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June 2014 - Nr. 6
Sybille Forster-Rentmeister, Editor-in-chief

Dear Reader

The month of May was truly amazing, not so much because we celebrated “Mothering Day” (my designation) and had finally some spring like weather, but the German Canadian community could celebrate something very special. Hamilton has one of the oldest German Canadian Clubs and also choirs, both of them correctly prefaced with Germania: Germania Choir and Germania Club, located in the City of Hamilton, Ontario, for 150 years! The Germania Choir is in fact the oldest choir in the “Deutsch-Kandischer Sängerbund” (German Canadian Choir Association).

The Germania Choir with conductor Linus PressOne might ask as in the age-old question, what came first, the chicken or the egg; the answer is that the choir was formed first and then came the club, as it was also in Kitchener with the Concordia Choir(s) and Club. That Echo Germanica was invited to participate, and I ended up being the master of ceremonies over two program packed days, was a tremendous honor and pleasure for me.

Choirs came from near and far, from Montreal to Calgary, to celebrate this important event. The program, professionally designed by David Simon, longtime member of the choir, contained greetings from all levels of Canadian Government: Canada’s Prime Minister Steven Harper; Governor General, David Johnston; Ontario’s Prime Minister Kathleen Wynne; Consul General of the Federal Republic of Germany Walter Stechel; Hamilton’s Mayor Robert Bratina; MPPs and MPs from the Hamilton area as well as some prominent business people like Gaby and Rainer Frank of Denninger’s Foods of the World.

Gerhard Griebenow presents a plaque to Hedda WagenblastPlanning the event started 2 years ago and was headed by the choirs President Hedda Wagenblast. She led a dedicated and highly efficient team: David Simon, Linus Press, Betty Boerkamp, Netty de Witt, Inge Leitner, Ingrid Oppermann, and George and Nina Fischer. Of course there were many other volunteers, too many to mention all. What was very apparent however was the fact that Hedda Wagenblast was a marvel to observe. She was everywhere, handling everything with an astounding ease and calmness during the 2 days I could observe her. It is no wonder that she is president of the choir for already 25 years. She deserves a few extra accolades for a job extremely well done. Of course she will tell us that a leader is only as good as the people he/she leads.

These are just a few personal notes aside from our report of the actual event.

I also need to mention that a few days after that weekend, actually a few nights, I did not sleep very well feeling very bad about not having been on time at the concert. From Ford Drive to were the QE leads to Niagara Falls and the road splits for Hamilton we were stuck in a two and half hour traffic jam on Sunday the like I have never seen. There was no problem on Saturday, thus we never anticipated such a problem. I must say I was mortified to arrive late and can only offer my sincerest apologies. Luckily the fabulous and resilient David Simon, who knows everything about all the choirs while I am only an admiring spectator, was available to step in. I am very much in his debt and thank him sincerely.

My husband, the photographer for Echo Germanica, and I were treated royally and felt very much at home in this German Canadian Club environment in Hamilton with so much German culture all around us. The enthusiasm of all participants was palpable and certainly unforgettable.

Until next time

Sybille Forster-Rentmeister

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As the editor of Echo Germanica Sybille reflects on cultural, artistic, political and daily events within the German-Canadian landscape.
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Sybille Forster-Rentmeister, editor, editor-in-chief of Echo Germanica, comments, cultural, artistic, political, daily events, German-Canadian, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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