A Celebration of German History

3 November 2014

German folk dancers

German celebrations: German-Hungarian sisters Viola and Mandolin, pictured here in traditional dress, will perform a folk dance at the weekend’s event.

The fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989 was a significant event in German history and led to substantial social and political changes in Central and Eastern Europe.

To commemorate the 25th anniversary of this major revolution, the University of Waikato’s German programme in collaboration with the Waikato Goethe Society (German Cultural Club) will hold a celebration event on Sunday, November 9.

A festive celebration

To be held in the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts from 5.30pm, the evening will be a mix of German dance, video, puppet theatre, quizzes, classical and folk music, reading and discussion, with a programme designed for both children and adults.

The event is being supported by the German Embassy in Wellington and all German-speakers in the Waikato are encouraged to come along and take part in the festivities.

Time to reflect

“By holding this special event, we are aiming to remember the peaceful revolution of 1989 and to reflect on how the spirit of non-violent action may inform our responses to the present crisis in Europe and beyond,” says Dr Norman Franke, convenor of Waikato’s German programme.

“This is also a great opportunity for German-speakers to meet, socialise and enjoy some German food and drink,” he adds.

New scholarships

On the night, Tom Barratt, the director of Evonik Morrinsville, a German-based multinational agro chemistry company, will announce the sponsorship of two new scholarships for students studying German at Waikato. Mr Barratt is a University of Waikato alumnus and a former student of the German programme.

Guests will also be treated to a traditional folk dance performance by German-Hungarian born sisters Viola and Mandolin Ember, daughters of Waikato Goethe Society members, Dr Adrienna Ember and Stefan Doll. The musical frame of the evening will be provided by acclaimed soprano Evelyne Ann Bourton who will perform well-known folk songs such as ‘Kein schöner Land’ and ‘Die Gedanken sind frei’, as well asclassical repertoire by Bach and Brahms.

In a bid to encourage discussion on the night, a large 'memory table’ with artefacts from the late 1980s will be set up, encouraging those who attend to bring along items of relevance to German history.

To find out more about this event, contact Dr Norman Franke at [email protected]

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