Thursday 30th July
It was a long journey! The choir set off from Eccles on the coach at 5.30 am and travelled via Dover/Calais reaching Lünen at 10.00 pm, ready for a good night’s sleep at our comfortable hotel, Ringhotel ( pictured below)
here we are on our way!
First night in Lünen
Friday 31st July
We had a guided tour of the lovely town of Lünen. Lunch was a chines banquet funded by the people of Lünen through the council. Everyone we met was very welcoming. Here are some photos from the day
Saturday 1st August
We took the coach to Cologne. We had a guided tour of the magnificent Cathedral
Then, came our turn to sing – what a great privilege to perform in such splendid surroundings. The singing was enjoyed by many of the visitors; we were filmed by Japanese tourist and an American lady said we sang like angels!
Although it was a very different experience for us, we enjoyed singing as crowds of people milled around inside the cathedral. The officials were clearly suitably impressed, because they invited us back to sing in the noon service next year.
Once we left the pleasantly cool ambience of the Cathedral out into the very hot day (over 30 degrees!) we then had a few hours free, to enjoy lunch in one of the many restaurants and cafes, followed by a one-hour boat trip on the Rhine and other cultural delights before taking the coach back to Lünen ( see photos below).
Sunday 2nd August
This was our big singing day because we had a full concert to perform in the evening. In the morning, we were invited to sing at the ecumenical service in Christuskirche in Horstmar, Lünen organised by the Lünen/Salford Deanery twinning committee. We were privileged to sing five pieces at the morning worship service.
The church Pastor, Reverend Andrea Ohm took great pains to help us feel included by providing translations and the service provided a spiritual and moving experience for all. Although it is not the normal custom for a Lünen congregation, there was spontaneous, rapturous applause for our singing. Following the service there was a typically German light lunch of Bratwurst and Kartoffelsalat, sponsored by the Salford Deanery. We also had time to meet and chat with our hosts.
The evening concert was nothing short of fantastic. Some concerns had been mooted that many locals could be away on holiday on the dates of our visit, but the main church in Lünen was packed with over 300 in the audience. We presented a two-part programme similar in format to our concerts in Eccles.
The reception was incredible it overwhelmed us all. the applause and standing ovation lasted fully five minutes! We sang two encores which again produced long and warm applause.
A lovely buffet super was then provided by our hosts; German salads , breads, cakes and drinks.
Monday 3rd August
On Monday morning we were officially welcomed at the Town hall by the Deputy Mayor, who had us all sign the ‘Golden Book’
We then took the coach to Munster, about an hour’s drive away. We started the day by singing, unaccompanied in St Lambertini, the second largest church after the Cathedral.
The singing was appreciated by a small gathering and was a unique experience because of the several-second echo. The temperature was 35 degrees, so finding lovely cafes for lunch, and finding shade inside St Paul’s Cathedral were welcome escapes from the heat. En route back to our Hotel, we visited the beautiful small moated castle of Scloss Vischering.
We had such a busy visit but all too soon, it was time to head home and we got comfortable on the coach and then the Ferry until the White Cliffs of Dover came into view. The choir thanked Angela for the huge amount of work she put into organising the experience and leading us in every aspect of the trip.
We had such a brilliant time! We were able to learn a little more about our ‘Twins’ and their culture, share our friendship and increase the bonds between us. We would like to thank the Salford/Lünen Deanery twinning committee for organising the venues and the lovely meals. We hope to return next year to perform for the 50th Anniversary of the town twinning of Salford and Lünen.
In October this year we will be giving an informal concert for ten German guests visiting us from the Eccles Deanery partnership committee. Time to start planning for next year!