Friday, April 20, 2012

Presenting Hildegard von Bingen - IWAH General Meeting 17 April 2012

A couple of years ago I offered to the then Chairwoman of the International Women's Association of Hannover (IWAH) that I could do a presentation on Hildegard von Bingen for one of the monthly General Meetings. A few months ago, 2 Chairwomen later, I was asked to make good on that offer.

It happened yesterday. I've never done a PowerPoint presentation or really any type of public speaking before, although as a professional singer, it's not that far removed from performing in public. When I arrived at the venue, the venue IWAH has been using month in and month out for years and years, apparently a photographer for the kindergarten kids had been installed in the large meeting hall that we always use. And he refused to move. Well, there are a couple of much smaller but none-the-less large rooms upstairs which were offered to us. Luckily, the room we used was just big enough to hold the 30 or so members who came to hear me speak (and sing).

I spoke about Hildegard's life and work, showed some of the illuminations from her books of visions, and other pictures and sang a few excerpts from various songs and one complete song (O quam magnum miraculum est). Luckily, after all the illness I've had and travel I've been doing, my voice held out. I had intended on recording the whole talk with my iPhone, but someone called me in the middle (argh!!!) and I didn't get it started up again properly. So, I've only got about 10 minutes of it.

Although the audience was more knowledgeable about Hildegard than I had expected, I don't think anyone quite realized just what an amazing woman she was and how many kettles she had in the fire. The title of the blurb I wrote for the IWAH Newsletter really is true: Hildegard von Bingen - Nun, Mystic, Healer, Poet, Composer. What I really wanted to accomplish - to bring her to life for them - was accomplished I hope.

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