Maybe music could save the world?

Kulturstaatsministerin Claudia Roth MdB und das mit der PRO MUSICA-Plakette geehrte Ensemble, das Blas-Orchester Rodde aus Rheine, vor der Stadthalle Rheine.

Minister of State for Culture Claudia Roth presents the highest awards for amateur music in Rheine

Rheine. “Maybe music could save the world?” Minister of State for Culture Claudia Roth MdB posed this question on Sunday at the festive concert for the presentation of the Zelter and PRO MUSICA plaques in the Stadthalle. In front of more than 500 guests, Roth presented the Zelter plaque for choirs and the PRO MUSICA plaque for instrumental ensembles, which was donated by the Federal President. This highest honor for amateur music-making, with performances by the Solingen Youth Symphony Orchestra, the Wuppertaler Kurrende boys’ choir, the Musica Viva accordion orchestra and the Groophonik pop choir, was the brilliant highlight of the Days of Choral and Orchestral Music (TCOM), which took place from 8 to 10 March in Rheine.

The Zelter and PRO MUSICA plaques are awarded annually to musical associations that have made a special contribution to the cultivation of music-making over the course of at least 100 years. This year, the first plaques and certificates were awarded to

Every year, numerous ensembles are awarded the plaques – in 2024 there will be a total of 51 Zelter plaques and 70 PRO MUSICA plaques. On behalf of all plaque recipients, the first award ceremony of the year is always held as part of the Days of Choral and Orchestral Music.

In her speech, Minister of State for Culture Claudia Roth MdB referred to the possibility of encounters in mutual respect through music in view of the war in Ukraine and the war in Gaza triggered by the terrorist act of Hamas. In her tribute to the ensembles honored with the plaques, she also addressed the enormous importance of musical youth work: “Youth choirs and orchestras promote community, convey democratic values and, yes, also openness to the other, to what has never been heard or seen before. Musical education lays the foundation for everything that you were able to experience this weekend at the Days of Choral and Orchestral Music and what we all appreciate so much about the rich amateur music scene in Germany: its absolutely indispensable contribution to our society.” At the same time as expressing her appreciation with the plaques, she called for a commitment to preserve this tradition and its contribution to our society in order to “save the world – if not directly, then at least to make it more peaceful and civilized.”

In his welcoming address, BMCO President Benjamin Strasser MdB paid tribute to the achievements of the ensemble members, who live for music on a voluntary basis, alongside work or school, and thus also made this festival possible: “The plaques stand for the ongoing engagement with our tradition, new artistic processes today and now. In over 100,000 music clubs and ensembles – and with 1,400 such concerts every day – people are working against the social divide in our country. What’s more, amateur music provides support, especially in structurally weak regions where there is little else. In its breadth, amateur music is therefore always an expression of our strong civil society and makes a decisive contribution to the nationwide provision of basic cultural services in Germany. We need music clubs today more than ever: they are the backbone of our democracy, which we must continue to strengthen.”

Dr. Peter Lüttmann, Mayor of the city of Rheine, thanked the many people involved in the Days of Choral and Orchestral Music: “This weekend, you made so many people in our city happy. We have experienced how much music moves us. It brings people together and provides education. But music only succeeds if we listen to each other.” The next Days of Choral and Orchestral Music will take place in Ravensburg (BW) from March 28 to 30, 2025. The town in the heart of Upper Swabia will then become the national capital of amateur music. Ensemble applications will be accepted from April 2024.