Friendship concert celebrates longstanding partnership

by Mary Ann Davis
U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz Installation Management Command Directorate

U.S. Army Europe Band and Chorus singers perform a rendition of “Tage wie diese,” at the German-American Friendship Concert Oct. 14 at the Fruchthalle in Kaiserslautern. The event, sponsored by the U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz and the city of Kaiserslautern, celebrated their relationship throughout the years and provided an opportunity to interact as friends and neighbors. — Photo by Mary Ann Davis

U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz and the city of Kaiserslautern sponsored a German-American Friendship Concert to celebrate their harmonious partnership Oct. 14 at the Fruchthalle.

The U.S. Army Europe Band and Chorus played for a sold-out house of nearly 600 guests for the fourth year in a row, delighting audience members with a wide range of music from classical, contemporary and swing tunes that had listeners dancing in their seats.

Although the German and English languages differ in many ways, “music is the universal language,” according to American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and musical events like these bring both cultures together melodiously, said Col. Keith Igyarto, USAG RP commander.

“This concert is truly a symbol of our friendship and serves as an opportunity to say thank you to this great city, which provides a home away from home to our Soldiers, civilian employees and families and the selfless, generous hospitality for the many Americans in the greater Kaiserslautern region,” Igyarto said.

To emphasize that theme and play on the language, the commander presented a gift to Kaiserslautern Mayor Dr. Susanne Wimmer-Leonhardt — a “Cymbal of Friendship,” using the musical accouterment with an appreciation engraved upon it.

Wimmer-Leonhardt was in-tune with the commander’s sentiment.

“It is a great honor for us to welcome the United States Army Band and Chorus here in Kaiserslautern,” Wimmer-Leonhardt said. “This event has become a real highlight in our event calendar, and I am happy to see such a great turnout again this year.”

In the 70 years that the armed forces have been in the Kaiserslautern area, many friendships have formed, she said, and Germany and the United States have grown together in a very special way here in the Western Palatinate, which has shaped the region and made it a unique place to work and live.

“We are very appreciative of you and would like to emphasize that we are very thankful for your presence here,” the mayor added. “This appreciation is mutual, as I have come to learn during our many encounters. All the better that we can share this appreciation at the German-American Friendship Concert each year.”

Lastly, the USAG RP commander said, “This concert celebrates the relationships we’ve developed throughout the years and gives us a chance to interact as friends and neighbors. We look forward to continuing our partnership and this tradition symbolized by ‘Friendship through Music.’”