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October 2006 - Nr. 10


The Editor
Letter to the Editor
The Trakehner Horse
Minczuk & Kuusisto at TSO
Dresden's Frauenkirche
Mozart Opera Cancelled
German Impressionists
Golden Madonna
"Der Brückenbauer"
The Permanent Wave
Putin visits Dresden
Double Negative
KW & Beyond
Opera York's 10th Season
Two Outstanding Films
A Soiree To Remember
Opera On Film
Go To The Marché
Dick reports...
Sybille reports
Ham Se det jehört?
Baden-Wuerttemberg meets Ontario
Planet in Focus
Romancing the Rhine

Dick reports...

Dick Altermann at his computer

It’s "Oktoberfest Season" again.

While it is said that we have 5 seasons in Canada – Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter and Construction – to the German contingent of our cultural mosaic in Canada, there is a sixth season each year: Oktoberfest Season!

Lots of interest at Regina's DirndlsIt is not native to this country; it is an import – just like the many fabulous beers that are now available here, but for many people it rekindles fond memories.

Full houseOne of the most famous Oktoberfests is the one held in Kitchener. It draws thousands of revellers from all over North America. But most of the German clubs celebrate Oktoberfests also – some in September already – as a reason for folks to get together, dance to familiar tunes, eat traditional food – like pork hocks, schnitzels, sausages, sauerkraut and other familiar fare.

The Harmonie Brass Showband

Manfred Missela's (c.) last gigAt the Hansa Haus the Harmonie Brass Show band put on a great show again that kept most of the guest on the dance floor. Since the house was sold out, that meant that the dance floor was well visited at all times.

Members of S.T.V. Weiss-Blau Bayern

Of course there was also the traditional entertainment by the club’s dance groups such as the Almrausch and Weiss-Blau Bayern.

S.T.V. Weiss-Blau Bayern


Artistic merit goes to Carmen for her skill in playing the cowbells. That really takes a lot of dexterity and is always well received by the audience.

Almrausch Dancers

Monika & Gerd JüngelAnother item that was well received were the pork hocks offered by the Hansa kitchen. They sold out – but there was still a great selection of other delicious food available and the goulash seemed to be a favourite with many of the hungry revellers.


Three festive days at the Danube Swabians

"Traditional" Oktoberfest costume & foodsThe "Donauschwaben" also celebrated two days of Oktoberfest. Both days were well visited but not quite as full as they could have been. But the Transylvania Hofbräu Oktoberfest is wunderbarBand – and the Golden Keys, on Sunday – kept the dance floor full and the guests entertained with a rich palette of familiar Oktoberfest type music.

Danube Swabian Oktoberfest

Volunteers & Henry Betsch"Ein Prosit"





The Golden Keys





On Saturday an unplanned entertainment surprised the guests. A large Shanty Choir from Bremen stopped by on their North American tour and offered to sing for the guests – an offer that was gladly accepted.

Traditional home-cooked Oktoberfest meals included not only the schnitzels and sausages, but also tender and delicate pork hocks.

I tried the great tasting homemade sausage. I also tried to eat it with the plastic knifes and forks that were provided, not a great idea – thank God for Swiss Army knifes!

The Egerländer Musikanten

President Henry Betsch welcomes the guestsOne week later the "Egerländer Musikanten" entertained a truly full house at the club. The musicians were on a North-American tour to celebrate their 40th anniversary. They hail from Melsungen in the Fulda river dale (Nordhessen) in Germany.

A truly full house

Now, the Egerländer choirThe orchestra consists of 25 music-lovers and two female vocalists, Heidi and Waltraut, is heavily saturated with brass instruments and well known far away from their ancestral home, since they travel not only in Germany, but also in the rest of Europe and North America. This trip started in Vancouver with stops in Vernon, the Rocky Mountains, and Calgary, Hanna, Montreal, Quebec City, Ottawa, Kingston, Kitchener, Toronto, Niagara Falls and St. Catharines - with five performances in German-Canadian Clubs en-route.

Even with all the brass instruments, their music is not as harsh as traditional military music but softer and warmer. They also want to stress the fact that they are not professional musicians – a fact that is not reflected in their brilliant presentation.

The repertoire consisted mostly of tunes that were quite unfamiliar to most of the audience, but it was a wonderful listening experience nonetheless.

Henry Betsch receives a memorial plaqueThe first hour was designed primarily as a concert and the public was only invited to dance after the first intermission. That invitation was followed enthusiastically by most of the audience.

Dancing to the music

This evening was another one of the many grand events that are staged at the club throughout the year. By the way, one of the musicians is a "Danube Swabian".


Polish Festival on Roncesvalles

This is another large ethnic community that is proud of its heritage. Hosted by the St. Stanislaus – St. Casimir’s Polish Parishes Credit Union, this annual Polish festival presented some of the unique legacy of this proud member of Canada’s multicultural mosaic. Many of the restaurants – not all of Polish origin – offered tasty dishes outside of their establishments at very reasonable prices. Yes, there were perogies, Zywiec beer and Lukusova Vodka from Poland available in the beverage garden. Polish and Canadian performers entertained on the various stages and one of the highlights was the traditional "Dancing Under The Stars" feature on Saturday night.

Of course there were many little booths and tents set up along the route that were doing great business selling everything from Honey to the "Smart" car from Mercedes – plus a small midway for the younger crowd.

Now that the "Oktoberfest Season" will soon be over, it is time to think of the "Carnival Season" again with an early start on November 4th already.

Until then, as always

Dick Altermann


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