The Year in Review 1999
Greetings to all our friends in this,
the fourth annual Bavarian Schuhplattlers of Edmonton newsletter!
The year 1999 was of particular interest to the Group; three major
events that come to mind were Heimatabend, the Gaufest, and Klondike
Days. Heimatabend 1999: This event last April had a record-breaking
attendance of 340! In addition to the usual fare, guests saw a full-group
bell rendition of “In München steht ein Hofbräuhaus”,
delighted to a cow-milking competition, and witnessed a funeral
for a plattler fallen in the line of duty… doing the Holzhacker,
that is! Gaufest: In July, the Group was excited to be in St. Paul,
Minnesota for the XVII. Gaufest of the North American Gau Association.
In attendance were 65 Schuhplattler groups from Canada and the USA…
over 1500 Trachtlers! Our members learned new dances and songs,
had a chance to buy music and clothing from specialty Bavarian import
stores, and made new friends. We were the last group to perform
at their Heimatabend, and the only group to receive a standing ovation
that night! We have actually decided to join the Gau, as an opportunity
to stay in contact with other like-minded individuals. One of the
most active groups in the Gau is the Maple Leaf-Almrausch Ottawa;
their President Erech Morrisson has stated the group would be honoured
to sponsor our membership. The next Gaufest is in 2001 in New York
state’s Catskill Mountains. Klondike Days: Germany was the host
nation at this year’s Klondike Days 1999 at the Northlands Agricom,
and we were there, showing off our stuff! Despite the lack of German
exhibitors, each evening was packed with entertainment, including
German folk singer Astrid Harzbecker, the Schuhplattler Verein Enzian
from Calgary, a Dirndl fashion show (featuring our girls!), and
even the Emeralds! Other activities included German Days, Heritage
Days, Club Austria’s Heurigen, Fort Edmonton Park, the German Saturday
School anniversary, Oktoberfest events, and the German Christmas
concert – by far one of our busiest years yet. The dancing’s not
over, though… on December 27, we’ll be dancing at city hall as
part of the Edmonton Loyal Regiment’s rememberance of the 1943 Battle
of Ortona, where both Canadian and German soldiers lost their lives.
Girls, girls, girls! New members
this year include Kathryn Calder and Diahanna Hantel-Hilscher. Kathryn
saw us dancing at an Oktoberfest two years ago, and joined us as
soon as her busy work schedule allowed it. Diahanna talked to a
few of us at Heritage Days and was so excited about the Group, she
would talk about nothing else for a month, until finally her mother
called us! Another girl, Andrea Fuhrman, also practiced and performed
with the Group for a while this year. Returning this year is longtime
member Charlene Schmidt. André Hüllstrung (a 7-year
member) and his wife Jessica decided to leave the Group this year.
Also missing from the line-up were Melissa Scheuerer and Russell
Schmidt. Still on leave are James & Karin Konkin, although James
continues to provide space for the Schuhplattler website. As well,
our Honorary President-for-Life Rudy Kirrmaier and his wife Hilde
left our fair city for the wonders of Kimberley and the B.C. Rockies.
Our present membership is Kathryn Calder, Brandi Day, Jason Edwards,
Frank & Loretta Friesacher, Ronny Fritz, Diahanna Hantel-Hilscher,
Bernd Kallenbach, Sylvia Kiel, Marta Laube, George Lauf, Joe Niederleitner,
Marvin Schaaf, Charlene Schmidt, Eric Seneka and Sylvia Unterieser.
In Other News…
and Cori, two Grant McEwan visual arts students who have put together
a promotional video for the Schuhplattlers as a project. *New Dirndls
for our girls are also in the works. As mentioned above, we will
be joining the Gau, and this will require our girls to wear formal
dresses (Tracht) in addition to their Dirndls, and some changes
to the men’s outfit. *Some renovations to our practice area are
to be one of the best yet! We guarantee that this will sell out,
so don’t wait too long to get tickets. The theme for this year’s
event is “The Bavarian Schuhplattlers present Grimm’s Fairy Tales”.
We urge you all to bring your friends and come support us! Also
in the works is a return to the Kimberley B.C. International Folk
Fest in September 2000 (one of the organizers is our own former
member Erika Kirrmaier), and also a possible joint venture with
Club Austria Edmonton. Our Oktoberfest schedule is already well
booked, including Wetaskiwin and the German Canadian Cultural Centre.
That’s our report for this year. We wish all of you a wonderful
Christmas and the very best for the New Year (and New Millenium!).