Brunswick Blue Notes Jazz Band 2013 Concert Tour of Austria and Germany
It was mid-May, and everything for the Brunswick Blue Notes’s tour of Germany and Austria was ready to go. They were looking forward to a concert-packed tour with all types of performances: a benefit concert for a local charity in the Pauluskirche in Berlin, a concert for local schoolchildren in a theater in Pegau, a concert in a large outdoor restaurant in Munich famous for its nightly performances, and an outdoor concert in a local square in Wangen. On top of that, the group arranged two concerts through contacts of its own, including playing at a USO (United Service Organizations) show.
Brunswick Blue Notes performs in the Pauluskirche in Berlin, Germany
There was just one problem; it was raining hard in Central Europe and wasn’t showing any sign of stopping. May, 2013 had already been one of the wettest in the last 156 years in Austria, with Germany showing rainfall levels twice the norm. But when the rains didn’t let up, the rivers finally let go.
Most of the Blue Notes’s tour arrangements were okay, with one exception: the little town of Pegau, a half hour south of Leipzig. The theater in which they were to perform was fine, but as it was the only building in the town that wasn’t flooded, it was serving as a refuge for those who needed shelter. It looked as if the whole thing would be canceled, but the concert organizers sprang into action, and soon a concert with the citizens of Pegau turned into a concert for the citizens of Pegau.
The Höfe am Brühl, a brand-new mall in Leipzig, had built an atrium specifically for concerts. With good acoustics and the possibility of exposure from foot traffic, it made an ideal spot for the concert. Paul Raaen, the director of the Blue Notes, called the concert a “moving performance.”
He added, “All of us had experienced the devastation of Hurricane Sandy last fall and were happy to help out others in need by raising whatever money or awareness we could. We had a chance to meet the mayor of Pegau and see how much he appreciated our effort. It was also fun to work with the radio personality [Peter Zimmer] who was the MC for the show. The night before we had met some German students on the train, invited them to come, and they did!“
The concert to benefit Pegau wasn’t the only performance of the tour that focused on giving back.
“We also had the opportunity to raise money at two other concerts,” Raaen said. “The first was in Berlin for a benefit for the unemployed and the second was for flood victims in Wangen. Both audiences were extremely supportive of our performances. Our final concert was at the USO Pavilion in Wiesbaden for our American troops. It was a pleasure for the Blue Notes to reach out to communities and people in need with our music and made our tour of Germany and Austria a much more meaningful experience that none of us will forget.”