A tiny community in North Hesse. A sports ground on the outskirts of the town has become the meeting place this weekend for the artists of the big events on the programme at the International Youth Convention. More than 100 dancers, actors and singers are rehearsing here for the opening event on Friday and Saturday evening.
On Friday, 17th May 2019, many hands came to the clay sports pitch and helped in pinning marking tape to form a large circle, with four tram lines, radiating outwards. They called the construction the “Union Jack”. It represents a part of the stage construction in the Düsseldorf Arena, and is in the true original size.
”We are rehearsing here as close as possible to the original thing, so that the performers can get used to the size and distances they will have”, explained Julian Stump, the artistic director of the opening event.
From Friday until Sunday
The youth came, group by group, on Friday evening from all over Germany. The actors had already started their rehearsal by 6 p.m. in the sports hall. At the same time, the choir, mostly from Southern Germany, were practising in the youth hostel. The sounds of the IYC song, “Here I am”, echoed through the corridors – with lots of punch: drums and electric guitars giving it the sound of pop. A small choreography is also included.
It’s the actors and dancers who are at the middle of it. This group really came into action on Saturday morning. Outside, in front of the sports hall, the dancers were being trained by Ekaterina Levy, the choir rehearsed on the sports pitch and Julian Stump directed the three groups of actors in the hall. He wasn’t going to give any details away about their programme. “Enjoy the surprise”, he grinned and continued to concentrate on the performers. “Once again”, he said. They were refining the details.
Perfect open-air weather
After the midday break they all met on the sports pitch to go through the big rehearsal together – under bright sunshine. The sound resounded from the speakers as the different groups went through the programme and practised their sequences. Jeremy Dawson, from Great Britain, has composed various pieces for the opening. Participants of the IYC can also look forward to the IYC song, “Here I am”, which will be heard for the first time during the opening event.
The youth were being accommodated on Friday and Saturday by the New Apostolic Christians of the surrounding Kassel congregations. Some have come to the practise location and have been watching with great interest. Many of them will also be helping at the IYC. “We are really looking forward to it”, they all agreed.
Much joyful anticipation
On Saturday evening they all came wearily together in the youth hostel, Also present was David Otten, who is head of the planning group with responsibility for the Arena. “I had goose pimples today”, he said. “You were magnificent. I’m very much looking forward to your performance in the Arena!”
Sunday morning started with the church service in Kassel. Afterwards a group photo was taken, together with the congregation. In the middle was the IYC ambassador, Alicia Dawson, from London. She will take on the role of the stadium announcer in the Arena: the same with her – absolutely joyful anticipation! But firstly she has to write her final exams. They all had to make their separate ways back home again on Sunday evening – to Berlin, to Lake Constance, or, in Alicia’s situation, back to London. Until 1.5 weeks time: on Wednesday the first rehearsals will be taking place in the Arena. Not long to go now!