July 2, 2022

A Festive Organ Concert on the Feast of Corpus Christi

Sister M. Donita Haeffner

A Festive Organ Concert on the Feast of Corpus Christi

For the Feast of Corpus Christi, June 16, 2022, we Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary had extended an invitation to a true musical highlight in the Adoration Church of the Blessed Trinity on Mt. Schoenstatt, Germany.

The organ of the church, which had been “mute” for several months while it was thoroughly renovated, was blessed anew and festively played. Upon entering the church for the event, a festive floral carpet, already prepared for the Corpus Christi procession the following Sunday, shone at us, creating a festive atmosphere.

Shortly before 4:00 pm, music stands and piano and cello stands were set up in the sanctuary so the program could begin.

First, Dr. Bernd Biberger, Rector of the Adoration Church of the Blessed Trinity, greeted everyone. He proclaimed with joy that since Easter, after being thoroughly renovated, the organ resounded with full resonance. The organ was renovated by the company who built it 44 years ago, Mayer of Heusweiler in Saarland, Germany. The company removed the organ pipes, cleaned them, and adjusted them according to current standards. Dr. Biberger thanked the company Mayer for their thorough work. He also extended his gratitude to the Sparkasse (bank) in Koblenz for their generous donation. Finally, he thanked everyone who had come to this concert.

The significance of organ music in the context of the liturgy

By way of introduction, Dr. Biberger briefly discussed the importance of organ music in the context of the liturgy. The Second Vatican Council describes singing and music as indispensible for the liturgy: Music is not just an action. Music is liturgy. Music is worship of the divine. Music is active participation in the praise of God.

Through its multiplicity of tones, the organ brings to sound all the spheres of human life: joy, sadness, praise … The organ encourages us to resonate with praise of God.

Then the organ was blessed anew and sprinkled vigorously with holy water.

A musical journey through three centuries

Before the concert began, the musicians were introduced: the organist, Dr. Ralf Hansjosten, educator in Trier, his son, Benedikt Hansjosten (17 years old), on the  violoncello and his daughter, Julia Maria Hansjosten (18 years old), on the violin.

For over an hour we were taken on a varied journey through three centuries: from Pachelbel and Bach to Handel, Telemann, Vivaldi and Buxtehude to Boellmann, Massenet, Homilius, Reubke and Campioni. The first music piece – a prelude from Bach, a chorale partita by Pachelbel, and a trio from Reubke – brought the newly renovated organ to full resonance. This was followed by alternating pieces for the violin and the basso continuo, for cello, and finally for piano, violin and cello. The final pieces were heard again on the organ as solo pieces.

The audience followed the program with attention and acknowledged the musical journey with much applause at the end. One member of the audience expressed her enthusiasm this way: “The Hansjosten family concert was a wonderful experience. The harmony of strings and piano especially appealed to me, and to think that a father and his children gave us such a beautiful performance.”

Heavenly music to the praise of God

Then Sister M. Aleja, General Superior of our community, sincerely thanked Mr. Hansjosten: “Today we could listen to heavenly music. The applause shows that you have gifted us and enriched us.”

Special thanks went out to Julia Maria and Benedikt who are equally enthusiastic about music and can bring joy to many people. Sister M. Aleja emphasized that music in its own way contributes to the praise of God and expressed the wish that this music accompany us in everyday life.

Again Sister M. Aleja thanked the guests for attending, for their interest, and for  their donations. “I wish you a good journey home and, if you wish, I cordially invite you to the Corpus Christi procession this Sunday.” The spontaneous applause of the audience affirmed what Sr. M. Aleja expressed.

“Thank you and hope to see you again!”

In conclusion, Dr. Ralf Hansjosten expressed his gratitude that he could give this concert on the organ. His testimony: He has been fascinated with this organ for 30 years. Through his contact with Sister M. Tabea the idea of a concert came up and he would be happy if he could play this organ once again on some occasion. “Thank you and hope to see you again!” The vigorous applause of the audience expressed its joy at the idea of another concert. This continued as Sister M. Aleja presented a gift to Mr. Hansjosten, his children, and his wife who was present in the audience.

“Quite a nice, uncomplicated family!” – commented someone who experienced the musicians during this hour. “The harmony among them could be heard in their music!”