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April 05, 2019

Singing for the Luther chapel

Today you will hear gospels, oldies and pop songs coming from the wonderful St. Valentine church in Leimrieth, because the HABA Family of Companies employee choir has invited people to a small spring charity concert. Elvira Zöller, who works in Distribution, had the idea for this good deed. She’s a member of the Leimrieth parish council. The beautiful “Luther chapel”, with its enchanting interior decoration, was built in the 16th century and extensively refurbished in the 18th century. Now renovation of the tower and sacristy is necessary. But to do this, the parish is dependent on donations. Brigitta Puhr, employee in Technical Project Management and a choir member, presents the colorful program and charmingly explains what the charity concert is all about: “We sing, you donate, and the HABA Family of Companies rounds it up.”

The choir resulted from a long-standing idea of Bettina Peetz, Head of JAKO-O, Gertraud Unger, Head of HABA Education Alliance and Elvira Löwel, secretary to the management board. Elvira Löwel has over 30 years of choral conducting experience, and brought the employee choir to life. The first appearance of the choir was one and a half years ago, in honor of the company anniversary and as a surprise for all the attendees. Since then it has become a highlight of every celebratory company event. At the start there were only ten members, but now more than 30 singers meet to rehearse in the lunch break every Wednesday. “We mostly do it for ourselves”, explains Elvira Löwel. “It’s the most relaxed lunch break of the week – wonderfully refreshing and a great way to have some fun with other colleagues.”

“In the choir we grow together without even trying, because we’re doing something together and having fun in the process.”

The spring concert is a good deed with a very personal note. The employee choir has been practicing industriously for today’s concert for more than one year. On the day before, the singers surprised their colleagues with a flashmob at lunchtime in the company canteen. The unsuspecting employees were impressed by the vocal performance. And today the employees in Bad Rodach could attend the final rehearsal for the evening’s charity concert. (Listen to the song “Bridge over Troubled Water” in the video)

The choir enters the Luther chapel well prepared. The benches are filled, and excited listeners even crowd the gallery. Once the five o-clock bells have rung, the clergywoman Christine Buchholz greets the concert audience and the choir with the fitting Psalm 104: “I will sing to the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live” (Verse 33). Then atmospheric ballads such as “Tears in Heaven” by Eric Clapton and “Bridge over Troubled Water” by Paul Simon move the audience, followed by an impressive performance of the gospel song “Good news”. The singers are accompanied by Friedmann Unger on piano. Wolfang Erbach plays guitar. Captivating, cheerful melodies such as “Lollipop” and “Mah-na-mah-na” get people in the mood for the weekend. The song “Hefe” (Yeast) by Thea Eichholz humorously explains why dieting doesn’t always lead to the desired result, as “there’s a lump of yeast in every woman”.

Then the evening sun shines through the church windows, right on cue for the last song. With the perfect lighting, the singers strike up “Wochenend‘ und Sonnenschein” (Weekend and Sunshine). After resounding applause and a wonderful encore, Christine Buchholz thanks everyone for their support of the church renovations. The donations of the convert visitors, which came to 400 Euros, are doubled by the HABA Family of Companies to make a grand total of 800 Euros. The money will be used for windows in the newly built sacristy. The colorful glass forms a Luther rose, the seal that Martin Luther used after his stay at Veste Coburg (Coburg Fortress) and about which he spoke the following words: “A Christian heart grows like a rose, when it’s right under the cross”.

On behalf of the employee choir, Brigitta Puhr thanks Choir Director Elvira Löwel for her commitment, and laughingly explains: “She led the rehearsals every Wednesday with the patience of a saint and a sharp tongue.” She’s to thank for the fantastic result that everyone heard today. For Elvira Löwel, the choir is a living example of how a group of very different people can grow together as a team. It brings together people from all areas of the company, and all age groups in the workforce. Even retired employees are drawn back to their former workplace every Wednesday, to sing with the other HABA Family of Companies members. “In the choir we grow together without even trying, because we’re doing something together and having fun in the process”, says Elvira Löwel.

After a shared evening prayer, all the visitors and contributors are invited to enjoy bratwurst and drinks in the Leimrieth fire brigade clubhouse, where the week is rounded off with a social get-together.

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