Dresden. And organs.
A couple of pictures to prove that we're really in Dresden. Der Fürstenzug (the Procession of Princes):
I feel like I have to prove to myself that we're really here, sometimes. Many parts of it look so different from when I lived here 20 years ago, and even the parts that look the same are disconcerting because there are people everywhere! Dresden was not a tourist town when I was a missionary here, and now it is. And Prager Straße was not a super busy shopping mecca, and now it is.
I've been to three organ concerts since we got here -- two at the Catholic Hofkirche, where they have free 30-minute recitals on Wednesdays and Saturdays (I think these are the same recitals that I sometimes went to as a missionary), and one at the newly rebuilt Lutheran Frauenkirche, which was literally a pile of rubble when I was here. The rubble was just beginning to be organized and cataloged for the rebuilding when I left Germany in July of 1993. The rebuilt church is really beautiful, bright and colorful inside. The organ is in front of the congregation and two stories up (really high!), which is not the usual placement in a cathedral -- usually it's behind the congregation and one story up.
I have loved hearing different organs here and in Prague, but the more I hear, the more I love the Tabernacle Organ and the daily noon recitals there. I love that they're free and that they're every day (and in the summer months, there is also the same recital performed at the Conference Center at 2:00 pm), and I think the programs are just about perfect: thirty minutes long, they always include a familiar tune arranged by the organist and "Come, Come, Ye Saints" arranged by the organist, and they always finish with full organ.
I think everyone should go to the Temple Square Organ Recitals. The organists are excellent, world-class musicians and the music is wonderful. They are Monday through Saturday at noon and Sundays at 2:00 pm in the Tabernacle (sit towards the back or in the balcony facing the organ for the best sound). Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, the same program is performed in the Conference Center Monday through Saturday at 2:00 pm. The Conference Center organ is not as big as the Tabernacle Organ, but it's in a much bigger space, so the best place to sit is as close as possible. And yes, I've gone to both recitals on one day, just so I could hear both organs. I like the Tabernacle organ best, but the Conference Center organ is also outstanding.
If you're still with me, here's a video of me playing the Tabernacle organ last August. Yes, me! On the Tabernacle Organ! Much thanks to Andrew Unsworth, one of the Tabernacle organists, for letting me play it. As Mira says, "That's the organ that's on the hymn book!"
Finally, here's a picture for my dad, to show him that the former East Germany is no longer black, white, and grey. Look at those colorful buildings behind Seth!