November 12, 2017
It is time to light the sugar cone for the Feuerzangenbowle! Breathe in the magic of a traditional German Christmas celebration, Tuesday, December 5, at 7:30 pm at First Evangelical Lutheran Church, 1311 Holman Street in Midtown.
The Christmas concert will include beautiful, traditional songs sung in German: Engelbert Humperdinck’s Abendsegen, selections from J.S. Bach’s Cantata 142, O Tannenbaum, Maria durch ein’ Dornwald ging, Kommet ihr Hirten, as well as favorite carols for an audience sing-a-long.
Ensemble pieces in English include Carol of the Bells and Winter Song; in Latin; Veni, Veni Emmanuel and In Dulci Jublio. In Spanish: Riu Riu Chiu. Also featured will be soloists in excerpts from Händel’s Messiah and Schubert’s Ave Maria.
From its inception in 1883 until around 1900 there were over a thousand participants in German singing societies in the Houston area. In the earliest years, the Saengerbund was originally a men’s chorus, and The Houston Symphony included many of its members. Today, The Houston Saengerbund has members from the United States, Germany, The Netherlands, Hungary, Switzerland, Chile, South Korea, Puerto Rico, Canada and The United Kingdom. All share a love of great music and fellowship. Through outreach, and by reputation, the Saengerbund’s musical program caused exchange student Anaya Hubach from Leipzig to join the group. Anaya is studying at University of Houston for the fall semester. Ricardo Rivera sings with the Saengerbund men until March when he then becomes young artist in residence with Chicago Lyric Opera.
After the concert, guests will be led up a staircase to an enchanted forest with twinkling lights for an elaborate reception featuring traditional German treats: Lebkuchen, Spekulatius, and fat gingerbread men. For thirst, try the holiday punch, or the famous “Feuerzangenbowle” - a traditional German alcoholic drink for which a rum-soaked sugar cone is set on fire which then drips into the hot mulled wine. Beer and wine will also be available.
This concert is free to the public.
October 1, 2017
Where do you go for an authentic Oktoberfest in Houston? To Christ The King Lutheran Church, where the Houston Brass Band and the Houston Saengerbund hosted a joint Oktoberfest for the 7th year.
Both groups entertained the audience with German music and song. Houston Brass Band under the direction of Bob Walp put the audience in the right mood. The singers of the Houston Saengerbund as well as many visitors were dressed for the occasion with Dirndls and Lederhosen, and set the scene for a great afternoon of celebrating a traditional Oktoberfest.
When the Houston Saengerbund took the stage, they captured the audience with their show of singing, dancing the Schuhplattler, solos and choreography. Many visitors recognized the music and sang along, particularly when given cues for the song Hoch auf dem gelben Wagen when we sang "... aber der Wagen der rollt."
No Oktoberfest would be complete without the three "b's" - beer, brats and bretzeln. The Houston Saengerbund sponsored the beer and brats and thanks to many helpers, among them the Luther League, visitors and performers alike enjoyed the delicious German foods of the season.
April 1, 2017
The Houston Saengerbund had two reasons to celebrate today. This year is the 134th year for the Maennerchor and the 79th year for the Damenchor.
The members celebrated with a dinner at Tony Mandola's Restaurant. President Ted Hirtz gave welcoming remarks followed by the membership certificate awards and singer's pins ceremony presented by Elmy Biermanns. This year, Erich Wolz and Betty Rathkamp received their pin for singing in German choirs for 25 years. Juergen Schroeder was awarded his 25 year membership certificate in absentia. Ernest H. Gessner, a proud honorary member continuing his family's involvement with the club ever since his grandparents joined shortly after the turn of the century, received his 50 year membership certificate.
Throughout the dinner, a slide show prepared by Helga Braun and Karen and Erich Wolz showed a variety of recent and old pictures at the Saengerbund.
