Leipzig, Germany: A Spiritual and Education Adventure

Posted on February 4th, 2019 by

—dispatch from Iriah Benedict ’20, music education major with a choral emphasis

Guten Tag from Leipzig, Germany! It’s been an incredible honor to be a part of the Gustavus Choir and travel to Europe again after eight years (since I last crossed the Atlantic, on a visit to the southern part of Germany). I’m glad to explore more of this country. I’ve been able to spend quality time with great people, making new friends and creating long-lasting relationships.

My time spent in Leipzig was utterly amazing and very spiritual, from the moment we stepped into the Nikolaikirche I was overwhelmed with the presence of the historical figures who walked on the very ground on which I stood—particularly in that church, Bach’s father. As I traced the footsteps of the past while walking through the halls, I imagined the days of yesteryear; the sermons preached, and past choirs. Because of who I am, I loved being in the midst of history. I’m fascinated with the topic and during our excursion every venue was an educational adventure.  

I am a religious person, and the Nikolaikirche’s service was the most spiritual service I’ve ever experienced with a school choir. My ears ringed from the vibrations of basses, tenors, and sopranos. It was a pool of sound that consumed every part of my being. Our voices were crisp and vibrant, an electric sound that was so riveting.

Although the trip to Leipzig was only two nights, I’ve had some time to reflect on their culture. I noticed (depending on the restaurant) that waiters don’t assist you to a table, instead you seat yourself. Also servers do not wear name tags or introduce themselves by name, they rather ask what you want to drink. American servers are personal and constantly checking in. During this trip, European meals were nonchalant but very time consuming, which I assume allows you time to enjoy your meal and the company you’re with. People aren’t on their phones as much, conversation is their focus or (if alone) being in the midst of humanity. I appreciated the extensive amount of time to just be, although at times my American mentality wanted to rush the process. If there was anything I learned on this trip it was to live in the now and be patient, I know it’s cheesy but the cheesiest things are the most real statements.

There’s still so much do—three other cities to see in two different countries. Although I don’t want this trip to end, I know I’ll cherish the memories made forever, and when I return to Leipzig or Prague I’ll vividly remember them.

Tschüss,

Iriah-Simone C. Benedict

 

 

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