Jeannine: Please describe your position(s) and the duties involved at the Schlosskirche and Seminary
Sarah and Thomas: Our position (150%) includes the musical education of the
seminarians, directing three choirs and playing the organ in the Schlosskirche (Castle Church). Besides that there is a whole amount of management that goes into the music program at the Castle Church.
In the seminary we serve as musical mentors for the seminarians. The most emphasis is put on the vocal education.
In the Castle Church, besides playing the worship services, we play for weekly half hour recitals on the historic Ladegast organ in the tourist season. We also offer organ tours and private recitals for tourist groups.
The three choirs are the Castle Church Choir, a congregational quoir, the „Schola Cantorum Adam Rener“, a chamber choir, and the Gospel Choir, which is very common in Germany. The Gospel Choir sings mostly Spirituals (in English!) and presents a unique opportunity to reach out to non members.
All three choirs perform in worship services, cantata services, Hymn Fest on Reformation Day and Advent concerts.
J: How does working in such an historic church and seminary effect your work? I found it interesting that you mentioned several times how amazing it is to make the same walk between the seminary and the church on a daily basis that Luther made. Then, of course, you are raising your family in this place filled with history. What is that like?
Our children grow up right next to the house where Luther lived, but they do not know anything else.
J: Please describe the wonderful Ladegast organ and its history
J: Please tell us about the certification process for church musicians in Germany and Sarah, your personal challenges as an American in meeting the requirments.
Sarah: The German church music degree is an artistic degree with three major areas of study: organ, conducting and liturgy. Three different degrees can be aquired: C diploma (pre college certification for part time musicians), B diploma (equivalent to Bachelors), A diploma (equivalent to Masters). My (Sarah) degrees (Bachelors and Masters) were in organ performance, meaning that the conducting and the liturgical part were missing. Besides that there were areas of study that have a higher concentration in the German course work, such as figured bass, counter point and organ improvisation.
(Photos in this section--Schlosskirche Ladegast organ, view of the tower, stained glass windows