Jam On: Music brings German and American youths together
December 4, 2013
WIESBADEN, Germany - What expression would you use to describe an event that encourages friendship through song?
"Jam On" is the response that German and American youths gave Nov. 15 for the event that featured music and dance performances at the Wiesbaden High School.
"I straddle between the cultures … I'm very pleased to see these cultures united under one of my passions," said Natalia Lynch, event co-emcee, who said as an American she attends German school and is a musician in the band Volition.
Jam On, the event that featured musicians from nine different schools was an idea that was spawned from Wiesbaden High School's first involvement with the Leonardo Project -- where 1,500 students from 35 area schools submitted competitive projects in categories such as music, technology, communication and social awareness.
As a result of the school's participation the leaders of the Leonardo Project desired to have more occasions that facilitated the coming together of German and American youths to inspire more creativity.
"Your projects motivated us. … The ideas they came up with … we didn't want to let go of those people," said Catherine Dallmer, of the Leonardo Club, about the atmosphere generated from having the American youths participate in the Leonardo Project, a program that was established 10 years ago.
Peter Witmer, U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden school liaison officer, said he was invited to a meeting by the Leonardo administrators and proposed the idea of holding a variety show to bring the young artists and musicians together in hopes of inspiring more ideas toward furthering relations.
"When people come together, you get all sorts of things inspired," said Witmer, who said that bringing together the youths of the two cultures was a long held dream.
While any of the Leonardo Project categories could have inspired other types of events, planning and hosting a music variety show was seemingly effortless.
"Everybody understands music," said Witmer, who said he loves to do things that bring people together and inspire new ideas. "Musicians inspire each other."
Several of the young performers in the show welcomed the experience and saw it as an opportunity to showcase their talent and draw on inspiration from the other artists.
"I'm happy to play with the Americans and to see the different performances from everyone," said Katherine Peters, Leibnizschule Big Band saxophonist, adding, "I hope to do this more often, and to make time to do this."
"I have the chance to sing and show people what I love," said Damion Chlopecki, vocalist in the Carl-von-Ossietzki School rock band, who said he hopes one day to perform on a world tour. "It's great to enjoy the music of everyone. It's good to gain a new experience and improve myself. It was very good for me."
And though the event is past, organizers hope relations and such gatherings among the youths will continue. Leonardo association leaders formed the Leonardo Club in the summer to facilitate year-round engagements between Wiesbaden's German and American youths.
"Let's get this going. We can have wonderful events as a partner," said Dallmer, who encouraged military community youths to sign up to be members in the club. "You've got to be a part of the city life. It will be great to have you mix in … gaining different opportunities and experiences while in Wiesbaden."
Youths can learn more about the club at www.leonardo2013.de and register by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.