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A Tale of Two Paradigms:
Renaissance vs Dark Age  

by Marsha Bowen
November 2013

Photo by Gert Moth.
The St. Thomas Boys Choir of Leipzig, Germany (Thomanerchor).

Thomanerchor Boys Choir 
Stude Concert Hall, Rice University 
Houston, Texas  
Saturday November 9 and
Sunday November 10, 2013

Houston, Texas, November 12, 2013 — This past weekend, appropriately both the 24th anniversary of the collapse of the Berlin Wall and the 254th birthday of Fredrich Schiller, audiences numbering near 2,000 were treated to the extraordinary performance of the St. Thomas Boys Choir of Leipzig here in Houston on both Saturday and Sunday. In honor of the 20th anniversary of the sister-city relationship of the two cities, both the Mayor of Houston, Anise Parker, and the Mayor of Leipzig, Burkhard Jung, opened the initial concert Saturday eve with greetings, including a proclamation from the City of Houston celebrating the concert. Sadly, the German consul, in his greetings to the concert, recalled and apologized for the 75th anniversary of Kristallnacht, Nov. 9, 1938, as a moment of continuing great German guilt

The selections of music allowed one to compare Bach's method of composition to that of Vivaldi the first evening, and that of Bach to Telemann, Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, Schumann, and Reger on Sunday evening. All the composers on the Sunday program had some musical / historical relationship to the city of Leipzig. However, what shone through in both concerts was the joyous beauty and phenomenal discipline of these boy singers, aged 10 to 18 years of age. Just think! A tradition of classical musical training in those most formative years... and this has been continuing for over 800 years! Whatever flaws one might find in their technique, what is clear is that they have developed a very strong social milieu of being one with the director, the composer, and the audience. It is doubtful that anyone in the audience, of any age and "musical preference", was not moved by the total coherence these boys had to convey the profound ideas they were singing. Add to this dynamic, a small "Leipzig Baroque Orchestra" of age groups from tweeners to boomers and the Conductor (boomer, himself once a member of the Thomanerchor) who obviously had complete command of the entire group. It was very impressive.


Photos by Leslie Santamaria, City of Houston, Texas..
Left: Anise Parker, Mayor of Houston; right: Burkhard Jung, Mayor of Leipzig).

Now, move to the "tale" of this same weekend that has been reported to MILLIONS through the media, including the social media that helped to create this crime, "Houston Party Shooting Kills 2, Injures 22." This occurs just within a couple of hours of the Saturday evening concert's conclusion.  Drawn by twitter, over 100 youth aged 17 to 19 came to the birthday party of an 18-year-old. The Reports were that there weren't drugs or abuse of alcohol, but simply that two people, 17 and 20 years old, broke into the party and began shooting firearms. This has  traumatized several school districts in the area.

This is the "new normal." Young people, some of whom are exactly the same age as members of the Thomanerchor, are subjected to this insane culture of violence and nihilism. As one of our younger associates put it, "This younger generation believes 'yolo' [you only live once]."

As we come to the 50th anniversary of the killing of President John F Kennedy, and the cover-up, we have a great opportunity to call upon our very deep reserves of inner beauty to not allow the paradigm of the last 50 years to take over this nation nor the planet. We have centuries of a classical tradition to call upon. Faint not! It is our privilege that we know the culture of a successful future that has stood the test of time.