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In 1992, the cantor of the Protestant Passionskirche congregation, Dr. Gunter Kennel, founded the Choir of the Passionskirche to provide regular musical accompaniment for services. Since then the choir has continued to grow, and now provides a musical home to over a hundred members.

The combining of the two congregations of the “Heilig-Kreuz” and “Passion” churches
in 2000 led to a further rise in the number of people who can share their passion for singing. The choir‘s rehearsals contributed greatly to a feeling of harmony and togetherness for the members of the two churches.

The choir regularly provides musical accompaniment for services in the Heilig-Kreuz and the Passionskirche. Alongside the great sacred choral and orchestral works, the choir’s repertoire also includes secular a cappella music from all periods of music history. The choir makes regular appearances in the wider community, one example being their performance at the Carnival of Cultures in Berlin. Concert tours to Bavaria, Switzerland, Rügen, and Stockholm have also given the choir the opportunity to inspire audiences outside Berlin. The choir is led by choirmaster Matthias Schmelmer. Born in Franconia, he studied chamber music in Erlangen and Berlin, and has directed the choir since 2003.

As a church musician, Mr. Schmelmer felt that the chance to participate in the programme of the Saisho Homa ceremony is very meaningful. He said, “Religious dialogue is especially important in Kreuzberg, with its multicultural neighbourhoods. Making music together is a wonderful way of highlighting the elements religions
have in common. This is why we are glad to be taking part in the Saisho Homa ceremony in Berlin.”



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