These Berlin musicians want to help a parish in the Ahr Valley. Because the flood destroyed the musical instruments there. Here Werner Eckel – head of the Berlin choir “Magic of Gospel” – talks about the particularly important concert in the school on the Haveldüne, about favorite places in Berlin-Spandau and a big hallelujah in the village church Berlin-Kladow. The beginnings of the choir go back to 2003, when the musicians met in the Confidence Church in Berlin-Staaken. As always, the interview first appeared in the Tagesspiegel newsletter for Spandau, the current issue of which you can get here: leute.tagesspiegel.de.
You direct the Spandau choir “Magic of Gospel”. Do we have to imagine it like in the USA with hallelujah and a big hello? “Good comparison! Except you don’t have to travel to the United States to experience gospel with us. We occasionally accompany church services in the evangelical village church in Kladow. Our gospel music (Gospel = English gospel) fits in perfectly, but without the organ. We also experience it in the service that the Kladow congregation sings and clap along, even if it is of course not as clear as in the USA. We sing mostly modern, groovy gospel songs. The other half of our repertoire consists of popular pop music.”
And why do you call yourself “Magic”? “The name emphasizes the magic of gospel singing. That was the idea of some singers almost 20 years ago when we formed in my living room. We have grown to around 30 singing members and are happy to accept people who are enthusiastic about music and singing and enjoy community. Singing is good for the soul, it is a perfect anti-stress management. So Spandauer, get in touch. Vocal training and knowledge of music are not required. Here is our website: magic-of-gospel.de.”
Mr. Eckel, there is a big benefit evening on the Scharfen Lanke and your choir is right in the middle of it. Tell me. “The poster is already hanging all over Spandau. On Sunday, June 19th, we invite you to the auditorium of the school at Haveldüne. We make music, hats go off… but the reason is serious: the flood in the Ahr Valley almost a year ago left enormous devastation in its wake. Unfortunately, many musical instruments in the Protestant parish of Bad Neuenahr have also been destroyed, and with them the valuable music education work that the cantor there does for children. We would therefore like to help and achieve with our music that the children can make music again. Behind the benefit evening is Markus Prill. He was the head of the school on the Haveldüne for many years and helped out as a volunteer in the Ahr Valley. He also brought the pastor from the vineyard community on the other side of Jaczostraße, Christopher Piotrowski, on board because donations should also flow from there. The benefit concert will be performed by the Spandau Gospel Choir and children from the school at Haveldüne from the music courses. It starts at 5 p.m..”
[The Tagesspiegel newsletter is available for every Berlin district – free of charge, compact and personal, once a week: leute.tagesspiegel.de]
Was the school at the Haveldüne your old school as a child? “No. I went to school in Frankfurt/Main and came to Spandau via a few detours, Chicago and Tokyo. I am a bank manager in (un)retired and can now really live out my passions and hobbies.”
Where is your Spandau? “I live with my wife in green Staaken, right next to the nature reserve. We like to go for a stroll in Spandau’s old town, the market, the Christmas market or the cinema. In the gastronomy there you will find dishes from all over the world.
Mr. Eckel, politicians read along: 3 things that belong on the local town hall agenda in Spandau. Firstly? “Appointments at the citizen registration offices. The long waiting times – that’s just not possible.”
Secondly? “E-scooters may be a modern means of transport, but if they are placed indiscriminately all over the sidewalk, they are dangerous tripping hazards.”
Thirdly? “Through the musicians’ and choir directors’ perspective, I still have a lot of praise for the town hall: the preservation and renewal of the open-air stage at the citadel. We give a gospel concert there every year, including last year for the 100th anniversary of the venue. The mood is always great.”
If Spandau was a song, then…”…I would rearrange it with a snappy piano accompaniment. Spandau is rock’n’roll, sometimes, but there’s more to it than that. “
And finally: Tell us your favorite place in Spandau? “I like to relax and go for a walk on the Havel somewhere between Gutshof Neukladow and Fränkels Garten. This is balm for the eye and the soul – culture, Krakauer, cheesecake are on top of that. Perfect.”
And here I will name the topics that you will find in the current Spandau newsletter from the Tagesspiegel.
– “Start of the bathing season at Lake Glienicke”: City councilors talk in the newsletter about the fight against illegal long-term campers, brazen illegal parkers – and more sensitivity to the large lake service in Kladow
– Staakenerin in the newsletter portrait: “I am a public prosecutor and author of children’s books”
– “Our elevator has been broken for 6 months”: reader complaints and landlord reaction in the newsletter
– In Spandau, 150 kilometers of pavement are missing
– Berlin’s bus district No.1: BVG invites you to the e-bus party in Spandau
– 13,000 vehicles and many holes: the broken Niederneuendorfer Allee
– Kladow, Staaken, Falkenhagener Feld: 3 new day-care centers for Spandau – and a new center for pregnant women
– 70 years Cemetery Ruhleben
– Haveldüne, Hahneberg, Heerstrassen-Damm – how high are you actually?
– Music Festival vorm Lutetia
– New cultural venue next to the Church of St. Nikolai
– Is the Jungfernheide waterworks coming back?
– Lots of neighborhood sports from Kladow to Hakenfelde: rowing, SUP, football…
– Letters to the editor about Hahneberg, speeders, ice cream parlors, the tax office…
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