Music is at home everywhere

In many congregations, singing has resumed and so have concerts. Here is a small overview of concerts and workshops in different parts of the world, showcasing that music is a universal language that speaks to the soul.

“I Am” reissued

The pop oratorio “I Am – Jesus in Word and Wonders” was written and composed to mark the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the New Apostolic Church in 2013. The lyrics were translated into English for the International Youth Convention 2019 and performed there.

The music was performed again in a divine service marking the 125th anniversary of the Dortmund district in Germany, which was celebrated a year late on 11 September because of the Covid pandemic. The approximately 100 choristers started rehearsing the pieces containing the “I am” statements of Jesus in April: “I am the bread of life”, “I am the light of the world”, “I am the door”, “I am the good shepherd”, “I am the resurrection and the life”, “I am the way and the truth and the life”, and “I am the true vine”. These are words of Jesus taken from the gospel of John in which Jesus describes Himself. The choir performed the songs at a workshop concert on 10 September and the divine service conducted by District Apostle Rainer Storck.

South Africa: Various concerts

A small choir and orchestra from the congregation Parow West delighted the residents of the St John’s Senior Home on 23 October. The songs praising the glory of God warmed the hearts of the seniors. And sharing tea and biscuits afterwards made for a lovely fellowship.

The musicians of the Lentegeur district performed a Thanksgiving concert at Lentegeur congregation on Sunday, 09 October 2022. The choir and instrumentalists wowed the audience with their elaborate performances, for example, a piano piece where 20 children and young people played simultaneously with as many electric pianos. Solo contributions and orchestral pieces rounded off the concert programme, which placed special emphasis on the promotion of young musical talent.

Silvertown Auditorium welcomed back live concerts on 15 October and did so in an environmentally friendly way. Instead of the typical sheet music, the singers used their smartphones to read the music. This gave the traditional concert of the New Apostolic Church Southern Africa a modern touch. The New Apostolic Church building in the Cape Town suburb has played host to many concerts in the past years. Sadly, the Covid-19 pandemic brought performances to a halt for close to three years. District Apostle John Kriel welcomed all who were in attendance: the Sunday School teachers from the local Apostle areas, Masakhe volunteers, and the families of the performers. As always, the choir and orchestra, and especially the children’s choir, drew enthusiastic applause. Most concert-goers will likely remember the “surround sound” the best: while the Sunday School choir performed the hymn “Why we sing”, the Young People’s Choir filled the passages of the auditorium and created what the District Apostle referred to as “a surround sound”. He summarised the event with the words, “That was just wonderful!”

Europe: Honing musical skills

In Toggenburg in Switzerland 13 organists together with three instructors worked on topics such as “Music of the Baroque and Romantic periods” and “Intonation or improvisation and chorale playing”. The students were able to showcase their skills not only on organs in New Apostolic churches, but also in Protestant and Catholic churches. The finale was an organ concert in which the performers were not hidden as usual, but could be watched on a screen.

On 8 October, people were able to listen to the children and young people from the Braunschweig district in Germany rehearse. The two groups met in the morning to rehearse and have fun together. After the full-day rehearsal, parents, grandparents, and friends came to the workshop concert. The children and young people performed pieces from the songbook “Lieder zwischen Himmel und Erde” (Songs between heaven and earth). The song “Laudato si” was clearly the most popular.

Adult choristers from Western Germany had the opportunity to learn new pieces on 5 and 6 November. Forty choir members gathered in Saarbrücken for a choir weekend with the conductor Wolf-Rüdiger Spieler. Two pieces were particular highlights: “Geistliches Lied” by Johannes Brahms and “Verleih uns Frieden” by Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy. Wolf-Rüdiger Spieler inspired the choir to excel. The rehearsals were concluded with a workshop concert.

South America: Music for an evening

More than 230 people came to the church in Plátanos, Argentina for a late afternoon concert on 30 October. The district rector welcomed the audience to the concert. On the programme were works by classical composers and songs from the New Apostolic repertoire. There was enthusiastic applause at the end of the concert, and the conductor introduced the musicians after the concert. He also explained and classified the instruments according to their families. Many of the guests were amazed by the explanation.