Saturday, June 6, 2009


Well, I'm pretty much past taking pictures. I was so picture crazed those first days of the trip to get all the organs, and by this point, I'm more focused on playing then photographing. Also all the sight seeing stuff, I'm just burned out of picture taking, so I don't have any new ones since the last post. We've been going every day to museums, parks, churches, villages, cheese factories, historic landmarks, etc. etc. etc. We cram the days full for sure. Yesterday was Sabbath, as the people we are staying with are Seventh Day Adventists. We went to church in the morning after a most wonderful breakfast, then ate at church. Then came back here around 2 and had wonderful cake. Then we just sat around and talked until dinner at 5, which was sooooo good. We ate roasted red pepper and zucchini soup made from scratch along with fresh warm pita chips and hummus. After this, we all (the family I'm staying with, the 3 ND students, and some family friends) took a LONG walk on a gravel path in the country. I guess every Sabbath is this way for them... no work, lots of food, and lots of talking. I kind of like it. Now it's Sunday and we're heading for the Catholic early service and the Lutheran late service... we will be very churched, and ecumenical. Haha.

Only 2 days before arriving to the states, so this is one of my last posts...

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The last few days....

The last few days have been spent in Amsterdam and the surrounding area and Internet was not access able. So, a brief update. We did a LOT of museums, and pictures are not allowed. We visited the Anne Frank house, which was so powerful. Also we went to the VanGough museum and also to the Reijks museum and also to the symphony to hear Verdi's Requiem. Also we went to 2 organ concerts. It was pretty sweet. We also of course spent time playing and seeing a few organs. We also ate pancakes, becuae they have every flavor imaginable, and its just the thing to do. Also, don't worry... I ate plenty of ice cream. See the previous entry for the list of things I have learned, but in the meantime, some pictures...


Windmills... there were 19 mills total, and it was a pretty great walk.

So we went to this church, which is famous for its floor.... it is made up ENTIRELY of graves. As you can see, there are lots of grave covers. Every rectangle has a body under it. There must have been several hundred bodies buried here. It was the most amazing thing ever.

A better view of the church. HUGE organ. We couldnt play this one, but heard a recital there. Notice more graves on the floor...

Sitting on top of the "E" in Amsterdam statue. It was pretty high up and scary.

Can't believe I'll be back in the states in less than a week... I'm already trying to plan how to come back here.

Things I have Learned in the Netherlands...

  • In the Netherlands, the bike lane is often separated from the pedestrian lane by a curb or posts so your odds of getting run over are significantly less. HOWEVER, the tram tracks weave in and out of everywhere, so your chances of getting hit by a tram are significantly more.
  • If you hear a tram whistle and one of your friends yells "watch out!" while another friend grabs your arm and pulls you over while you feel the tram brush against your coat sleeve, this is a good indication that you are not paying attention and are walking to close to the tram tracks.
  • German and Dutch are not the same, and it is not a good idea to try to use your limited and recently acquired German words here. They'll look at you crazy.
  • Just like Germany, bathrooms are very hard to come by
  • Sprinkles are a staple part of the diet. You can buy them in HUGE boxes in every flavor possible.
  • Just like Germany, the people smoke here a lot.
  • People here don't always smoke just tobacco....
  • Do not go into a coffee shop and expect to find a cup of coffee. (See previous 2 points)
  • The Dutch are the tightest penny pincher's ever and do not believe in student discounts.

Saturday, May 30, 2009


Today we left Germany, and that was rather sad. 4 of us traveled to the Netherlands where we will remain until June 9. We are staying with some friends of one of the guys in my program. This host family is amazingly nice, and vegetarian, so I ate a wonderful meal. The dessert was amazing.... little pancakes with ice cream, fresh cranberry sauce, and the sweetest richest whip cream I ever had in my life. We went to an organ recital this evening and then to see the North Sea.... and as you can tell from this pic that was taken at 10:15 PM, the sun does not go down very early in these parts....

Monday, May 25, 2009

St. Marien Kirche

So this church was pretty amazing. It was dates from 1230, and the organ was competed 4 years before JS Bach was born. This organ was one manual, no pedal, and total mean tone, and it was WONDERFUL.

Playing this beautiful instrument.
Behind the alter. Every Lutheran pastor since the time of the reformation was listed out. It gave me chills. Deep history.
Look at these pipes... not even smooth... such an old organ!

My guyLuther on the pulpit!

A lovely little flower growing in the cracks of the stone outside the building.

The building.

The baptismal font that dates from the 12th century. Unbelievable.

The church.


Monday May 25

Today we went out and saw three little organs. I tell you, it's a good thing I have Poco or I would never ever come back to the US. It's just to great here.

First stop was to St. Barholomaus Kirche, Dornum. This church had a Lutheran Kindergarten and the kids were all out playing and talking in German. The organ was pretty great, but not my most favorite. This small German town had a castle, and felt more German because it was out in the country with winding roads, lush gardens, and old German style housing. After playing the organ, we went out and some had real tea with this great German china tea set. So fun.


