Leipzig, Germany: Greeted Warmly, 30 Years Later

Posted on February 4th, 2019 by

—dispatch from Melinda Moen Batz ’86

Greetings from Leipzig, Germany! I am one of the lucky few companion travelers to be not only an alumnus of Gustavus (1986), but also a former member of the Gustavus Choir. My husband Paul and I met at Gustavus and sang together in the choir. We have three children who also were Gusties and sang with the Gustavus choir as well: Ben ’12, Katie ‘13 and Anna ’18.

When the invitation arose to sing with an alumni choir as part of the Gustavus Choir European tour, my daughter Anna and I accepted without hesitation. And now, on this tour, we have literally been walking and performing in the footsteps of the Great Musical Masters throughout Europe: Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Strauss, Bach, Wagner and Mendelssohn. It is beyond humbling, and I assure you, this fact is not lost on the students in the choir.

In the last two days we performed in the two churches in Leipzig where Johann Sebastian Bach served as the Music Director (the Kapellmeister). Singing in Thomaskirche wherein resides Bach’s tomb was especially poignant. In 1983 the Gustavus Choir was scheduled to sing in Thomaskirche. It was a distinct honor considering they were a choir from the United States singing in East Germany. However, when they arrived they were denied entry. In protest, they gathered on the steps of the church and sang to the passing people. My husband Paul was a part of the choir at that time.

Now, Thirty Six years later, the Gustavus Choir and alumni returned to Thomaskirche where we were greeted warmly, and our music was very well received.

As companion travelers, we are grateful to Gustavus for providing this opportunity. To be invited to join a tour is wonderful, but to be able to sing again with the choir after 30 years is remarkable. For all who support the touring ensembles of Gustavus, thank you. The students appreciate every minute, and are shining ambassadors for the College. One person remarked to us yesterday, “I had heard the people from Minnesota were nice, but you have all proved it!”


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