On Friday, October 23rd I had the pleasure of attending the German Poesieabend in the Union. There were several students and teachers who performed German poetry, songs, and fairy tales.
I was truly blown away by some of the poetry and songs that were performed. The immense amount of emotion and care that people took in reciting famous German poetry and songs and even writing their own original works was fantastic and inspirational.
The first full performer I saw prefaced his performance with the fact that he could not find instrumental accompaniment for the song he was going to sing and apologized, but he surprised the entire room as soon as he began. His operatic voice needed absolutely no supplement, it was such a booming and emotional sound. I was blown away, as was the rest of the room.
I had never encountered such a concentration of German poetry before, but at this event I realized how beautiful a tool the language is for artistic expression, as it somehow captured my emotions and feelings even though I couldn’t always understand precisely what was being said. I am to the point in my knowledge of the German language where I cannot quite recognize every spoken word, but I know enough that I understand most words and the main ideas of each piece, and I understood the beginner pieces very well. My friend Nicholas from my German class played his guitar and sang, and he was really good. There was also a class of German 1115 taught by an Austrian teacher who performed a few fairy tales by the Brothers Grimm, and they were fun (and really funny) to watch.
I think it’s awesome how there is so much German heritage that has been absorbed into American culture, yet many Americans don’t even realize it. I’m so excited to continue learning German, because as amazing as I thought the more performances were, I’m sure they would have been even better if I could have retained every word.