Georgetown Day School Chamber Choir 2016 Concert Tour of Germany

In times of global instability, it’s not surprising for groups to experience some nervousness when considering a tour abroad, especially when that group is comprised of young people. The Georgetown Day School Chamber Choir had been looking forward to its tour of Germany in February when news of an influx of refugees from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and beyond hit the airwaves. After a discussion with the group’s director, Ben Hutchens, it was decided that instead of fearing the unknown the group should take advantage of the opportunity to better understand the world by being directly involved in the situation. Rather than avoid the issue, the choir embraced it, and on the very first day of their tour they visited the former Olympic Village in Berlin that had been converted by the German government to a shelter for thousands of refugees. Ben Hutchens recounts the choir’s experience:

We arrived very jet lagged from our flight and came with only a few bags of coloring books and pencils to pass out to the children. What we found upon entering was hard to view. There were hundreds of refugees milling about in the foyer Some makeshift tables were scattered here and there and at these, German volunteers were busy teaching the basics of the German language to some of the refugees. As we passed the doors to the arena, our group took a moment to look inside. What we saw was a sea of thousands of cots—not much more than cheap beach chairs, really—neatly lined up in row after row on the playing floor. Seeing this truly helped our group understand a small part of the desperate situation in which the refugees have found themselves.

Georgetown Day School Chamber Choir performs for refugees in Berlin

A few moments passed, and we were escorted further down the foyer to our performance space. The volunteers assembled a few rows of chairs and refugees began to fill them in. Our repertoire included a host of classical music and some American spirituals. While our audience did not speak the language in which we sang, it was evident that the power of the music definitely touched their souls. After a few moments of singing, the children became quiet and focused on the choir performing, adults stopped what they were doing, some were in tears. What a privilege it was to provide a small glimmer of beauty to this group of people.

To learn more about Germany as a possible concert tour destinations for your ensemble, please visit our Germany destination page, or contact us.