Orchestra Exchange Programme Founder visits College
It was a great pleasure to welcome Brigitte and Franz Jansen and their family to Campbell College last week, there first visit here since 2000.
Brigitte and Franz Jansen in the Central Hall.
Between 1988 and 2002, Campbell College shared in an exchange partnership with the school orchestra from Haus Overbach Gymnasium in Jülich, near Aachen, Germany. The OSO (Overbach Symphony Orchestra) was started by Frau Brigitte Jansen, the music teacher at the school, and from small beginnings the orchestra grew over a number of years to over 100 players. The orchestra exchange programme with Campbell College which began with a visit to Northern Ireland in 1988, developed through an OC, Barry Campbell (3775) who was an English teacher at Haus Overbach. In 1998, the Campbell College Orchestra visited Haus Overbach for the first time, under the directorship of David Catherwood (Hon OC), playing concerts in the local area and joining forces with the OSO for some items. In subsequent visits, the Campbell College orchestra performed in notable venues such as Aachen and Würselen Cathedrals. The OSO also continued their return visits to Northern Ireland and Brigitte, along with her husband Franz who played a very active part in all of the tours still share a particular affection for this part of the world, visiting every year. Furthermore, many of the Haus Overbach and Campbell pupils have kept in touch over the years.
In 2003, Brigitte left Haus Overbach to become Vice Principal and subsequently Principal of Gymnasium Herzongenrath, also near Aachen. She retired from this position at the end of January 2018, having throughout her career shown true commitment to pedagogy, coupled with great enthusiasm, determination and unstoppable energy inspiring countless pupils, most notably in music. Her Farewell Ceremony was attended by Mrs Coetzee, Head of Careers at Campbell, who participated in the 1998 visit to Haus Overbach in her first year teaching music in the College. Sarah gave a speech at the ceremony, outlining Brigitte’s work in this area and her impact on the musicians of Campbell. There was a surprise for Brigitte in which former OSO members came together to play some favourite pieces, having spent two years planning and getting together for weekend residential rehearsals. It was a particularly touching moment when Brigitte conducted the orchestra she had built, with members in their thirties and forties, some of whom went on to forge professional music careers.
Brigitte and Franz still visit Northern Ireland regularly and made time to visit the College on 11 October 2018 which was their first time back here since 2000. They spent some time with Mrs Coetzee, Head of Careers and took a tour of the buildings and grounds.