting to about 20 to 30, something magical happened during this first performance. I don’t know if it was the atmosphere of Germany, or the church, or both, but we as a choir achieved something we hadn’t in this past year. It was as if we found a new confidence and a new focus, which was in my opinion, crystal clear in our sound. During devotions right before our concert, Mark Johanson spoke about how music was a universal language that all can appreciate. This truly spoke to me, and I can assume it spoke to the others as well, because although we sang in many different languages including English, German, Spanish and French, we were able to share our emotions that we had towards our music, our practice and our ensemble with the crowd that was there. It’s really an amazing honor to sing in the Valparaiso University Chorale, not only because it’s fun and a good choir, but because I get to share my music with my fellow musicians, and with people from all of the world.

So tonight marked one performance down, with many more to come. With the way it went tonight, I’m sure it can only get better as our tour continues, and as the saying goes, “you can only go up from here.” I’m sure you’ll hear more from me about our performances, dining, sightseeing and growth as we continue on our journey here in Germany, but for now, this is Gabe Glass signing off for now, wishing everyone a goodnight, and don’t forget to keep reading!

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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.)