Choir Tour to Leipzig

Gotherington Singers Leipzig Tour, concert Bad Schmiederberg
Gotherington Singers at Colditz Castle
Thursday, 4 August 2011 - Wednesday, 10 August 2011

The choir, together with partners and friends, returned yesterday from a wonderfully successful and happy tour to Leipzig. We sang to enthusiastic and appreciative audiences in the Festsaal in Bad Schmiederberg, near Leipzig, and the Loschwitz Kirche in Dresden, and were inspired by the musical heritage and tradition of both cities. Everywhere we were greeted with such friendliness, and we were all moved by the warmth of our welcome.

We loved both Leipzig and Dresden, and had plenty of time between rehearsals and concerts to explore these beautiful and historic cities. We also found time to sit and enjoy a coffee or a beer and sample the fantastic selection of cakes available in all the coffee houses!<--break->

Leipzig has countless musical connections, and a long musical history. We visited the Nicholas Kirche where the peace movement started that finally brought down the Berlin Wall and ended the cold war. Every Monday for months before the government collapsed, thousands of citizens gathered inside and in front of the church chanting "Wir sind das Volk" ("We are the people"). They lit candles and walked round the square carrying the candles, in total silence. Today this is commemorated by tiles let in to the paving stones around the church, which light up in glowing colours as darkness falls. The Nicholas Kirche also has an organ, biggest in Europe, and donated by Porsche – it is made of materials the same as Porsche cars, all steel, chrome, leather and fibreglass. We also visited the Thomas Kirche where Bach was organist and choir master and saw his tomb. Here he started his famous boys choir. Leipzig was also the home of Robert and Klara Schumann, Mendelssohn, and Wagner, to name but a few!

Our first concert was at Bad Schmiedeberg, a lovely venue up in the hills. We rehearsed in the Festsaal, while the men went off for a beer. Bad Schmiederberg is a very pretty place, once a sanatorium, and now a place of convalescence.  The Festsaal is a beautiful venue in the art nouveau style, and we were made to feel very welcome. Our concert was a huge success, and with all the choir singing scrambled our sound was fantastic. Michael our accompanist, gave a wonderful introduction in fluent German, which set the scene for the audience, and they applauded him enthusiastically! So did we!  We had our first standing ovation, and many wonderful comments afterwards from our appreciative audience.

“There was darkness and you brought light.”
“You sing with your hearts, not just your voices.”
“So exciting!”
“It was like massage for the soul.”

As always, our loyal band of followers -  husbands, partners, friends and  fans did us proud, and we were so glad to have them there with us.

Saturday was a day with no concert, so we were free to explore. Some members stayed in Leipzig, visiting the wonderful museums – The Bach Museum, Mendelssohn Museum, Musical Instrument Museum, and the house where Schumann lived with his wife Klara. There were also plenty of opportunities to sit and enjoy a coffee or a beer in one of the many atmospheric coffee houses, and no shortage of fantastic cakes to sample! Others went to Colditz Castle, the WW2 POW camp, where we had a wonderful guided tour, full of interest and stories of courage and daring. There were many photo opportunities. The weather was superb, and we all had a great day. 

Our second concert was in Dresden. We transferred by coach after breakfast, and had the morning free to explore Dresden, another lovely city full of fantastic buildings and architecture, and now completely rebuilt and restored after the bombing in 1945. Some of the choir went on a horse-drawn tram in the rain, and sang “A Little Night Music” to friends on the pavement!

We had a wonderful concert in Loschwitz Kirche, if possible even better and more warmly received than our first one. Afterwards we were all given medals as mementoes of our visit, and Margaret and Michael were presented with a single rose each! One of the comments after the concert was “It’s not only young voices that are beautiful.”

Click here for more photos of the tour