At the beginning of March 2022, it was clear that the Stuttgarter Oratorienchor e.V. would receive the Zelter Plaque in its anniversary year. The Ministry of Science, Research and the Arts of Baden-Württemberg wrote to congratulate the choir on this “honourable award by the Federal President”. The application for the award of the Zelter Plaque was submitted in the summer of 2021 and sent to the Federal Music Association for Choirs and Orchestras – BMCO for short – in Trossingen with numerous supporting documents. The many years of musical activity of our concert choir since its foundation finally had to be proven.
Awarding with ceremony in the Beethoven Hall
Somewhat disappointed, we realised that both certificate and plaque would not reach us in time for the anniversary concert. However, in consultation with the city of Stuttgart, we found a way to announce the awarding of the Zelter Plaque in a dignified manner with a small ceremony at the anniversary concert. The Mayor of Stuttgart, Dr. Fabian Mayer, took on this task and explained the significance of this award to the audience and all the participants in an entertaining way.
One week after the “Creation”, the bronze plaque weighing 775 grams (!) and the accompanying certificate signed by the Federal President arrived at Stuttgart City Hall and finally reached the 175-year-old Stuttgart Oratorio Choir in the first week of August.
Worth knowing about the Zelter Plaque in a nutshell
- The Berliner Liedertafel, a Berlin male choir, donated the first Zelter Plaque in 1909 for services to German male singing.
- Until 1942, the Zelter Plaque was awarded in bronze, silver and gold as state recognition for lay choirs.
- After the war, the German Singers’ Association again encouraged the state award of the Zelter Plaque. Federal President Heuss signed the decree stipulating that the Zelter Plaque be awarded again in recognition from the 100th anniversary of a choir. The opening words of the decree were:
“As an award for choral associations that have rendered special services to the cultivation of choral music and the German folk song and thus to the promotion of cultural life, I endow the Zelter Plaque. The details of the award will be determined by special guidelines.”
Bonn, 7 August 1956 The Federal President Theodor Heuss The Deputy Federal Chancellor Blücher The Federal Minister of the Interior Dr Schröder
Who was Carl Friedrich Zelter?
Of course, one can learn about the life and work of this gentleman through various sources. But it is also easier: in our Festschrift zum 175jährigen Jubiläum you will find, among other things, an article on his person and the plaque.