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January, 2007 - Nr. 1


The Editor
Happy New Year
10th K-W Christkindl Market
André Rieu in Toronto
German EU Presidency
K-W & Beyond
Dick reports...
Sybille reports
Ham Se det jehört?
TSO's January Listings
Via Salzburg
One Day - One Movie
Germany on Broadway
Use it or Loose it
Sport for Peace
Future Soccer Glory
Stop Fish Virus


Dick Altermann at his computer

Should old acquaintance be forgot
And never brought tae mind?
Should old acquaintance be forgot
And days of Auld Lang Syne.
For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne;
We’ll take a cup of kindness yet
For auld lang syne!

I do not know how many times have I heard this lovely tune on many New Year’s Eve celebrations and it moves me every time I heard it. There are many memories connected to this celebration of the last day of the Gregorian calendar and the arrival of a brand new, immaculate year. Not just for me, but for all those millions that celebrate the arrival of the New Year with the traditional glass of golden bubbly or in other "local" fashions.

The "Auld Lang Syne" song was penned down by the Scottish poet and folk-hero Robbie Burns in the 1700’s and is now sung the world over on New Year’s Eve. It could be translated as ‘times gone by’ – such as: "We’ll drink a cup of kindness yet, for times gone by". . Even at the Austrian "Salute to Vienna", the New Years concert in exact Viennese style, this song was performed at the very end of the concert.

There are two more verses, but they are rarely ever sung - probably because they interfere with the hugging and kissing and the good wishes floating all around.


New Year’s Gala at the Danube Swabians

A beautifully decorated hall

These sentiments bring me to the New Year’s Gala at the home of the "Donauschwaben" – in the Danube Swabian Club in Toronto – "The Blue Danube". It was one of those very festive occasions I was fortunate enough to be able to attend. The decoration of the hall was like a picture of a wedding reception in an oriental castle. Lights all over, wall décor, chairs draped in white covers with bows on the back and table décor to end all décor.

Trying the punchOne was almost reluctant to sit down among all this splendour. During the cocktail hour, preceding dinner, a tasty fruit punch was served and the cash bar was also open for other beverages.

Hans Pape & Joe FolkAdding to the festive mood were tuxedos and dark suits plus the wonderfully festive gowns, worn by some of the ladies in attendance. But the black tie was by no means consistent.

Delectable Hot Hors D’Oeuvres were served on each table to wet the appetite for a chicken noodle soup a la ‘Chef Ivan’ that followed soon after.

The guests

A fresh garden salad with house dressing rounded out the appetizers for the celebratory dinner that was to follow.

Andrew Mora (l.) in conversationThe main course of Roast Prime Rib of Beef and Roast Pork - served family style on plates- was accompanied by oven roasted potatoes and a medley of garden fresh vegetables. After coffee was served, dessert arrived. "Chef Ivan’s Special Surprise" was a luxurious mix of ice cream, strawberries, blueberries all liberally laced with chocolate syrup. It took a while to get it to the tables but it was well worth the wait.

The Mississauga Express

Dancing into 2007

Peter Beck and the Mississauga Express Band entertained the revellers with their extraordinary repertoire of dance music: Undying tunes from yesteryear that are still treasured Happy New Year, Henry Betschand special today filled the house. Being so enthusiastically involved the band almost missed the arrival of the New Year and had to very quickly count down from - 5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1…Happy New Year!

I was now waiting for the traditional "Ault Lang Syne" but that unfortunately didn’t happen.

Dancing in a sea of balloonsWhile an abundance of colourful balloons dropped from the ceiling and were eagerly stomped on by the crowd others were busy hugging and congratulating each other or toasting the New Year with a glass of Champagne.

Anna Gubasta & friendOne on the house





Service with smileTo make sure everyone got home safe and The first meal in 2007sober from this festive event hot sausages on a fresh bun were served after midnight.


Mayor’s New Year’s Levee at City Hall

This traditional event usually takes place on the first day of a new year and provides an opportunity for the common "Burgers" of the city to meet the mayor face to face, to shake his hand, and the hands of some of the councillors in the line-up.

Mayor David Miller receives a Ukrainian delegationDavid Miller graciously received all the good wishes from the crowd, to listened to some of their concerns and patiently posed for pictures. It is one more opportunity for him to be close to his constituents and have his hand on the pulse of the community. There also were a few councillors in attendance: Pam McDonnel, Norm Kelly, John Parker, Lindsay Luby, Bill Saundercook, Finger food for the hungry visitorJoe Mihevc, Paula Fletcher, Cliff Jenkins, Michael Thompson, Chin Lee and Raymond Cho.

Visitors were treated to free beverages, fruits, cookies and cakes after the levee while a ...and the music playsband entertained the crowd in the rotunda of City Hall.

Only about 600 Torontonians took advantage of this opportunity and most of them lined up much earlier About 600 visitors lined upthan the proposed start of the levee at 2:00 pm probably thinking like myself that a city of a few million people would have more folks interested in local politics and the exchange of good will.


Last Day at the Hansa Haus…

…of the year 2006 was a great success. Irmgard & Reiner Walter280 guests in the big hall and 50 in the Hansa Stube upstairs whiled away the last few hours of the old year.

After the welcoming address by Ekko Hildebrandt a mouth-watering dinner was served. Chicken Kiev and pork tenderloin was on the menu, accompanied by potatoes and vegetables. The food received some unusually great comments from some of the A full & festive houseguests and so did Reif’s wines, which were served with the meal.

The Golden Keys entertained the dancers – with their rich repertoire - in the hall and the Chalets did so upstairs, where the horseshoe bar was often frequented by some of the ‘downstairs’ guests – whoCelebrating in great company wanted to ‘sit down’ at the bar.

The ‘countdown’ at midnight was broadcast to the lounge upstairs simultaneously with the hall, - while the coloured balloons dropped from the ceiling - followed by ‘Ault Lang Syne’ and a taped medley of famous church bells, as they rang last year across Germany. With a smile into 2007It was a very moving experience for a number of the guests.

When the hugging and kissing, the toasting with champagne and the stomping of the balloons was over the crowd settled down again and was served with a selection of open-faced sandwiches that were Dancing into the new yearprepared by the ladies’ auxiliaries in the Hansa kitchen.

I dare say there was not a German Club in Canada where such scenes were not played out in the old familiar ways.

The polonaiseI wonder how many of the revellers had made a "New Year’s Resolutions" - again. Most people make some, but only very few actually follow through. The impulse to reform, to start something new, runs at a deeper level than just the desire to become thinner or richer or healthier or to quit bad habits in the coming years. But resolutions are fragile and often disappear like the bubbles in the champagne at midnight and are usually at the curb with the Christmas tree on pick-up day. We may mean well, but are easily distracted by the daily grind, demands and temptations. But of course there is always next year! Since I am already as great as I can be – no resolutions for me!

"Happy New Year"!

Dick Altermann


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