On Saturday 2 July, Gen Verde left Loppiano… and after two days of travelling with the minibuses and lorries, the first city of the tour in Germany to welcome the band: Stadthagen (Lower Saxony). With its Renaissance palaces, cool temperatures and beautiful people. There, once again, they found enthusiasm, a deep desire to dialogue and create networks among the many local organisations.
In fact, they were invited by the Lutheran bishop Dr. Karl-Hinrich Manzke to be part of a large festival, of which the main theme was justice: climate justice, social justice, justice between peoples and nations… this initiative involved all the schools of the diocese in the area, where over 3000 young people took part in the various projects proposed by Sant’Egidio, Amnesty International and many NGOs. Of course, our ‘Start Now Workshop Project’ was one of them.
“It’s hard to find words to describe our experience here”, says Gen Verde manager Sally McAllister (Ireland), “not only because of the rich experience of deep ecumenical dialogue, but also because of the work with the young people in the workshops (even on the day of the concert!). They looked shy at the beginning, but by the end they were smiley and happy – each of them looked like they were a different person!”.
And no opportunity for dialogue was missed: lunches and dinners with the other organisations involved in the festival, with the pastors of the various churches, local police, representatives of the various organisations and NGOs, school headmasters, etc. The most interesting thing was to see how everyone is aiming at the same goals, albeit from different perspectives, and once again a confirmation of how art is an effective and strong instrument to promote dialogue, integration and peace.
In one of the schools where the workshops took place, for example, 70% of the 400 students are migrants. And here they did not talk about integration but offered an opportunity to experience it in the workshops. “Together, maybe even in just a few hours, we had real experiences that remained in our hearts and for which we received wonderful impressions,” explains one of the singers, Beatrice An (Korea).
“We Choose Peace”, this tour’s anthem!
On Thursday 7 July at the concert in Stadthagen we sang ‘We Choose Peace‘ live for the first time! It was wonderful to hear it sung by the boys and girls in the workshops, both during the concert and in the corridors of the school. In Germany it is perhaps the song that resonates most given the dramatic situation just a few kilometres away.
This tour has only just begun!
And the adventure goes on! These days Gen Verde will do a private concert in the women’s prison in Vechta, then move on to Garrel (near Bremen) for a ‘Gen Verde Acoustic‘ concert and to Schwerte, near Dortmund, for another ‘Gen Verde in Concert‘. From there it’s off to Poland, and then on to Slovakia and the Czech Republic, but you can expect more updates from each city! See you soon!