Hey everyone, it’s Gabe again! So today I asked Abby if I could add a post for today and she would cover the next couple of days, because I had an extremely fun and touching day that I couldn’t wait to tell you all about. Have you ever done something completely spontaneous and watched it bloom into an eye-opening, moving event? Well I was blessed to have that happen to me today as we traveled to Berlin and toured the amazing city. Breakfast was good just as it has been the last couple days, we rode on a super fast train that can go up to two-hundred miles per hour, and we had a great bus tour where we saw some German landmarks, but it wasn’t until we were let loose into the city to explore on our own that I got to really feel the power of music.
The day started early today with an 8:15 departure from our hotel. As we dragged our luggage over to the Hauptbanhof, there was nothing more on my mind than sleep. Having pretty restless nights the past couple days, I was exhausted. The train was fast, and we arrived at destination Berlin in pretty good time. From there we immediately got onto a bus and toured the city for three hours, which felt more like one. We were able to see many historical landmarks, including the biggest remaining Prussian palace, the Brandenburg Gate, and the Berlin Wall, and our tour guide also pointed out the cobblestone that was lain to show where the Berlin Wall once stood. One of our final tour stops was at a Holocaust Memorial site, very close to the Government District, where there is an “interactive sculpture.” The sort of labyrinth is made out of many stone blocks, all of varying height, placed across a span of ground that dips into the middle almost like a bowl. As you walk into the maze of stone, you feel as if the walls are closing in around you while the stones get higher, and it’s said you are supposed to feel as the Jews did as they were persecuted in concentration camps. It was definitely an amazing and sobering place to walk through, and our guide explained how there was more underneath the labyrinth. A free Holocaust Memorial exhibit was hidden beneath the field of stone, and so a small group of myself, Jacob Tewes, Bryan Lee and Bethany Ward decided to return during our free time. As soon as our tour was over and our free time began, we headed straight back to the Holocaust Memorial where soon my life, and I’m sure the others’ lives as well, would be touched.
The four of us had originally planned on going straight to the underground exhibit and then continuing on to other plans we had for the rest of our free time. This idea was thrown out as soon as we began our descent through the stone. Tewes and I had walked through the stone maze earlier when our tour guide let us out for a few minutes, and as we walked, we were both moved to sing. We began to sing Hide and Seek, by Imogen Heap, and although there were only two of us, the music engrossed us and helped us truly connect with where we were walking through; a memorial to those who died in the Holocaust. Because of this feeling and the enlightenment we had felt from that short walk, Tewes and I suggested to the others in our group that we should sing as we walked towards the entrance to the exhibit. Just as Tewes and I had become lost in the music, so did we all, and we stayed in the stone while we sang a variety of different songs, ranging from Chorale tunes to hymns. When we decided to head down after singing for a good amount of time, it became clear that our purpose for returning to the Memorial was not what we had once thought. Not even half way out of the stone, we began to sing Hide and Seek just as Tewes and I had done earlier that day. Soon we began to be followed by a man, who was beginning to worry us, but we were not spread too far apart as we sang, so we kept singing. Throughout the entire song, the man continued to follow us until we all grouped together in the maze and finished the song in a solemn, beautiful chord. It was at that time that the man approached us, and we were all deeply moved.
“Excuse me, but what song was that?” the man asked. We all hesitantly gave him his answer, and we received a shocking, touching response. “Thank you, that was very beautiful, and very touching. Have a great day” and just as silently as he followed, the man went on his way. I was immediately overwhelmed with emotion. Our voices in harmony, had reached out to someone that we had no connection to, in a place where we were unannounced, unexpected, and yet still welcomed. A feeling of joy washed over us as we stood there, in silent awe of what had just occurred, and it was clear that the gifts that God had given each one of us were meant for more than just rehearsals and concerts. They were given to us to be used anywhere, anytime, for anyone who needs to hear it. To think that we affected that man’s life just by throwing together a song that we all felt moved to sing at that moment is something I will never forget. It’s the moments that we get to help others that make our efforts worthwhile, and in doing so, we can all learn to appreciate life simply because we have it. The little things that bother us or consume us are only distractions from the opportunities that present themselves to reach out to others, and truly grow as a person. But once we learn to overcome those little things and not worry so much about the trivial things in life, we can begin to experience moments like the four of us Choralians were able to share in this afternoon.
So although this post is not in depth about all the events of the day, which I apologize for, I felt it necessary to share some of my menial insight about how easily we can lose track of the important things in life. Don’t take your blessings for granted; treasure your friends, family, and time here while it lasts, and make each moment count. Share your gifts as often and with as many people as you can, and you will surely see the rewards at some unexpected times. Thanks for reading and keeping in contact with me and all of the Chorale on our travels, and if this post bored you, don’t worry because Abby will be sure to keep you in detailed contact over the next couple days! Bis spaeter!
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.)