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Singing Gospel Together Across Borders


„It would be great to launch a joint, cross-border project for people with MS!” This was the conclusion that Isabelle Cames (member of the MSL committee in Luxembourg) and Cornelia Spahn-Hartl (MS Coach of DMSG-Rheinland-Pfalz from Germany) reached at the end of 2019. Unfortunately, soon afterward, the Covid-19 pandemic hit with all its contact restrictions and planning uncertainties.

Cross-border MS Collaboration Through a Gospel Choir

Eventually, at the end of 2020, the new joint project began to take shape. Theresia Birngruber, who studied ‘Musical’ at the University for Music and Performing Arts in Vienna and works inter alia as a vocal coach in Luxembourg, was also involved.

A gospel choir was created, consisting of two groups of people affected by MS who rehearsed in Trier and Luxembourg and later performed together.

The aims of the project were the following:

  • Learning correct breathing techniques
  • Positive influence of singing on the psychological wellbeing
  • Foster a sense of achievement
  • Create new contacts with other singers (and people affected by MS)
  • Promote the love and enjoyment of music

The project was submitted to the Fondation EME*, which provided the necessary financial and logistical support with unwavering commitment and professionalism.

Finally, in February 2022 the project could be launched. Saturday after Saturday, about 35 people affected by MS, their relatives and professionals aged between 11 and 80 met for rehearsals, both at the MS Day Centre Um Bill and at Schamatdorf in Trier.

All joint singing rehearsals commenced with relaxation and a number of warm-up exercises for the voice to ensure that this unique instrument was best prepared for the benefit of the group. No special musical knowledge was required: with her positive reinforcement techniques and energy, Theresia Birngruber managed to draw out the best in every individual. The participants were concentrated, attentive and full of enthusiasm.

Cross Border MS Choir Singing in Hall

Culminating at World MS Day 2022

The grand finale of the project was a well-attended concert in the BGL BNP Paripas auditorium in Luxembourg-Kirchberg on 30th of May – the World MS-Day. Reports on local television with a live broadcast switch to the concert hall guaranteed plenty of attention for the project and the World MS Day. An enthusiastic audience rewarded the choir with a standing ovation for their energetic and passionate performance.

Corinne Cahen, Minister for Family and Integration who had been in the audience affirmed:

“Yes, it was wonderful (…) when you see that the people on stage are so full of emotions, it touches you; then you know that the project is the right project (…) When the people who participate can show such emotion and are that happy, it spills over into the hall and that is fantastic!”

That the project more than achieved its goal is reflected in some of the participants’ comments:

“It is a pleasure to sing, it puts the body into motion and that is very important with MS. It is a real joy to be able to sing together with colleagues.” (Jacques)

“… never in my life did I experience that much joy and fun and unfortunately that is the truth. I never thought I could feel that much joy.” (Silke)

To learn more about the cross-border gospel choir please watch the video below or contact the MS Society of Luxembourg:

*The Fondation EME (Ecouter pour mieux s’entendre) defines its aims as follows : In a society in search of dignity and inclusion, the Fondation EME enables everyone to live better together, thanks to the universal language of music. This goal is reached by bringing together musicians and persons who are fragile or in distress.

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