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Celebrating Five Years of "Kultur am Gleis"

((rj) Gleis1, May 16, 8 PM: The dishes from the fine banquet had been cleared away, but the drinks remained on the tables. The lights dimmed, and the chatter hushed as Andreas Keller, president of "Kultur am Gleis," took the stage and grabbed the microphone. The anticipation grew; the guests had come to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the association. At the same time, the question lingered: What’s next for "Kultur am Gleis"?

Keller, visibly proud, read out the founding idea of the association from 2019: "We want to organize cultural events of all kinds in a family-friendly setting and promote a diverse cultural offering in Nänikon-Greifensee." Besides Keller, the board includes Martin Meier as vice president, as well as Marianne Surber, Regina Haas, and Barbara Krynski. Despite a several-month hiatus due to Corona, the five have since organized no fewer than 213 events, including 135 concerts, in the former ticket hall.

"The premiere took place after the opening of Gleis1 in early March 2019, even before the official founding of the association. That day saw the first vocal performance by Lisa and Nina Meisser, accompanied by Nenad Leonart on piano. The first concert was given by the 'Attic Jazz Collective,' a family-run jazz band from Greifensee."

After further reflections on the vibrant cultural history, Martin Meier took the floor and introduced "two dear friends of the house," Chris Conz and Duke Seidmann.

Pure Joy of Life

The stage was set, Conz sat down at the piano, and the romantic hit "Just for you" by Sam Cooke began. The atmosphere was electrified and practically exploded when the musician showcased his incomparable boogie-woogie skills. Playing the piano and being able to play the piano are two different things. The ten fingers on the keys seemed to take on a life of their own, radiating pure joy.

The tone was set, the audience in the packed room was turned up, and they couldn’t get enough, as piano music can hardly be more infectious. The magical boogie mood arises from the unique mix of power, swing, freshness, and blues, very rhythmic, sharply accented, sometimes even dreamy, melancholic, but never cheesy, never sentimental, with Chris Conz at the keyboard.

The Showman

Conz performed with his musical partner Duke Seidmann. The two are a well-rehearsed team and share not only the basic understanding of jazz: they playfully peppered each other through the evening, improvising wholeheartedly and making the guests laugh and cheer. Seidmann not only played his saxophone as if it were his own soul, he sang and hosted with a rough, distinctive voice, charming and witty, encouraging the audience to sing along.

The program went on and on, with evergreens like "Take the A-Train," "Memories of You," "Blueberry Hill," "Sweet Georgia Brown," and especially boogies that almost brought Gleis1 to collapse. Three encores were in the mix, but eventually, this wonderful evening ended with Chris Conz solo, presenting his personal version of the famous flamenco "Asturias" by the Spaniard Isaac Albéniz at the audience's request.

What’s Next?

The venue slowly emptied. It was raining outside. The drops on the asphalt seemed to echo the president’s words: "The next and final event for now is a concert in early June. After that, we will take a summer break. Contract negotiations are currently underway for the change of leaseholder of Gleis1. At this point, I can say that we are ready to use the former ticket counter for low-threshold cultural events in a family-friendly setting, provided it fits into the new leaseholder’s concept."

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