Example. Example. Example. Example.

Martin Luther & Music

Lutheran Heritage Tours for Choirs

Luther 2017As the 500th anniversary of the start of the Reformation approaches, come celebrate Martin Luther’s remarkable legacy, and his love for music, in the places where it all began!

Lutheran Heritage MapWalk in Luther’s humble footsteps across Germany: from the house in Eisleben where he was born, to the cell in the Fortress of Wartburg where he translated the New Testament into German, to the Castle Church in Wittenberg where he nailed his 95 Theses. Experience the rich heritage of your Lutheran faith as you visit the world’s largest Reformation memorial in Worms, or stand in St. Thomas Church where Luther first introduced the Reformation in Leipzig in 1539. While you ponder the significance of the Great Reformer’s life and work, you will also enjoy Germany’s rich culture and its hearty cuisine.

In addition to being the land of Luther, Germany is renowned for its significant music history and tradition. Many of the most notable composers lived or worked in these same cities, and their influence remains evident today.

Revisit the places of Luther’s life while enjoying a variety of performance opportunities, including—

  • Singing as a guest choir for a Sunday morning worship service or Mass
  • Short, informal daytime performances in historic churches
  • Full-length evening concerts, often in smaller towns where there is more opportunity to interact with local audiences.

“Next to the Word of God, the noble art of music is the greatest treasure in the world.” – Martin Luther

Refo500Germany has been preparing for this anniversary since the Luther Decade began in 2008, which will culminate in a worldwide celebration in 2017: the Reformation Jubilee. Don’t miss this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to participate in this unique religious and historical event with all of its musical and artistic festivities. Give your ensemble the experience of a lifetime as your musical repertoires ring throughout the very churches, halls, and cathedrals for which they were composed, and together reflect on the courage and faith of Martin Luther and the other fathers of the Reformation. The potential to enrich your faith through travel is endless!

Witte Travel & Tours is proud to be the North American travel partner of Refo500, the international platform for knowledge, expertise, ideas, travel and events, specializing in the 500 year legacy of the Reformation.

Sample 10-Day Itinerary

choirWitte will create a custom-designed performance tour for your group that offers a variety of experiences according to your goals and desires.

Day 1—Departure

Day 2—Berlin
Wilkommen in Deutschland! Today’s sightseeing includes views of the Reichstag and Brandenburg Gate, with a visit to the Museum at Checkpoint Charlie to learn about the history of the Berlin Wall. We’ll also make a visit to the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church and enjoy a relaxing cruise of Germany’s dynamic capital.

Day 3—Berlin
After breakfast, we’ll transfer to the Dietrich Bonhoefferhaus, a memorial to the life and work of the young German pastor Bonhoeffer. After perusing the interesting exhibits, we’ll drive along Unter den Linden and on to the Nikolaiviertel to see the Nikolaikirche, the oldest church in Berlin. An evening performance can be arranged in one of Berlin’s historic churches.

Statue of Martin Luther, ErfurtDay 4—Wittenberg
On our morning walking tour with a local guide, we’ll visit Luther House, the Stadtkirche, and the Schlosskirche, where Luther famously affixed his 95 Theses to the church door and which is also home to his tomb. During our walking tour, your choir can sing one or two songs when we visit the Stadtkirche and Schlosskirche. Later we’ll visit the Melanchthon House.

Day 5—Eisleben, Leipzig
This morning we’ll travel west to Eisleben to visit Luther’s birthplace, as well as the house in which he died in 1546. Then we’ll continue on to Leipzig and the St. Thomas Church, where Luther’s sermon on Whitsunday in 1539 effectively introduced the Reformation to Leipzig. If your choir is in Leipzig on a Sunday, there are numerous churches happy to welcome a visiting choir. Regardless of the day of the week, there are opportunities for informal daytime and full evening concerts. If your choir would also like to include visits to some of the museums devoted to composers, we recommend making Leipzig a two-night stay with one full day devoted to music history.

Day 6—Erfurt, Eisenach
Today we’re headed southwest to Erfurt, the “Town of Flowers.” Our first stop is at the Augustinian Monastery where Luther once lived and worked. We’ll also visit St. Peter’s Cathedral where there may be an opportunity to sing one or two songs. After a stop at the Kramerbrücke bridge, have some free time for exploring or shopping before continuing west to Eisenach.

Day 7—Eisenach
Our sightseeing today will take us first to the impressive Fortress of Wartburg, where we’ll see the Knight’s Hall, the dining room, the Wartburg museum and Luther’s room. Next on our agenda are visits to the Bachhaus (Bach’s birthplace and museum) and St. George Church.

Day 8—Mainz, Worms, Heidelberg
On the road again, we’ll visit Mainz to see the Gutenberg-Museum, home to two original editions of the world-famous Gutenberg Bible. We’ll continue on to Worms to see the 19th-century Luther Monument, and then we’ll head for Heidelberg, our home for the last two nights of our tour. A full evening concert can be arranged in Heidelberg or one of the nearby towns.

