On May 4 we had the once in a lifetime opportunity to sing at our own US Embassy, situated right next door to the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin. We were first ushered through security into a room to warm up for an hour, followed by a tour of the building, which is very modern! Made of ivory stone and covered in art from US artists such as Andy Warhol, it had a very open and light design and is intended to feel like an American oasis. On one of the upper levels we were surprised to get a quick visit with the US ambassador who asked if we were visiting the Wartburg Castle and reminded us that Luther translated the Bible into German there. None of us was going to tell him that we were all taught that as freshmen at Wartburg. 🙂 It was kind of him to mention it.
In one of the rooms we got to sit at the round table where presidents and dignitaries sit, and it also had a gorgeous view of Berlin which was a double bonus! We sang our concert in the fireplace room just outside of the cafeteria and it was really neat to sing for the employees of the Embassy.
Afterwards it was such a beautiful, sunny day that we decided to sing two of our songs, “Swingle Song” and “Get away, Jordan” inside the Brandenburg Gate. A crowd of international tourists gathered and it was really cool to see that, although not everyone probably spoke English, we were able to still share a beautiful moment of music together.
We went to the Checkpoint Charlie Museum and finished the day with a visit to a portion of the Berlin Wall along the river Spree, set up as a huge outdoor gallery. The murals were mostly graffiti style on the West side, and I found it beautifully ironic that the East side had the most intricate, pretty murals exploding with symbolism. In one section alone the design was cords of color and black weaving and flowing to create words like “Frieden” and pictures of birds, faces, a treble clef, etc. The neatest part was that we all saw something different. I saw the German flag hidden in plain sight with its gold, red, and black, like the national pride hidden in German culture out of fear of judgement for being too nationalistic. Our tour guide Nigel told us that is an aspect of current German culture. Noah saw a treble clef, Mr. Toliver saw the words in German at the top making a long phrase, and someone else saw birds. It was beautiful.