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October, 2004 - Nr. 10


The Editor
Saving Summer
Zurich Connection
From the Lockerroom
Rachel Seilern
Wins Accolades
Germanica 2004
A New Low
Boost for German Studies
German School Starts
KW & Beyond
Steuben Parade
Dick reports...
At the Oktoberfest
Cinematheque Ontario
War Through Eyes of Children
From the Side Lines
Sybille reports
Ham Se det jehört?
Health Newsletter
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Competing for Oscar
Orchestra Toronto
Canadian Opera Company
"Timeless Broadway"
"Anne Frank" Review
Praise for Beethoven
Brücke nach Rügen
American Travel...
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Bundespräsident Horst Köhler
Angry German Vote
"Lebkuchen" or Gingerbread
Hydrogen Powered Racer
Consumer Confidence Up
World Cup Boon to Travel
World Cup Poster
Agentur für Deutsch

Dick reports...


Dick Altermann at his computer

"Leipziger Pfeffermühle"

About 300 guests enjoyed the antics of the cast of the Leipziger Pfeffermühle – the pepper mill – on the 10th of September at the Hansa Haus.

Why ‘Peppermill’? What does a peppermill do? Grind pepper! Why? To sprinkle it over things, and sprinkling little literary and amusing jewels all through the performance is what this talented group of performers excelled at!

Leipziger Pfeffermühle CabaretTo the performers themselves Star-quality cannot be denied. They worked very well together and the various talents effortlessly mashed and complemented each other to make the total performance an impressive one, to be remembered for a long time.

After performance get-togetherMarkus Ludwig accompanied the various skits presented, on the piano keyboard, and he always managed to find just the right notes or musical phrases to emphasize a significant point in the program. Not surprising since he is also a composer of classical type music - and almost became a medical doctor - like most in his family. But he embraced music as a healthier way to assist people in getting over their infirmaries. Markus has also promised to compose a song for the Hansa club. Now that is something to look forward to!

Heiderose Seifert, who switched from classical theatre to classical cabaret, is remarkably talented and well suited for this cabaret-style of stand-up comedy – with a twist. Her big and flexible voice filled the hall effortlessly.

Dieter Richter started as a cabinet maker but soon detected that there was more personal reward in the elevated arts that can only be found on stage – entertaining a public that desperately wanted - and needed - to laugh. Especially at a time when there was really not much to laugh about in the past – or now!

Burkhard Damrau tried the stage already as a young engineering student and continued his training at the Altenburg theatre and other venues, where he perfected the qualities required for the cabaret stage.

As the famous German ‘clown’ Grock once said: "To get people to laugh is a serious task"

Grock (actually Adrian Wettach, 1880–1959) was a famous circus clown in Germany and owner of a circus until 1954.

The skilled theatrical background of the artists was clearly confirmed at this event at the Hansa Haus.

Grock was right. It is a serious art form that must be able to touch the strings of the heart and a vital form of therapy that even the medical profession agrees with. "Laughter is the best medicine", as the axiom goes.

Judging by the often-spontaneous laughter, elicited by the performers, the audience received a lot of precious therapeutic treatment that evening.

It was an amazing few hours - between yesterday and tomorrow – precious time to forget other disagreeable state of affairs.

The cast was pointing out inadequacies in the lives we live, the situations we can do nothing about, and giving us a chance to laugh at ourselves and at our faults and foibles - that we don’t usually admit to others - oftentimes not even to ourselves.

The material presented was carefully selected and geared to the tastes of the anticipated audience. Judging by everyone’s reaction, that material had ‘arrived’ at this - mainly mature - audience.

During the intermission most of the guests recalled and discussed the performances they had just witnessed, and cited many of the amusing points of the show – and had another good laugh.

The intermission was followed by more of the same witty and often hilarious performances that had most of the audience in stitches; some had tears in their eyes.

The Canadian tour of this troupe also included performances in St. Catharines, Ottawa and Montreal. The consensus among the artists was that this was a very successful gig and they may repeat it in a couple of years. That is another thing to look forward to!



Yes, it is that time again when summer no longer holds the promise of beach weather and more time is spent on celebrations that can be held indoors.

Of course there is no comparison possible with the original Munich Oktoberfest, but we all know that and ignore it. The closest Toronto comes to a version of the Oktoberfest in Munich is our Canadian National Exhibition. The "Wiesn" - as the locals call it in Munich, features a parade of horse-pulled beer wagons to open the festivities, huge tents where millions of liters of beer, tons of "Radi" – the white bok choy style roots - are consumed. Then there is a midway with carousels and Ferris wheels, plus other entertainment ("Auf gehts, beim Schichtl" comes to mind). Also offered are a myriad of culinary delights "Brathendl" & Steckerlfisch" (Chicken and Fish delicacies) and much, much more, to delight the visitor at that huge annual fair.

Since the yearly Newmarket Oktoberfest was cancelled, there were only two venues left to celebrate Oktoberfest in our immediate area – unfortunately both (planned?) on the same day.

One was at the Hansa Haus and the other at Donauschwaben Club, in Scarborough.

The Harmonie Brass Showband

Oktoberfest dance!

Alphorns, always an attraction......and here are the experts





Manfred in formDancing with enthusiasm





Oktoberfest setupsThe Hansa Haus in Mississauga was well visited. About 200 revelers had shown up to celebrate with the Harmonie Brass Band, a well stocked bar and the many delights of the celebrated Hansa Kitchen. Bratwurst tended to be a favorite that evening.

Young bell ringing mastersSmall, smaller, smallest





Perfect configurations

Harmonie Brass at restDuring the band’s breaks, the Almrausch dancers and the S.T.V. Weiss-Blau Bayern entertained with those wonderful dance routines and the bell-ringers.

The fun really started when the dancers coaxed partners out of the audience to dance to their routines. Even our own Sybille participated. That went amazingly well – almost as if these ‘amateurs’ had rehearsed those dance-routines.

Audience participation


Still life with Sybille, Heidi & SalamiThe raffle, at the end of the evening netted the club about $360.00 and the first winner was SyWinning young folksbille, who won a massive Brandt salami.

The Donauschwaben did well also, I was told by a usually reliable source.

Saturday’s attendance was a little lower than expected, but the visitors on Sunday more than made up for it. It may have something to do with the fact that the ‘Golden Keys’ from Kitchener – who are celebrating their 15th anniversary this year - were providing the music for the multitude that wanted to dance.

There was no additional entertainment by the club’s dance groups scheduled – just music, music, and more music to dance to.

Of the traditional fare that was available, "Schweinshaxen" (pork hocks) appeared to be the distinct favorite on both days.

Hansa Choir

The following Saturday, the 25th of September, the Hansa Choir was hosting the traditional autumn concert and dance, with the help of three other choirs to round out the program. The Teutonia Choir from Stratford, the Harmonie Choir from Queen City, and the Edelweiss Choir from Toronto all helped to make this a successful event for the over 200 participants.

When the choirs were not performing, the "Nutones" provided the rhythms to keep the dance floor filled. "Das ist der Rhythmus, bei dem man mit muss!" said one of the dancers when interviewed. He obviously enjoyed the ‘rhythms’ of the band – and he and his partner were not alone with this opinion.

The next opportunity to enjoy the Hansa Choir will be the annual ‘Christmas Caroling’ on the 5th of December and the choir’s own ‘Christmas Party’ on the 20th of December.

As always, Dick Altermann


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