Day 9—Heidelberg
We’ll start today by touring the romantic Heidelberg Castle. Then we’ll walk through the historic city center to visit the University Library and the Holy Ghost Church. The next few hours are yours to finish your souvenir shopping before we reconvene in the evening for a festive farewell dinner.

Day 10—Return
All too soon, it’s time to head home! After breakfast, we’ll transfer to the airport to check in for our return flights to the U.S.

Planning a Lutheran Heritage Tour for Your Choir

Johann Sebastian Bach, Leipzig It all begins with a DIALOGUE between you and one of our Group Tour Specialists. Together we will narrow down the big decisions on the right cities, time frame and length of your trip to fit your goals and budget.

From there, one of our Group Tour Specialists will further the conversation until they present to you a TOUR PROPOSAL document, which includes a planned itinerary, details on trip components and inclusions, and pricing and payment options.

Once we are in agreement on the details, you accept our proposal with a set-up deposit, and we get to work booking components and designing your PROMOTIONAL BROCHURE—a custom-designed, full-color registration packet.

At this point it’s time to advertise and RECRUIT for your tour. We are available to help you with promotional materials or even participation in meetings.

Witte can receive all of the passenger REGISTRATIONS and deposits directly or they can route through your organization. From there, we manage each individual account and any special arrangements desired!

We take care of the details and you prepare your group for TRAVEL. We’ll be in steady communication, adjust to any last-minute realities, and have you on your way before you know it!

LutherCountry Events

Exhibition | Festival / Event | Musical Festival / Event

March 18 – April 10, 2016
Thuringia Bach Festival
Thüringer Bachwochen e. V. | Thuringia
At the largest classical music festival in Thuringia, music-lovers will be able enjoy Baroque music– in particular, the works of Johann Sebastian Bach — performed in authentic, relevant sites. Learn more…

April 30 – July 31, 2016
The Bible in Pictures by Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld
Lutherhaus | Eisenach
This special exhibition examines Schnorr von Carolsfeld’s ‘Picture Bible’—perhaps the most well-known series of Biblical illustrations in the world.
Learn more…

April 30, 2016 – December 31, 2018
With the Sword or Strong Faith – Luther and the Witches
Mittelalterliches Kriminalmuseum | Rothenburg ob der Tauber
This fascinating exhibition at the Medieval Crime Museum follows the history of popular belief in witchcraft and the persecution of accused witches. In particular, it focuses on Martin Luther and his perspectives on witchcraft during the Reformation, and also highlights the witch hunts in Franconia and Rothenburg ob der Tauber at that time. Learn more…

May 12 – August 7, 2016
Art & Religious Faith: the Ottheinrich Bible and the Neuburg Palace Chapel
Neuburg Palace | Neuburg an der Donau
Authentically set in the lavish Neuburg Palace, this exhibition features important works of art that were commissioned by princes during the Reformation and which stand testament to a century distinguished by the intersection of artistic innovation and religious reform. Learn more…

May 27 – June 12, 2016
Handel Festival
Handel House Foundation | Halle (Saale)
Enjoy a variety of events and performances at meaningful sites associated with the great German composer, George Frideric Handel, during this two-week music festival. Learn more…

June 10 – 12, 2016
Luther’s Wedding
Lutherstadt | Wittenberg
This weekend festival celebrates Martin Luther’s wedding to Katharina von Bora, and has been an annual event since 1993. Thousands of visitors from around the world come to Wittenberg to enjoy a full program of medieval and modern performances at historic locations. The Castle Church becomes the center of a traditional fair with jugglers, musicians, craft stalls, and many varieties of delicious food and drink to sample. The highlight of the festival occurs on Saturday afternoon, as a grand parade of 2,000 costumed, cheering wedding guests accompanies the famous couple through the old town to their wedding banquet on the Market Square. Learn more…

June 25 – 26, 2016
7th Katharina Day
Torgau Council | Torgau
This festival in honor of Martin Luther’s strong and courageous wife, Katharina von Bora, has been taking place every year in Torgau as part of the Luther Decade leading up to 2017. Learn more…

October 2, 2016 – September 30, 2017
Media of the Reformation – Clash of Religions
Reichsstadtmuseum | Rothenburg ob der Tauber
This collection of pamphlets from the first half of the 16th century offers a vivid depiction of the turbulent religious and cultural clash that erupted during the Reformation and which dominated the early print media and publications of the modern age. Learn more…

November 12 – 13, 2016
Luther’s Birthday
Explore a large medieval market and celebrate the birthday of the Great Reformer during this annual festival in Eisleben. Learn more…

