The Grand Chinese New Year Concert 2014 in Stuhr

The community of Stuhr is a combined municipality made of several smaller towns when Germany undertook a reform of municipal governments. It is located in the North of Germany, South of the port city of Bremen. The city is very active in its cultural life and has about 200 performances of all kind in a year. These performances are presented in a historical farm house. The hall is a refurbished barn, prepared to hold all kinds of cultural performances and even sports events. But the Grand Chinese New Year Concert is certainly the biggest event in that venue.

The venue of performance is located remotely in this community called "Stuhr", and it has conserved its country side appearance. The "Old Barn", where the performances are held, has no back stage area, and the artists use dressing rooms, rest rooms and place to relax in the old main house of the facility. To enter stage they have to walk over a paved courtyard to the barn hall. The facility is called "Gut Varrel".

When the orchestra arrives there with their busses and with the container lorry carrying the instruments, they are amazed of the view. This is so different from what they are used in the festive music halls they normally play in. They walk curiously around, look at the perfectly preserved building structures, and take a look through the small windows of the old farm bakery which is still in use today to satisfy touristic curiosity. The entire place breathes a warm welcome of home to those who visit.

In the afternoon of the performance day, the orchestra arrives there for rehearsal. After rehearsal they go to the main house to have a snack and to change into their colorful costumes. While they were rehearsing, voluntary helpers have prepared many dozens of German bread rolls with butter and German sausage to feed the orchestra before they go onto stage.

Stuhr is so special in this concert tour that Chinese newspapers and even CCTV, the Chinese state television company, have extensively reported about the concert in Stuhr in the past. This carried the reputation of this small city into millions of households in China, making the Chinese population feel proud about their cultural heritage to be spread deep into the German country. The local cable TV organizations and local newspapers report about the concert transporting the unique mood and passion of the concert into the surrounding country.

  • Pictures of the Old Barn in STuhr

    Logistics

    To arrange and organize the performance in Stuhr is not easy. The orchestra including their management, soloists, conductor, technical staff, accompanying Chinese press reporters, need the full support of a tour like accomodation, meals, sightseeing, and they need the full support of a back stage organization. The municipality of Stuhr has flexibly prepared for such a big request, and the mayor of Stuhr and his staff are dedicated to make this concert a success every year again.

    The accomodation, therefore, is done in Bremen and the transport is performed by busses between the hotel and the performance venue. The meals are taken in a Mongolian restaurant in Stuhr which provides enough space for the big group.

    Since the venue in Stuhr has no backstage, things are improvised. After arrival the available rooms are marked with big hand written Chinese characters of what the rooms will host, including wash rooms, showers, ladies' change room, men's change room, snack and relax room, snack preparing room, and so forth. The conductor will have a separate room for himself and the soloists use a room for all of them, separated however by female and male soloists.

    There is one person assigned to help the orchestra in all local questions and in all organizational question. This is done by xhsConsulting Ltd, together with staff of Wu Promotion on site. The municipality of Stuhr assigns their staff of cultural event organization to be available, too, in the venue for any help. They provide the materials for the snack catering which the voluntary helpers will then prepare for the musicians.

    After the concert is over, the busses carry the troupe to the restaurant Dhingis Khan, a mongolian restaurant close to the City Hall of Stuhr. There a late dinner is taken and the successful performance is celebrated. The staff of the restaurant serves in overtime, all are happily relaxing, before being carried back to the hotel for a deserved sleep.

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  • pictures of the old barn in Stuhr

    Moderation of the Concert

    Chinese music is, if heard for the first time, sometimes strange to a European ear used to European classical music. This is not because the music itself is strange, but the entire setup with the foreign instrument and their strange sounds, the five-tone music influence and many more aspects are not easily understood. Therefore, it was decided to have a moderation leading the audience through the concert.

    This moderation was done by xhsConsulting Ltd, later by Mr Freddy Quinn, a famous German singer, and in the last years by Mr Gerhard Schmitt-Thiel, famous for his German TV moderations of the Circus Festival of Monte Carlo and of twenty years moderation of the Vienna Opera Ball. His charming presentation of the Chinese music increases the emotional capture of the concert very much, and so he became part of the performance every year in Stuhr, again of course in 2014.

    History of the Concert in Stuhr

    In 2005, a venue contracted for the Great Chinese New Year Concert was cancelling the contract and a replacement was seeked. In this situation, a friend of xhsConsulting Ltd by accident recommended the Old Barn of Gut Varrel in Stuhr. This was the leader of the Shanty Squire in Brinkum (a town quarter of Stuhr), Mr Richard Hannig. His successful management in the squire had gained a lot of reputation for the city, and his connections finally made it possible to perform the concert in this relatively small performance hall.

    Like the first ever concert of this famous tour in Vienna in 1998, the performance was heavily supported by the municipal government, and until today, the municipality is promoting the concert so it could become famous all over the region. The cultural secretary in the municipality, Mr Edgar Woeltje, and his new assistance, Mrs Frauke Wulf who will follow him when he will retire in a few years, are engaged in the organization of the concert to bring it to a full success.

    The Mayor of Stuhr as well as the Vice Mayor also support and promote the concert in the name of the municipality. The savings bank of Stuhr, the "Sparkasse Syke" is sponsoring the print jobs for the marketing efforts (tickets, posters, flyers).

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