In each stop of the tour the Blue Lake ensembles give three performances over the course of several days: an individual choir concert, an individual symphonic concert, and then the combined performance of Haydn’s The Creation. Often times we are joined by additional groups from the local area, though this is not necessarily the case in every town.
I know that I’ve mostly shied away from featuring any pictures from any actual performances until now. I mean, after all I am here to do a job and not just saunter about Germany on a cultural and caloric feast. For the row of performances in our second town, however, the town brought out allllll the stops.
One of the main hosts and organizing entities responsible for this stay was the local Fire Brigade, who housed many of the students, set up the gymnasium in which we sang, helped load and unload the buses and generally were amazing at preparing this town of 6,500 people for mass of 150+ Americans. They even have their own band and began the first night of performances, the choir portion of the trip, with a fantastic collection of traditional German songs mixed with American jazz.
Before the Blue Lake choir we were also treated to two different local vocal groups, the Gospel Choir Kropp and an adult choir who sings popular songs in German or the northern German dialect of plattdeutsch.
Gospel choir getting’ their clap on (unfortunately on 1 and 3)
Just in case you’ve ever wanted to hear “Que sera sera” sung in German…
This first evening we were also treated to a special visit by the mayor of the town as well as the President of the state Parliament, Klaus Schlie, who gave a fantastic speech on the collaboration between our great countries and the importance of music as a universal language.
President Schlie signing the town’s official book
The Blue Lake choir is conducted by Kelli Falls and accompanied by Dr. Yoo-Jung Kim, who have done a fantastic job of preparing and leading these little chickens.
Kelli conducting, with a small ensemble at her side
They were even joined on one piece by Eric Grunkenmeyer, the staff French horn player from the orchestra and friend from a previous tour.
Eric and Dr. Kim
Not to be outdone by the President of the parliament on the first night, the second night featured an appearance and speech by Dr. Inmi Kim Patterson, U.S. Consul General to Hamburg. She was generous to take time before the concert to speak with the Blue Lakers about her job, the importance of music and the political relations between our two countries.
This evening’s performance featured the Blue Lake Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Michael Klaue, a native German who flies over to the U.S. to work specifically with the organization during the summer. Selections for the concert feature the overture to Mozart’s Die Zaubeflote, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5, and Mozart’s Exultate Jubilate and Mendelssohn’s In felice with Sabrina singing soprano.
So many flags!
Our final concert is the combination of both the choir and the orchestra, with Sabrina, Zach and I thrown in for good measure to perform The Creation. We are also joined by a choir from the town and, generally, have a new conductor for each one of the performances; however, we were lucky enough to have our very own Maestro Klaue conduct on this stop. My host dad was kind enough to snap a pictures from the balcony so I can share!
At the end of each concert it is customary for the ensembles to sing The Lord Bless You and Keep You, a kind of unofficial hymn of Blue Lake.
With Kelli Falls at the podium
Artist: Regina Spektor / What We Saw From the Cheap Seats