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April, 2007 - Nr. 4


The Editor
Return of Spring
Hoffnung im Frühling
Der Osterspaziergang
Let Us Be Lovers
Paul Bernhard Berghorn
An Austrian Delight
K-W & Beyond
Musings of a "Schulleiter"
The Club
Herwig Wandschneider
50th Treaties of Rome
Dick reports...
Sybille reports
Ham Se det jehört?
Alicier Arts Concert
The Merry Widow
Mooredale Concert Season Concludes
CanStage Presents
Orchestra Toronto
Backstage Toronto 2007
Kristine Bogyo
Living Arts Centre
Deborah Voigt, soprano
Combat Climate Change
Glass Sky Bridge

An Austrian Delight

  Before winter ends its reign there is at least one more important social event to attend in Toronto, the Austrian Gala Ball. Under the distinguished patronage of Dr. Otto Ditz, the Austrian Ambassador to Canada, it took place on March 3rd, 2007, in Toronto’s Fairmont Royal York Hotel. Invitations to this 34th annual ball came from the Canadian Austrian Society of Toronto. Christine Meyer and her board had chosen to honour the great Franz Lehar as the feature theme. Thus the guests were treated to a great deal of information and entertainment about and from this fine composer.

At the Reception
Mr. & Mrs. Ulli Jeschke Manfred & Hansi, the Weiss-Woollers

Coffered ceilingThe festive ballroom with its fantastically ornate ceilings and crystal chandeliers was packed with festively dressed people seated at beautifully decorated tables after they had warmed up with some Austrian Champagne at a reception in an adjoining room, where later the many sponsored prizes could be picked up.

The table settingThe meal was one of the Royal York’s best efforts in recent times, setting a very high standard in quality. Best of all is the artful presentation of the food, which enhances the Musical interludetaste even more. Most people found that they could have an easy conversation during dinner, because they were not drowned out by loud music that was competing with their social efforts.

The head table

By the time that MC Peter Wolff had made the welcoming address and introduced the head table everyone was in a splendid mood and ready to hear about Franz Lehar, his life and his music, even though most were quite familiar with the story, which was accompanied by a slide show. There is nothing like a refresher course of another top Austrian composer, especially if it is enhanced later by life presentations of arias from the most popular operettas. The size of the room necessitated the mikeing of the singers, which did nothing to support the singer’s voices, but made especially the soprano sound shrill. However, for Lehar one is willing to endure much worse.

Table guests


Dr. Karl Schmidt & his wifeSpeeches were held to a minimum. Consul and Trade Commissioner Dr. Karl Schmidt, who attended with his wife Maria, made the welcoming remarks, standing in for the Ambassador who was otherwise engaged. Dr. Schmidt also gave many interesting facts of Austrian Canadian relations. The ever-increasing figures of trade and other interchanges were quite impressive. With him some other well-known people graced the head table Christine Meyer & Alexander Senneckebesides Christine Meyer: Canada’s Austrian Airlines Manager Mr. Don William and his wife Christa, Dr. Alexander Lang, the consulate’s medical council of choice, and his wife Erika, Benefactor of the Wirth Institute and the Austrian Canadian Council Mr. Alfred Wirth and Allison Dyer. This makes 4 individuals with the highest civilian honours of the Golden Needle for their services to Austria.

Manfred Petz & wife with Christine Meyer & Sybille Forster- Rentmeister

But there were several more distinguished individuals like Manfred Petz, who do so much for our Austrian Canadian culture.

Dancing to the sounds of the Matt Lebar EnsembleThe pleasant evening continued after Christine Meyer and Dr. Karl Schmidt officially opened the dance floor with a Viennese waltz.

On the dance floor

And the winner is: Maria ThielFrom then on the floor was never empty right up to the near end, when the traditional goulash soup was served, the big door prize of two tickets to Vienna via Austrian Airlines was drawn, and people wandered over to the reception salon to see if they had bought a winning raffle ticket. Only then the exodus started and people carrying the lovely table centrepiece could be seen on their way to the elevators to either go home or make their way up to a hotel room.

There is no doubt about it; this is one of the most wonderful evenings of cultural celebrations of its kind. As a way of enjoying life as people, together in harmony and in a festive mood is certainly one of lives pleasures right here in Toronto. It keeps the old world alive and connected to the new world.

Sybille Forster-Rentmeister


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