Feeling blessed and full of gratitude

When I began thinking about a sabbatical, I wasn’t really sure where I wanted to go. My life as a musician has been immersed in the study of Bach, both his life and his works. And by performing his compositions on piano, organ and harpsichord and leading choirs of all ages in his masterwork choral compositions, I have truly been spiritually transformed. So a sabbatical related to Bach seemed appropriate.

Thus, I was compelled to look to Europe and began searching for a family to exchange their home with me.  In September after over 65 attempts, I discarded that thought and decided to pursue an Airbnb home rental.  

While searching on the Internet for rentals, both in France and Germany, this picture appeared and I was so taken by it, I just knew I had to rent this place. When I found Altenbeichlingen (the village of this windmill farm (youtube.com/watch?v=8NXTZF8Ot-k) on the map, I realized that it was right in the middle of all the places where the great J. S. Bach lived and worked. What serendipity! So this is where my Bach quest will begin.  

After about two weeks of vacation with four days each in Iceland and Paris, I will head to Germany to spend four lovely weeks in the cottage to the right of the windmill. From there, with a rented car, joined by family and friends visiting throughout my trip, I plan to visit towns, churches and villages experiencing the German countryside where Bach’s legacy began and to attend concerts of his music in churches where he performed.

Bach’s longest tenure as a church musician was spent in the final years of his life at Thomaskirche in Leipzig. There are organ recitals each Saturday afternoon which I hope to attend.

My trip will end with a journey to Lübeck in northern Germany where J. S. Bach walked over 300 miles to listen and study with the great organist and composer Diettrich Buxtehude. This was a life-changing experience for Bach; his compositional style was dramatically enhanced, and his heart was directed more deeply to service music as a church musician instead of serving as a court musician.

Thomaskirche (St. Thomas Church)

My heart is full as I embark on this journey.  I will be praying for you and ask you to pray for me. I am deeply grateful for this opportunity and look forward to sharing my experiences with you each week on our church’s website.  

-- Suzanne

FPC Richmond