April 3 – November 5, 2017
The Divided Heaven: Reformation and Reaction in the Ruhr Region
Ruhr Museum | Essen
Learn more…
April 13 – July 16, 2017
Luther! 95 People – 95 Treasures
Augusteum | Wittenberg
An exhibition in two parts: The first part will examine the history of the Lutheran church and Luther’s impact on the world by introducing 95 people (from Lucas Cranach to Martin Luther King) whose lives were influenced by the Great Reformer. The second part of the exhibition is devoted to the material items that Luther left behind, and will feature 95 treasures that he either owned or used during his life. Learn more…

May 1 – November 5, 2017
Knights, Peasants, Lutherans—Southern Germany in 1500
House of Bavarian History | Coburg Fortress
With the invention of the printing press and the rapid spread of Martin Luther’s ideas through published pamphlets at the turn of the 16th century, the region of Bavaria experienced drastic religious, social, and political change. Learn more…

May 4 – November 5, 2017
Luther & the Germans
Wartburg Castle | Eisenach
Set in the Wartburg Castle where Martin Luther translated the Bible into German, this seven-part exhibition examines the meaning of “German” in the social context of the Holy Roman Empire at the beginning of the 16th century. Learn more…

May 20 – September 10, 2017
World Reformation Exhibition
Lutherstadt | Wittenberg
Visitors to Wittenberg between May 20 and September 10, 2017 are invited on a walking tour throughout the city to discover seven Gates of Freedom. Arranged by churches and other organizations from around the world, each of these gates will offer a different perspective on the topic of Reformation. Learn more…

May 24 – 28, 2017
Kirchentag: 36th German Protestant Church Festival
Lutherstadt | Wittenberg, Berlin
Join tens of thousands of visitors from around the world who gather to attend church services, participate in debates, enjoy concerts, share in discussions, and celebrate all expressions of faith—regardless of denomination or religion. Learn more…

May 28, 2017
Kirchentag: The Festive Service
Lutherstadt | Wittenberg
This service will be the culminating event of the 36th German Protestant Kirchentag, where people from all over the world will gather on the bank of the Elbe River to sing, pray, discuss, listen, worship, and celebrate. Learn more…

July 13 – November 12, 2017
Luther, Columbus and the Consequences – Shift in World View in the 16th Century
Germanic National Museum | Nuremberg
During the 16th century, new theological, geographical and scientific discoveries collided, and old belief systems and world views were shattered. This exhibition delves into the events that brought about this period of upheaval: Columbus’s discovery of the New World, Luther’s Reformation, and the revolutionary world views of Copernicus. Learn more…

July 26 – 31, 2017
117th German Walking Festival
Rennsteigverein 1896 e.V. | Eisenach
As the official walking capital of Germany in 2017, Eisenach will be hosting the 117th German Walking Festival. Several thousand hikers will visit the region between Hainich National Park and the Thuringian Forest – including the Rennsteig—to enjoy the natural beauty of the surrounding landscape. Learn more…

September 29, 2017 – October 15, 2017
Güldener Herbst
The Music Academy of Thuringia | Weimar
Güldener Herbst, or “The Golden Autumn,” is the Early Music Festival in Thuringia. In 2017, the theme of the festival will be “Reformation and Music,” and will also commemorate the 250th anniversary of the death of the German Baroque composer, Georg Philipp Telemann. Learn more…

Why Witte

Fischmarkt Square, ErfurtSince 1975, Witte Travel & Tours has designed and operated exceptional tours for pastors and their congregations, religious organizations, universities, and choral groups who desire to add a spiritual dimension to their travels. Each Witte Tour is a made-to-order combination of religious and touristic activities, and we excel at arranging the perfect concert schedule to meet your performance goals. Our background knowledge of Reformation destinations and concert venues, as well as our longstanding personal connections to these people and places, will ensure that your pilgrimage and your performances are a blessing on every level.

Headquartered in Grand Rapids, Michigan, we are staffed by friendly professionals with travel expertise and extensive knowledge of history, geography, and the performing arts. All of our account executives are experienced musicians, teachers and performers. In addition, we have direct operations staff and an extensive network of local concert organizers throughout Europe. And, to ensure that everything runs smoothly, every Witte tour is led by a multi-lingual tour manager with superb leadership and organizational skills who understands the intricacies of managing a successful tour.

Our services include:

  • Personalized, full-color brochures with registration forms
  • The convenience of online registration
  • All arrangements for flights, land transportation, accommodations, sightseeing and special events
  • Full breakfast daily and other meals according to your specifications
  • Accounting services including individual billing, all major credit cards accepted
  • Arrangements for individuals to extend their stays, visit other destinations, and/or depart from different cities

Have a Question? Contact us!

  • Format: (###) ### - ####

Request a Tour Proposal

  • Contact Information

  • Group Information

  • Tour Information

what our clients say

We absolutely loved both of our tour managers.  Tears were shed when we had to say goodbye.  As always, Witte always find the absolute best people to help us on our tours.

- Jeffe Huls, Choir Director, Santa Monica High School

Travel the World with Witte