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January, 2006 - Nr. 1


The Editor
Der Weihnachtsmann,
Paul Bernhard Berghorn
A Classic is Reborn
"Happy New Year"...
Herwig Wandschneider
Love for Vienna...
K-W & Beyond
An Austrian Event
Sybille reports
Ham Se det jehört?
'Between the Years'
Neuschwanstein in the Running
Klum touts Sauerkraut
King Kong's Kretschmann
Choirs Back in Style
Free Noon Hour Concert
Orchestra Toronto Event
German Films Honoured
Opera York Fundraiser
New Films in Washington
Goodbye to Beloved Hippo
Castle Belleview Re-opened

"Happy New Year"…

  … is one of the most common phrases heard at midnight of the 31st of December, the final day of the Gregorian year, signifying and celebrating the transition from the old to the new year. We are so used to this date and the way we celebrate it, that it hardly ever occurs to anyone of us, that it might not always be celebrated on this day in other parts of the world, nor in the way we are familiar with.

New Years Eve is a separate observance from the one of New Year’s Day. In 20th century Western practice the celebration involves partying until the moment of the transition of the year, generally at local midnight. Drinking and toasting with sparkling wine is also a part of this occasion.

Within many cultures the use of fireworks and other noisemaking is a major part of the celebration in many places around the world. In our German-Canadian community we celebrate at our clubs or with friends, without fireworks, but with other, more sedate noisemakers.

In the United States New Year’s Eve is a major social holiday. In the past 100 years the dropping of the ‘ball’ on top of One Times Square in New York City, broadcast worldwide, is a important component of this celebration.

In the UK they celebrate by either waiting for ‘Big Ben’ – or another clock – to strike midnight while enjoying the party. Auld Lang Syne and fireworks normally accompany the chimes. It is also a major celebration in Scotland where it is called ‘Hogmanay’.

This occasion is also reason to make New Year’s resolutions, which people hope to fulfill in the coming year, the most popular are stopping smoking or drinking, or to loose weight and get physically fit.

In Toronto – and many other cities – it is the occasion of the Mayors New Year Levee at City Hall in the afternoon of New Year’s Day.

Dancing into 2006

Irmgard & Reiner WalterOur team spent the night at the - sold out - Hansa Haus in Mississauga. About 450 people had elected to do the same, filling the festively decorated great hall and the Hansa Stube – upstairs – to capacity. After the traditional sayiEkko & Erika Hildebrandng of ‘Grace’, the three course hearty dinner was served family style. Of course there was the requisite red and white wine on every table to accompany the meal. The service was speedy and well rehearsed. Our complements to the staff!

Friends and Visitors



Matt LebarSome time during dinner Matt Lebar and his percussionist provided the background music. The full band started to play a bit later and the guests were invited to enjoy the dance floor. Most of them didn’t need much encouragement, nearly everyone who could move was up and moving and the party atmosphere never stopped.

Dancing to the sound of the Matt Lebar EnsembleMany of the guests were amazed at the band’s repertoire that included musical memories from long, long ago, which is quite appropriate for us old-timers.


Dancing to the music


It is always wonderful to meet friends andPeter Henkel & Boris Grmek, the upstairs band acquaintances that one so rarely meets and many memorable discussions took place at the horseshoe-shaped bar in the Hansa Stube upstairs. In the intimate atmosphere, with another small band for entertainment, many a glass of champagne was bubbling before the appointed hour.

In the Hansa Stube Upstairs

Joe and Maria StritzlQuite a few business people came to enjoy our European customs, including Crown’s Joe Stritzl with his wife and an entourage of friends that included Jürgen Sontag from Food Depot International and Toni and Inge BaumannToni Baumann with their spouses. Ute and Juergen Schulz of International Furs were spotted, as was a big contingent from Brandt’s Lou & Lilo WegnerMeat, including Otto Rosenmeier and his wife.

At the Donauschwaben Klub in Scarborough the evening also went well for about 260 guests with a wonderful dinner, two bottles of champagne on every table plus the obligatory ‘goulash soup’ after midnight. Lovely decorations helped to set a festive mood for this last day of 2005. Peter Beck and the Mississauga Express kept the dance floor full of celebrants in that location.

But let’s get back to the Hansa Haus, where it had eventually it had gotten dangerously close to midnight. When the countdown reached zero and the large net full of colourful balloons was released (see front page), a cacophony of noise was accompanied by a frenzy of congratulations, hugs and kisses and stomping on balloons all around. The popping noise made it sound as if there was a firework nearby.

Happy New Year with Sybille

Hugs and Kisses

Board of Directors pitching inWhen there were no more balloons left, a cleaning crew of members of the board swept up the debris on the dance floor, the music played on and the dancers started dancing again, while the rest of us repaired to our tables to fill up with a wonderful variety of open face sandwich snacks.

Of course there are many other New Year celebrations which many other cultures celebrating in many different ways, too many to list them all here, but one celebration always fascinated me – the Chinese New Year, which is celebrated every year at a new moon during the winter. The exact date can fall anytime between the 21st of January and the 21st of February inclusive, by the ‘Gregorian’ calendar.

Because the Chinese calendar is astronomically defined, the drift of the seasons will change the range.

12 animals and one of five elements, with the combinations of animals and element cycling every 60 years, symbolize each year. It is generally celebrated with firecrackers and a parade.

The 12 animals are mouse, cow, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster (2005), dog (2006) and boar. Me? I am a horse!

Happy New Year!

Dick Altermann


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