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  • Writer's pictureMadeleina Kay

Performance at Saint Martins Church, Garmisch

On Sunday 19th November, I performed in the Alpine town of Garmisch, in Bavaria at Saint Martins church during the service

On the drive to Garmisch from Munich, I saw a rainbow over the Alps, which added to the general fairy-tale vibe I got from the picturesque location.

The church was located in the centre of the town, and from the outside the building appeared simple in design with plain white walls. The inside, however, was another story... The ceilings were painted with biblical scenes, a stunning organ and beautifully carved wooden pews as well as an elaborate alter piece adorned with golden cherubs - even the floors were tiled with beautiful chequered stone. I rather enjoyed the contrast between the minimalist exterior and maximalist interior.

I was quite nervous to perform in such a grand and impressive space, but the priest was extremely friendly and encouraging. He asked me to perform two songs during the Sunday service, 'To Remember Them', a song about the war in Ukraine and 'Bridges Not Borders', a song about international co-operation. I tried to focus on the quality and tone of my voice, which was not easy given that I suffer from asthma at this time of year, and it was so cold in the church I could see my breath! Whilst also ensuring that I was hitting the notes as accurately as possible, given the acoustics of the building, any out of-tune notes are very exposed! Overall, I think the performance was a success and didn't make any blunders with the guitar chords.

After the service, a few members of the audience came up to greet me. An American woman who was living at the US army base in the town said that I reminded her of the old "peace singers" which are part of American country music tradition. A German paediatrician also spoke to me and asked for my autograph, telling me that he had worked in Scotland for 6 months and believed the EU wasn't whole without Great Britain. An elderly Bavarian gentleman, who spoke no English, gave me some wooden flowers he had carved called 'Edel Weiss' which are famous for growing in the mountainous region. I also had a chat with the priest who was very excited when I told him my university was Central Saint Martins - perhaps it was a divine co-incidence that I had been invited to perform in his church (Saint Martin's Kirche). I also interviewed the priest about the power of music to bring communities together for my MA research.

We then walked around the picturesque town and I was very impressed by the architecture, especially the beautiful hand=painted walls of many of the buildings. I also saw a horse-drawn carriage riding through the town which, along with the rainbow, really gave me the impression that I had wandered into a fairytale. Later I made a sketch from a photograph I had taken - it was far too cold and wet to sketch in situ!

Bridges Not Borders Lyrics

We have learned to love,

We have learned to forgive,

We found a solution that everyone could live,

To sacrifice on the altar of delusion,

Peace is the victim of this false illusion


Bridges will stand,

Borders will fall,

There is no support for this divisory wall,

Together we stand,

Divided we fall,

The stakes are raised so high, because this matters to us all

People so unaware of consequences untold,

Now the extent of the threat that’s posed begins to unfold,

The deception uncovered, it’s time to think again,

The final say must be given to all women and men


Bridges not borders my friends,

This is where the compromise must end,

Reach out and I will take your hand,

We must never ever head to this demand,

Reach out and I will take your hand,

We must never ever head to this demand,

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Nov 25, 2023

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