Coming together beyond the boundaries of our disciplines in a way that wasn’t possible at all during our working lives is extremely enriching.
The Charm of Coincidence
We’re waiting for our connections in the comfortable waiting area of a local transport provider. “We” are Monika, who teaches in the Music and Movement Education/Rhythmics programme, and Otto, a dean’s office employee. We soon find ourselves deep in discussion. We both love our jobs at the mdw, and we tell each other about our various focuses and areas of work. And suddenly, there it is—the question: “What happens after we retire?” A new phase of life brings with it new perspectives, changes, and freedoms. But one does indeed still want to see old colleagues, too. To a great many of us who’ve often worked together here for many years, the mdw has become something like a family. And it’s before this backdrop that our thoughts begin bouncing back and forth … perhaps an “Old-Star Orchestra” or a choir, or just getting together for coffee. Lots of things could be, nothing has to. Both of us would like there to be some sort of space at the mdw where former employees can come together … and a few years later, we send out an invitation that reads as follows:
The mdw’s Doors Are Wide Open
“Perhaps your transition out of active professional life at the mdw was many years back, or you’ve just recently retired. But whatever the case, you still reminisce about your active working life. Many of us would like to remain in contact with the mdw as well as with former colleagues—and this inspired us to launch a project that includes regular get-togethers at the University.
You’d like to remain in contact with the mdw.
You’d like to meet up with former colleagues.
You’d like to interact with music and movement.
We’d like to give you space to do all that.
We’d like to make possible new creative formats in a relaxed atmosphere.
We’d like to bring you together.
In a nutshell: mdw Plus
The feedback we received was positive and encouraging: “Great idea! – Thank you for this initiative! – Looking forward to seeing my colleagues. – Fantastic.”
All of us were welcome as part of this community. And the opportunity to sing and move our bodies as a group ended up getting all of the participants into contact with each other.
Our first meet-up left quite an impression on us all. Memories were exchanged, and it was a huge pleasure to see each other once more. Together, we sang an old canon—Viva la musica—by Michael Praetorius (1571–1621). We also sang new and unfamiliar pieces—such as Gaudeamus hodie, put to paper by Rainer Butz (*1959) after an orally transmitted cannon —as a group. In motion together within the space, we enjoyed musical encounters with familiar and unfamiliar former administrators, teachers from the various performance and education degree programmes, researchers, and artists. And after a quite literally moving musical time together, we refreshed ourselves with cake, pretzels, and of course some wine accompanied by a cheerful toast. Anecdotes and experiences from bygone times were exchanged with great interest and lots of humour, and our two hours together went by in a flash. With this offering, the mdw would like to say thank you to those many people who put their hearts and so many decades’ worth of tireless dedication into shaping the mdw with their specialised expertise and as providers of artistic instruction.
It was quite moving to reconnect with others; this kind of intense exchange simply can’t be beat—it’s just wonderful all the way around.
Beginning with the academic year of 2022/23, we’re inviting our members to meet once per semester. We think that our many decades of work experience shouldn’t simply be lost, and new ideas are always welcome. The University is supporting this initiative and making available the necessary space. And you’re warmly invited to help shape our activities, to lend us a hand, and to be part of it. Our experiences and doings are part of this institution’s history. It’s time to bring them back to life.
Come join us!
Get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org