Playing the organ


Tea party!

Next stop was Ev. Luth. Kirche, Carolinesiel. Again, so tiny there wasn't much info on the building. It was far far north, by the sea, so there were a lot of sail boats in this church.

Playing the organ
Our last stop was huge, so putting it in a different post...

Sunday, May 24, 2009

A big old update.


I'm going to give you the reader's digest version since I'm behind a few days and very tired...
Today we moved to Norden. Our first stop was St. Marien Kirche, Marienhafe. This church had a lot of palm trees. It had a tower that we climbed up and that was fun. This church was from the 13th century and only part of it remained. It was built between 1230-1270. It originally was much higher and longer but it was not preserved. This church also had a huge tower that had a pirate living in it from 1395-1401. The organ is once of the most original Baroque organs in this area.
The organ

The altar

The view from the tower

At the top of the tower

Playing the organ

Our next stop was Warfriedkirche, Osteel. Don't know much about the church, but they had cool faces on the pipes. Also, we got to pump the organ. Fun stuff.



Faces on organ

Playing the organ

Pumping the organ

Then we spent the evening at St. Ludgeri Kirche... an old Lutheran church from the 13th century, chancel was complete in 1455, pews were rented out. We visited this for 3 nights, so pics to come.

Our new hotel...

Saturday, May 23, 2009

So we started off bright and early again today. Our first matter of business was to go to the Katherinekirche in Hamburg for a master class with Prof. Peter van Dijk. This church was built in 1250. Yup, 1250. It’s amazing how they could build such a great building like that w/out the help of machines and stuff. Anyway, this is a very important church… first of all, it’s Lutheran and has a big picture of Luther on the wall. Also, several famous organists were here. It was bombed during WWII, and the organ was destroyed. This is a real shame, because it was an amazing organ and J.S. Bach himself played there. Stupid war. Anyway, the building survived the bombings (the walls and pillars remained intact) and 16 ranks were saved. 5 disappeared and we don’t know where they are, but 11 are accounted for. They are reconstructing the organ and currently have the ruckpostiv in. They wisely added this because it is small (hardly small.. This thing is huge!) so that people will think it looks incomplete and continue to donate to get the rest of the organ. The reverb is amazing, and the ruckpositiv is so big you can do quite a lot with it. I did not play in the master class, but here are some pics from that church.

LUTHER!!! This guy is all over. He's my hero.


Close up of altar


Our next stop was to St. Jakobi Kirche where we saw this amazing Arp Schnitger Organ. This organ was pretty amazing. First off, THE J.S. Bach applied for a job here and was rejected. What a stupid thing for the church to reject him. Imagine what his music may have looked like if he had gotten to work on these Schnitger organs!!! WOW. They took the fascade pipes out in WWI for the war. Then in WWII they took the insides of the organ and hid it. The case was destroyed, but the guts of the organ were safe. How cool is that? Numerous adjustments and changes have been made to this organ over time.


Heaven on Earth

Also went to a music school to see some organs and to an organ concert and dinner after which was AMAZING.
Tomorrow we head out of Hamburg, so not sure if I'll have internet at the next hotel or not.

Friday, May 22, 2009


So we were up pretty early again, and headed to Stade to see St. Cosmae und Damiani Kirche. The church was beautiful and whatever, but the organ WOW. I tell you, I’ve died and gone to heaven. I think I missed half the church because I was to busy drooling over the organ. Seriously. This one was a Hus/Schnitger organ (III/42) with a shove coupler, modified meantone, and pretty much amazing. I’ve never heard meantone in real life, only in recordings, and it was pretty much instant love. I can't even describe the sound. Best advise I can tell you is go see for yourself someday. For now, pics will have to suffice.

The altar

The organ

Now if looking at that picture doesn't make you super excited, there is something wrong with you.
Craig checking it out.. Notice the drawnobs on the console as well as on the ruckpositiv.

In heaven.


So then we went to St. Wilhadi Kirche and saw another Schnitger organ (III/40) and I once again was unable to notice much of the church, because the organ sucked me in like a moth to a flame. OK, so I totally noticed the Martin Luther stained glass, but hey, I’m a Lutheran girl, what do you expect? This organ was HUGE and more romantic sounding. It was rich and round and full and glorious. When we went upstairs the sound was intensified and you could just feel the power of this sucker. Incredible. I know it sounds like I’m not saying much, but words will never do it justice and I’m at a total loss of where to even begin to try. Seriously. Basically, we got an introduction to both organs today, then had lunch, then split in 2 groups to play and we played and played and switched organs and played some more. It was AMAZING.
The church


Close up of altar

Martin Luther

You may be seated :)


Helping the angels hold up the organ. It's very heavy, you know.

This is happy: