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German Studies Honors Chris Bremer ’60 with Evening of Song

Liederabend group
Front row: Jacquelin Culpepper, Dr. Chris Bremer, Robert Kopf

The German Studies Department hosted a Liederabend in honor of Dr. Chris Bremer '60 on March 20 in the Carnegie Guest House.

What is a Liederabend? It's a song evening.

"A Liederabend is an evening of (mainly) German songs, (mainly) from the Romantic period, 19th century, performed in an intimate small-scale space, usually in the home, in the salon or parlor," explained Dana Professor of German Studies and Chair Scott Denham.

"In the mid-19th century the songs (now sometimes called "art songs") were often the latest thing from the popular composers of the day, and with the advent of cheap publishing and distribution, sheet music was affordable for the bourgeois, informal lending libraries, and Singvereine (song clubs), so the Liederabend was a social event to show who knew the latest hits and was up on the newest thing from Leipzig, Berlin, or Vienna," he said.

Students hosted the event, singing and performing for Bremer, who has generously supported Davidson and German Studies at Davidson for many years.

Artist Associate in Voice Jacquelyn Culpepper was honored to participate.

"Thirty years of friendship came full circle that night, when I had the opportunity to honor a man who has been both fan and friend through the years," she said.

"I first met the Bremers when I was a frequent guest artist with the North Carolina Symphony, and Dr. Bremer and his wife were regular patrons. They then became attendees of my concerts around the state, and for years I heard about Dr. Bremer's alma mater, Davidson College, never knowing at the time that I was destined to teach there," she said. "Once at Davidson, I began singing for Dr. Henke's German Summer Institute and quickly discovered Dr. Bremer was quite often in attendance."

Bremer exemplifies lifelong learning and the attributes Davidson teaches.

In a truly liberal arts evening, the students were able to perform for and hear about a man who has demonstrated a life of exploring passions such as music, medicine and German.

"Most importantly, they met someone who lived those passions, served his fellow man, and gave back to the institution and people who ignited those passions to begin with. I was honored to be a part of that circle," Denham said.

Professor of German Studies Burkhard Henke echoed the accolades for Bremer and particularly for the students who participated in the Liederabend.

"Chris has given so generously to the department and the college over the years that it was a real pleasure to honor him in this way, combining his love of the German language, Austria and music in one amazing evening," Henke said.

"To do it right here in the beautiful Carnegie Guest House was especially moving. For that I cannot thank my colleagues enough, from Scott Denham, David Gilliland, Jacque Culpepper and Ilana Dorfman to all the wonderful student singers, the students in German and Global Literature who helped with translations, and Sophie McHugh '18, our current Bremer Scholar, who led through the evening. It was magical."