Leipzig Helps Sister City Houston with Charity Concert

09/11/2017

After the winds and torrents of Hurricane Harvey blew through southeastern Texas and beyond, residents of multiple cities have been left with the formidable task of rescuing and rebuilding their communities. Thankfully, countless organizations are making efforts to help these cities in any way they can, from food donations to emergency health kits—even from over 5,300 miles away. Houston’s sister city partners in Leipzig, Germany extended a helping hand by hosting a charity concert where all proceeds went to the victims of Hurricane Harvey in Houston.

Leipzig, Germany and Houston have been sister cities for 25 years. It all began when the resolution of support and endorsement of the Houston-Leipzig Sister City Organization was unanimously approved by the Houston City Council on April 29, 1992 and presented to German President von Weizaecker when he visited the city. Since then, their partnership has been an active and dynamic one, full of opportunities for business and technical exchanges, cultural events, and even an international internship program.

Saint Thomas ChurchIt is no wonder that when Houston was hit with disaster that Leipzig would enthusiastically step in to help their friends abroad. The idea for this event was first conceived by pastors of Saint Thomas Church in Leipzig Martin Hundertmark and Britta Taddiken, along with the Lord Mayor of Leipzig Burkhard Jung. The congregation of Saint Thomas in Leipzig and Christ the King Lutheran Church in Houston have had a long standing relationship with each other as part of the sister city program, so a charity concert held at Saint Thomas was a fitting way to show support.

The concert took place at Saint Thomas Church on September 7th. Speakers at the concert included Lord Mayor Burkhard Jung; Pastor Martin Hundertmark; Dr. Robert Moore, a former pastor of Houston’s Christ the King Lutheran Church and current Reformation Ambassador of the City of Leipzig; and Mr. Jeffrey VanDreal, the Minister-Counselor for Management Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Berlin. Each one expressed their concern and condolences for Houston and the importance of supporting the city in its time of need.

Britta Taddiken speaking to the congregationThe Saint Thomas boy choir (or Thomanerchor in German) sang with members of a wind quartet from the Gewandhaus Orchestra, along with the Calmus Ensemble. They performed works by J.S. Bach, J.H. Schein, and G.P. Telemann. In the past, the boy choir, the Calmus ensemble, and the full Gewandhaus orchestra have performed in Houston as part of various sister city partnership’s events.

The concert was free admission, but donations were collected ahead of the concert and at the door. The donations made have surpassed 26,000 Euros—showing the amazing support for Houston on behalf of Leipzig and the connection between the cities that has thrived after 25 years of partnership. Even with an ocean between them, Leipzig’s allegiance to Houston shows us the power of citizen diplomacy and the global connections that can support our communities in times of need.

Sister Cities International has started a Hurricane Relief Fund for sister cities affected by Hurricane Harvey including Houston, Corpus Christi, Port Arthur, and Beaumont. Please consider making a donation to help our sister city friends rebuild and recover from this awful disaster.

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