Berlin: The Presence of Something Greater Posted on February 14th, 2019 by

—dispatch from Aleah Felton ’20, secondary English education major

When I’m not an English ed major, I am a proud second alto in the Gustavus Choir. G Choir has afforded me so many opportunities, including my first adventure outside of the country ever! I am grateful for the valuable music and life lessons that my fellow singers and Dr. Aune have given me over the past few years, and I cannot wait to keep making incredible music with such amazing people.

During my time at Gustavus, I have never experienced anything more moving, more all-consuming than the sound that comes from the Gustavus Choir. And my feelings were all the more validated in the Berlin Cathedral Church. Although our time and performance in the space was short, I will remember what happened and how I felt for the rest of my life. I can honestly say that this space was probably one of the most beautiful spaces that we sang in during our 16 days in Europe. I have never felt so full, yet so emotional at the same time.

Anyone who has been in G Choir knows what it’s like to grab hands with the person next to you in anticipation for a rousing sing of “Praise to the Lord,” and how impossible it is to wipe that smile off your face once you have rung out the final “Amen,” using everything within you because you can’t help it. This time, however, I was met with tears instead of a smile and sobs instead of a boisterous final note. I cannot begin to describe how incredible it felt to be surrounded by not only an incredibly full and rich sound, but also a shared experience—an empathetic exchange that reached every single person. I don’t think a single person in that room could deny the presence of something greater—a feeling of love, a fullness of heart, and the fruition of song being a conduit of bringing out the very thing within us that connects us to each other and every other voice that lingers in those walls.

“How Can I Keep From Singing?” This question still lingers in my mind after these events. I realized it’s not only the music itself, but the people with whom you make that music. Generations of Gusties have been represented on this tour, and each bring their own music experiences. It is, then, all that more impactful when generations come together and experience something above and beyond—the beauty that is the emotion-evoking and joy-bringing nature of music-making.

Thank you, Berlin, for giving us this beautiful experience—we will never forget this.


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