The highlight of the evening was a singer's pin for 40 years of singing given to Helga Braun as well as a 60 year membership certificate, a recognition from the Nord Amerikanischer Saengerbund, and a beautiful bouquet of flowers. She was the Grand Dame of the evening.
Elmy Biermanns also honored our long distance drivers Karl Micklitz from Brookshire, Dolores Taylor from Galveston and Betty Rathkamp from Yoakum.
Entertainment throughout the party was provided by Mary Koenig, Mary Kay McMurrough and Ted Hirtz with speeches and poems. Helga Braun gave a speech about her memories at the club titled Lost Husbands and Birthing Babies. Section leaders Meredith Morse, Kristin Briggs, Duke Kim and Angel Vargas sang for us. Music directors Mary Kay Buehler and Vicky Hemme talked about the choirs, followed by Ted Hirtz and Erich Wolz directing a singalong supported by Frank von Possel. Sidney McGinty came up with a nifty idea for the table decoration. You can find it and many other photos from the anniversary party under photos/albums.
Dayton Smith, the organizer and Master of Ceremonies, thanked everyone who contributed to the anniversary party. It was a wonderful celebration of our club and it's members.
April 23, 2016
Groom showers are popular and so is the Houston Saengerbund. Mary Kay and
Mark Buehler threw a groom's party on April 23 for one of our section leaders,
Matt Roorda, who is engaged to be married to Carolyn Spitz later this summer.
What is a man without a man cave and what is a man cave without
the right equipment? Thus the list of oh-so-practical presents included an
ice chest, flash light, drill, plunger, tools, a bucket, barbecue utensils
and a saw among others. All the best to the happy couple!
April 8, 2016
The Houston Saengerbund invited it's members to a combined anniversary party on April 8, 2016, to celebrate the Maennerchor's 133rd and the Damenchor's 78th anniversary. The celebration took place at Maggiano' Little Italy. Elmy Biermanns chaired the event and lead through the program. There were many contributions to the program by our own members and section leaders. Click here to view photo album from the event.
Welcome - Secretary Elmy Biermanns
Mondnacht - Joanna Latini, Meghan Kasanders and Nadia Fayad
Greetings – President Ted Hirtz
The purity law for beer – Secretary Elmy Biermanns
Solo – Meredith Morse
Skit ‘Peace Negotiations’ – Pat Schmelter and Eva Holloway
Awards – Secretary Elmy Biermanns
Gern hab’ ich die Frauen geküsst – Jack Swanson
Skit ‘The Wedding Reception’ – Dolores Taylor, Mary Kay McMurrough, Mary Koenig, Dayton Smith
If I were a rich man – Alex Rosen
Schnitzelbank – Mary Koenig and the entire audience
Guenther Pfingsten joined the Houston Saengerbund in 1956, making him the member with the most years of membership in the Houston Saengerbund today. Besides enjoying singing, he was also a huge soccer fan and founded the Saengerbund Kickers in 1963. He managed the club for many years and it is still in existence today. Everyone liked him and he was always ready to have fun. Together with Helmut Merz, another soccer enthusiast, they were the back bone of the club and frequently called the Gold Dust Twins. Besides all the fun he had at the Saengerbund, he also served on the board of directors and was president in 1973 and 1981. To honor his 60 years of membership he was recently awarded a 60 year membership certificate by Elmy Biermanns, Secretary of the Houston Saengerbund, during a small ceremony. He was also awarded the pin for 60 years of singing. He sang 57 years with the Houston Saengerbund Maennerchor and continued to sing under the umbrella organization of the Nord Amerikanische Saengerbund, whose pin he received during the ceremony. It was an honor for the Saengerbund Maennerchor to serenade him with ‘Aus der Traube’ and to congratulate him on this most remarkable milestone.
