Our first full day in Berlin was packed! We began our day at the Berliner Dom, a cathedral that stands in the center of Museum Island. With the help of Erol Danon (C,W ’16), the Glee Club was able to coordinate singing in this beautiful place of worship! The space was incredibly resonant and the opportunity to perform in such a grand and substantial cathedral was really special for the Clubbers. Immediately after singing, we sat in the pews to listen to a service given in German and English. Though the service was brief, we were able to spend more time in the Berliner Dom as we looked at an exhibit on display within the cathedral that included works of artists such as Felix Gonzalez-Torres. Our singing in the Berliner Dom did not stop there! Getting ready to move on, the group congregated on the lawn in front of the cathedral – the Lustgarten. With many people outside enjoying the sunny day, we decided to give the public an impromptu performance. The group assembled into a choral bow and spontaneously performed “Let the River Run” and “Go the Distance,” both of which drew quite the crowd!
|The Glee Club sings in front of the beautiful Berliner Dom!|
|Max Scheiber (E,W '15) and Stephanie Garace (C '15)|
take pieces of candy from one of Felix Gonzalez-Torres'
famous sculptures in the Berliner Dom.
|A look inside the beautiful Berliner Dom! We|
sang right in front of this altar!
We continued our day of singing with a trip to the French Cathedral of Friedrichstadt. Though this cathedral was not quite as full as the Berliner Dom, the Clubbers felt that this outlier was a performance primarily for ourselves – an opportunity to enjoy the beautiful acoustics of this early 18th century cathedral.
After splitting up and grabbing lunch around the Gendarmenmarkt, a square surrounded by restaurants and cathedrals, we moved on to the famous Holocaust Memorial, the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. The 4.7-acre site is covered with 2,711 concrete slabs (“stelae”) arranged in a labyrinthine grid pattern. Words cannot accurately describe the power of this memorial. The Glee Clubbers were moved deeply by walking through the stelae, and many were moved to tears upon walking through the underground “Place of Information,” an underground site that tells individual stories of the Holocaust. The underground exhibit told the overall story of the Holocaust, but also included individual letters sent to loved ones in times of desperation as well as other artifacts from World War II.
|Glee Clubbers walk through the incredibly moving Memorial to the Murdered |
Jews of Europe, surrounded on either side by massive stelae.
Our last organized event for the day was a return to the Reichstag for a more thorough tour than our initial rooftop dining experience. The tour took us through the building’s rich history (some walls still have the bullet marks from World War II!) and even into the plenary chamber, in which the Bundestag (German parliament) meets to discuss German legislative government. While we were in this beautiful meeting chamber, our tour guides actually invited us to sing! Again, we sang “Go the Distance” and surprised a few other groups touring the plenary chamber! In addition to the Reichstag’s interior, the tour also took us to the dome atop the Reichstag; upon reaching the top, we had beautiful panoramic views of Berlin!
|A look inside the plenary chamber! We sang on this|
platform spontaneously for our tour guide as well as
other groups touring the Reichstag.
|The etches left behind by Soviet troops on the walls of the Reichstag|
at the end of World War II remain there to this day. One of the etches
reads, "sons of bitches" in Russian.
Having concluded our full day of sightseeing (and singing!) around Berlin, it was time for a quick dinner and then some rest. The Glee Clubbers split up for dinner on the way back to our hostel, and then most Clubbers went to sleep immediately upon returning.
|Harvey Huang (E '18) poses with alumnus McLean Baran ('14)|
in front of the famous Brandenburg Gate.