The U.S. Army Europe Band and Chorus presented their “Ring the Bells!” concert Dec. 4, 2019, at the Wiesbaden Kurhaus as a gesture of appreciation from U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden to the city of Wiesbaden and other host nation partners.
“Every year our community looks forward to gathering at this holiday concert to share in the joy of the season,” said Garrison Commander Col. Noah Cloud, whose daughter, Sophia, translated his remarks to German for the audience. “The concert not only brings us beautiful music, but it also brings us together and unites us as a community in this building for a few hours as we put the cares of the world aside. And together, we allow our hearts and minds to be uplifted as we listen and turn our thoughts to what matter the most – our God, our family, our friends and our community.”
Maj. Gen. Joe Jarrard, USAREUR deputy commanding general for Army National Guard, talked about the link between German and American Christmas traditions, such as the advent calendar, certain carols, Santa Claus and Christmas trees.
“Christmas is such a special time of year, especially here in Germany,” he said. “In the United States, we have many Christmas traditions that are actually your traditions. They originated here, and it is particularly enjoyable for us as Americans to experience them while living here in Germany. The most recognizable German Christmas tradition is of course the Tannenbaum. …these trees are a beautiful reminder of the intersection of our cultures.
“Tonight we celebrate our friendship during this special holiday season,” he said.
Band members came down from the stage into the audience, the Grinch and Santa Claus both made appearances, and the garrison’s own Command Sgt. Maj. Christopher Truchon took a turn conducting.
The band played favorites such as “Silent Night,” “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” and “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town.”
Wiesbaden Lord Mayor Gert-Uwe Mende thanked everyone for the concert and wished everyone a joyful Christmas and Happy New Year.
“Americans here in Wiesbaden — no matter if they are Soldiers or civilians — are not only guests, but also friends and part of the community,” he said. “They are all Wiesbadeners, spending their holidays here in Wiesbaden, far away from their home — but in their ‘Home in Germany.’”