Julius Knierim's 100th Birthday Celebration

By Kerry Lee, Spring City, PA

Julius Knierim

Julius Knierim

With the help of friends and the angels, I was able to attend the conference celebrating Julius Knierim’s 100th birthday and the Independent Music School.

There were 70 people in attendance! Being a student of the Independent Music School so long ago (1971 - 1973), I thought I would know very few people. To my surprise, I knew many people through the lyre who attended the schooling: Martin Tobiasson, Christian Giersch, Hans Niesson, Susanne Heinz, Horst Nieder, Andrea Pronto, and Hartmut Reuter, to name just a few. Lothar Reubke was the only one of the original teachers who could make it. Also, many more people came for the main talks.

Gerhard Beilharz spoke the first evening about Julius’s life. During the workshop, many participants spoke of how they met Julius and their lasting impressions of him. Lothar Reubke gave a lively talk, demonstrating with his arms what he was saying.

On Saturday evening was a concert of local lyre group, choirs and the most exciting of all was Julius’ men's choir from the little village of Hepsisau at the bottom of the hill of the home where he lived in Michael’s Hof. Several of the people who were students of Julius in Michael’s Hof also attended.

Evert and Cristina van Grootel, who live close by Bad Boll where the conference was held, hosted me, and they were excellent. Evert showed me the Christian Community of Göppingen, a famous one for its unique architecture, and the buildings in Plochingen of Hundertwasser, a world famous architect and painter from Austria. They treated me with a piano sonata, a violin sonata, and a series of seven songs all by George Enescu, a Romanian composer. In gratitude, I then improvised on the lyre. It was an experience not to be forgotten.

The following are thoughts of the conference from Hartmut Reuter, builder of the large standing lyre that we saw in Zeist, Netherlands:

"We were all able to sing spontaneously the 3-part tra-la-la canon, by Pär Albom. We also sang with firmness and in fine soundness, (thanks to the guidance of Hans Niesson) “Michael’s Call” and “Wie Leicht wird Erde Sein” from Julius Knierim. We had one of the initial teachers with us: Lothar Reubke. He chose the topic “Julius Knierim and the Fifth” and he focused on the “and.”

"I could talk with the first wandering student in our Freie Musik Schule, Kerry Lee, whose name I often heard mention: Kerry Jones – she has had her European epoch.*

"We chose to hum instead of clap in the last session of the workshop, when we were altogether presenting. The result of the humming was as an improvisation, fulfilling our concept of creating music of the present. It is something worth remembering."

*Kerry: I found out after 48 years why I was a legend to all the teachers and students who came after me. Christof-Andreas was able to explain it the best. He said it is a spiritual law that in order to have a training be successful, you must have a student asking for it. I was that student.