Wednesday, October 27, 2020 | Written by Kaela
In addition to giving students a chance to travel Europe, Georgia Tech-Lorraine hosts a lot of events for students during the week! With COVID-19 it makes organizing events a bit more tricky, but luckily, some are able to take place (with proper precautions: masks, social distancing, etc.) and last week, I was able to attend two of them!
City Hall with the Mayor
The mayor of Metz invited Georgia Tech-Lorraine students to a welcome reception in downtown metz. It took place at the Town Hall, an 18th century building with an ornate and elegant interior. It was absolutely beautiful inside. I personally love when buildings or their interiors are adorned in gold. Upon arrival, we had some time to mingle with other Georgia Tech-Lorraine students. This was a great opportunity, because this semester it has been difficult to meet graduate students since they live in another dorm. Soon after our arrival, the Mayor came to greet us.
His speech was in French, but thanks to Sonia Serafin (a GTL professor) it was translated to English for us. He spoke about the history of Metz: how it has been German at some points and French at others, how it has acted as a battlefield and a fortress in the past, and in the 1950s it was chosen to be the capital of the Lorraine region. Currently, the mayor aims to move towards clean energy such as solar panels and windmills. Georgia Tech-Lorraine then gifted the mayor with Georgia Tech merchandise. Afterwards, we were given refreshments and a welcome bag (with a book, mask, pen, and a couple of other items). We once again had the chance to network with one another as well as professors who came to the event.
National Orchestra of Metz Rehearsal
We had the opportunity to sit in on the music rehearsal of the National Orchestra of Metz under the direction of David Reiland. Metz’s location between France and Germany has given it a colorful past including being a war city. This orchestra rehearsal took place at the Arsenal, a building that once housed weaponry and military equipment, which has now been converted to hold receptions, performances, conferences, galleries, seminars, ceremonies, and so much more. The conversion of old buildings into cultural hubs is a common occurrence in France. This trend often lowers the cost of construction because instead of tearing down a rebuilding, they will strengthen old structures. We were given a short tour of the building and I learned the bottom of the chairs are lined with carpet so that the acoustics are similar to if there was a full house, regardless of the size of the audience.
The National Orchestra of Metz was rehearsing for an upcoming performance of Sibelius’s Violin Concerto and Beethoven’s 5th Symphony. It was amazing to hear some of the best musicians in the country play. I was taken back by the amount of skill sitting before me. I played flute for seven years and after starting college, I have been unable to find the time to play. Sitting before them gave me nostalgia and I left longing to play in an orchestra once again. Hopefully, I will have the chance to attend a concert in the future.
Attending these events taught me more about the city of Metz. In my desire to go to different cities on the weekend, I often take for granted the beautiful one I am temporarily residing in. The Mayor said that he “hopes [we] will keep a small part in [our] heart for Metz” and I most definitely will.