How should I appreciate organ music

Time for the world cultural heritage organ music

How do you experience the effects of the corona pandemic on local church music?

Roman Bar: In church music it is like in many other areas: there are painful restrictions and unimagined opportunities. Above all, what makes us sad is that the choirs and singing groups cannot meet as usual. In the parishes of St. Birgid it is not possible to sing at church services, in other places where the prescribed six meter distance to the congregation can be safely kept, individual cantors or small groups sing. But this is also where the special opportunities of the crisis begin. More than usual, there are songs that are less known, but lyrically very appealing and have been in the new praise of God since 2013. Right now at Christmas we also took the opportunity to make music together with many instrumentalists in the church. This has met with a broad response and a lot of gratitude on all sides. And last but not least, we have significantly more time for organ music as a world heritage site - both when practicing and during church services.

What is the current state of (children's) choir work?

Roman Bear: Unfortunately, there have been no face-to-face meetings in our Catholic children's choirs since the first lockdown. We bridge this with recordings and online offers that we make available to parents via email. Among other things, this resulted in a brand new children's Christmas song, which we published as a video together with pictures we painted. Children, parents and grandparents were equally enthusiastic. There was also an online sing-along campaign for adults. The video of this will be released in early February. The choirs and bands have all found adapted forms of rehearsal work, be it in rehearsals as a video conference, individual voice training or (in summer) singing outdoors.
What is the significance of church music - and how will it go on?

Roman Bear: What would our services currently be without our organs? We can count ourselves lucky that we have this treasure trove of instruments in this country. And the musicians who play them with enthusiasm and great flexibility in times of crisis. Singing will revive in due course - here and there, perhaps in a different form, but still as lively as it was before the crisis, I am convinced of that.
This year the focus is on the organ as the instrument of the year: will there be offers?

Roman Bear: We have developed a diverse program with events for children, young people and adults. We want to wait a little longer with the publication until we have more certainty that the offers can also take place on the planned date. But we are fundamentally confident, as we have a lot of space for visitors in the churches for the necessary distance and tried-and-tested hygiene concepts.

Roman Bär has been District Cantor of the Catholic City Church of Wiesbaden since 2017. Since 2008 he has been working as organist and choirmaster in the Catholic parish of St. Birgid.