Europa-Jugendtag 2009

Neuapostolische Kirche - 21. bis 24. Mai 2009 in Düsseldorf

Report added 04/03/2009

Lead-in choir before the decisive general rehearsal

“It sounds simply gigantic when 1,000 youngsters give all they have!” Claudia, from Hamburg, said enthusiastically as she spoke about the LTU arena choir. The district church of North Germany will bring a special stadium choir for the divine service of the European Youth Day. It will lend musical support to the youth service and will not only sing before the 40,000 attending the divine service, but will “get everyone singing together”.

The 1,000 youth of North Germany chose this motto themselves. The choir will support the audience at the LTU arena in its community singing at the closing divine service of the Youth Day and give the necessary tempo. Additionally, the choir has several songs, which will feature in its programme to raise the musical temperature and the pulse rate for the youth who may be feeling tired at the end of this long weekend.

A four-part, energy-filled, musical experience

Is it possible to conjure up an energy-filled musical highlight for four voices from a large group of unorganised youngsters? The conductor, Gerrit Junge aged 35, knows exactly how. “I want you to blow the listeners away right at the start with this song!”

It actually felt that the roof of the Friedrich-Ebert hall in Hamburg lifted by a few centimetres with the fortissimo. A certain amount of time is required, however, to achieve the exact timing and perfect harmony between the row of soprano voices and the row of the bass singers, who are seated up to fifty metres away. A two hour choir practice before the European Youth Day wouldn’t be enough. The acoustics of the LTU arena requires precise timing so that the choir’s melody is not lost.

Working on the basics

Gerrit Junge is setting a high target for the singers, but must firstly work thoroughly on the musical basics. “It helps a little if we start with the right note!” He ignores the laughter, runs to the grand piano, gives the tone and continues with a grin, “Let’s give it a go!” He has continued to remain closely associated with the youth through his capacity, at the youth singing weekends in Bremen, as music teacher, vocal coach, conductor of many young choirs, both within and outside of the church and musical adviser to District Apostle Schumacher of North Germany. He is a professional choir master and knows just how much time he needs with the LTU arena choir to form the 1,000 voices into majestically powerful harmony.

He conducted two “small” practice weekends in preparation in Bremen and in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, where he inspired the youngsters and called on all the 1,000 youth to meet in Hamburg in autumn of 2008 to the first North German practice weekend. “I am absolutely worn out, but this weekend should never have stopped!” was heard after the youth divine service in Hamburg with District Apostle Schumacher, which crowned the intensive choir practice in the Hamburg Congress Centre.

Only a few more weeks

Only a few more weeks remain until their big appearance in the LTU arena at the European Youth Day. The final and decisive general rehearsal to consolidate the repertoire will take place from 17th to 19th April in a concert hall in Hamburg. “The singers with whom I have spoken are really happy that they can put their efforts into action”, said Gerrit Junge joyfully, as he looked forward to the recitals in the divine service with Chief Apostle Leber. 19 years old Dominik described how well the choir harmonises, “There is an indescribably great feeling of solidarity between us. It sounds perhaps a bit silly and pseudo-sacred, but it is really so. Together we make everything tremble!”
The final technical and organisational choir rehearsal will be made directly at the Düsseldorf Messe in May 2009. Those wishing to learn more about this large stadium choir can visit the lead-in choir home page, where there are photos and accounts of how the youth describe the way from the idea up to the appearance in the arena.

Ansing choir before the decisive general rehearsal

Text: Alex Uhr
Axel Lindemann
Fotos: Heino Sartor