WEST PALM BEACH – The gospel choir of Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church in West Palm Beach had a special 48th anniversary present when a German television crew filmed it during a performance marking the milestone.
The TV crew was present to get footage for an ongoing documentary series which seeks to reconnect family members who lost contact with one another over many years.
The series, titled, Bitte melde dich in German, or “Please call” in English, tries to reenact an exciting search for the viewers. This particular episode is focusing on two adult children searching for their father who was last known to be in the area.
He was stationed in the Wiesbaden/Mainz area of Germany in the 1970s and there he met and married a German woman. Their son was born in 1977 in Wiesbaden. A couple of years later, the family moved to Miami. In 1983, when the couple was expecting its second child, the marriage was failing. After she gave birth, the mother flew back to Germany with the two children.
The children have been looking for their father for years and their last tip was that he was in Florida. “We have some old addresses,” said the show’s host, Julia Leischik.
The father was known to be an avid church-goer but, beyond that, the show’s editor, Marcus Pettersson, would provide no further details, such as names, saying the show was still in production.
The idea was for Leischik to visit a couple of churches in the West Palm Beach area and “search for the father.” To add some joyful scenes, they wanted to film when there would be a lively choir singing.
The Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church choir got a starring role after the Palm Beach County Film and Television Commission recommended the group. The crew decided to film at the church while the choir was performing. The filming coincided with the choir’s 48th anniversary celebration on Nov. 10.
Mami Kisner, wife of Pastor Gerald D. Kisner, said the congregation was pleased to welcome the TV crew to the church. She spent the day of filming showing the crew their way around the church and assisting where needed.
The crew filmed the choir as well as the host entering the church, enjoying the service and were present for much of the two-hour church service.
Bitte melde dich has traveled to 40 countries hoping to reunite loved ones with long-lost relatives. While in the United States, the show also visited New York.
A JOYFUL SOUND: Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church’s Gospel Choir in West Palm Beach performs during filming by a German TV crew for a documentary. Pastor Gerald D. Kisner and his wife Mami are seated in front.