The idea was born in the mind of Jörg Wöltche, a clerical teacher from Bad Kissingen. To create a hymnbook, which could be used to launch an organ accompaniment in a smartphone through printed QR codes. Our cooperation began when we extended the idea to a Czech-German hymnbook of Christmas songs.
I was surprised by the amount of people both within and outside the church who liked this idea. First, we were offered support by the district and then even by Synodal Council. Also the introduction of this concept to the Czech-German Fund for the Future seemed promising, so we named the project “Interactive Czech-German hymnbook of Christmas songs” with a subtitle Common heritage – mutual enrichment. Even two foundations from Cheb let us know that they received a model of the hymnbook, they liked the idea and that they would like to support it. I shall apply for a grant with them, they say. It was an amazing feeling – not having to visit institutions and intrude, but directly to get an offer, because the idea was convincing enough by itself.
The printed hymnbook, which is printed in a pocket size of a horizontal A6, has 56 pages printed on a waterproof paper. That will make it possible to sing under the open sky, even if it the weather is snowy or misty. It contains 20 songs: ten of them have both the German and Czech lyrics, five of them are translated from German to Czech and five are translated from Czech to German. This way, everyone who holds the hymnbook, no matter if they are Czech or German, will be able to sing three quarters of the songs in their own language and five will be in the neighbours’ language.
All of the songs not only have notes but there is also an interactive organ accompaniment prepared for them. The printed black QR code will ensure that every smartphone or tablet (with a free QR scanning software installed) can connect to the mp3 files that are stored online and automatically play them as an accompaniment for the singing. The second – green – QR code leads to the internet page of the specific song. There should be available not only all strophes, that do not fit in the hymnbook, but also information about the songs’ origin, their authors and the history of their work.
Thanks to the sum of all the grants, we will be able to offer a very favourable price to everyone who will order the hymnbook.
The first testing of the hymnbook took place at Gathering of (not only) evangelic youth at the end of September in Jablonec nad Nisou. In addition, within the 500th anniversary of reformation, the hymnbook was ceremonially introduced at the regional church day in Coburg.
And who is it meant for? To all Czechs and Germans who want to sing together. For example during Advent and Christmas celebrations, by the Christmas tree on a square, during partner visits of schools, cities and associations or during common services.
The interactive element is curiosity, which complies with needs of individuals or small groups, such as families that do not have their own instruments. It should support them so that they dare to sing. It can serve to lonely people at home or maybe just rest homes. It can also encourage young people, who are not used to singing alone, to try it.
And finally – the hymnbook can be a nice, funny and available gift missionary character.
Petr Chamrád (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org)