October 3, 2015
On October 3, the Maennerchor celebrated its 132nd anniversary. The theme of the party was nostalgic disco dancing. Master of ceremony Elmy Biermanns went back 25 years to remind of the reunification of the two Germanys. Most of the music provided by entertainment chair Dayton Smith took us further back to the 1970’s, 1960’s, 1950’s, all the way to the 1920’s with wonderful tunes to dance to. Elmy Biermanns took us even further back in history with a speech about a parade in Houston in 1909 organized by the Houston German Day Association - Houston Deutsche Tag Gesellschaft. The parade had twelve historic floats, numerous horse drawn carriages, thirteen choirs, including the Houston Saengerbund, walking in the parade and many school children, as all schools in Houston were closed for the day of the parade. It must have been THE event of the year. Despite the large numbers of choirs attending, the organizing committee decided to also hire six Meistersinger. This year four members were awarded membership certificates. Horst Gebert received his certificate of membership for 50 years. Also recognized for 50 years were Roswitha Wagner and Helmut Merz. Guenther Pfingsten can look back on a 60 year membership with the Saengerbund and 60 years of singing. For this he will receive his certificate and singers pin. Congratulations to all recipients. Coincidentally Helmut, Horst and Guenther were all involved with the Saengerbund Kickers as was Roswitha’s husband Karl. How fitting that a large group of the Saengerbund Kickers joined us for the celebration. Click here to view photo album from the event.
August 22, 2015
The Houston Saengerbund was invited to the Buehler's home for a barbecue and beer party to get the new singing season off to a good start. The weather cooperated for a barbecue dinner in the backyard while listening to Joyce playing beautiful music on the accordion. After dinner we all gathered in the living room to be entertained with piano and violin music by Lisa, Mauricio and Mary as well as two solos by Robert and Gottfried. What would a singer's party be without a singalong. We all grabbed a music sheet and rounded out the evening with some joyful singing. Click here to view photo album from the event.
June 7, 2015
On June 7 the Saengerbund gathered for the celebration of the 77th anniversary of the Damenchor. The Founder’s Club at the Hobby Center of the Performing Arts was beautifully decorated. Annelise and Bob Chantlos, Dayton Smith and Elmy Biermanns organized the event. Elmy Biermanns recognized eleven honorary female members, namely Dolores Taylor (27 years), Gabi Keibl (29), Flora von Roeder (33), Florence Hoff and Eva Holloway (37), Joyce Haftings (39), Mary Krippner (41), Irene Pfingsten and Petra Gebert (43), Roswitha Wagner (50) and Helga Braun (57). The Houston Saengerbund Maennerchor gave a wonderful performance to honor the ladies. An absolutely delicious dinner followed with music entertainment by Taeko White. After dinner Susan Hirtz introduced her husband, the new president of the club. To our surprise, Ted Hirtz sang ‘My pretty Irish Lass’ by his favorite Irish poet William Butler Yeats. Comedian Chuck Montgomery was the surprise guest of the evening. He got some good laughs out of the audience but none as good as when Frank Neukomm joined him as assistant comedian. The evening concluded with dancing to the music of the Houston Brass Quintet.Click here to view photo album from the event.
February 21, 2015
On February 21, the Houston Saengerbund hosted the second school showcase (click to download event flyer). Students of the German language from Lanier Middle School, Clements High School, Reagan High School and Kingwood High School performed a wonderful program (click to download) of polka band music, skits, prose, duet, contemporary music and dancing. All teachers and students participated with great enthusiasm. The master of ceremony was Dayton Smith. Click here to view photo album from the event.
October 12, 2014
For the 5th time, the Houston Brass Band held its Oktoberfest at Christ The King Lutheran Church. And for as many times the Houston Saengerbund was the underwriter of the Fest. The Brassband, conducted by Robert Walp, performed in the nave and was accompanied during 'Der Jaeger Abschied' by the Houston Saengerbund Maennerchor. The almost 100% German concert included pieces by Mendelsohn, Strauss, Wagner, Weber and Bach. After the formal part of the concert, everyone gathered in the courtyard to not only enjoy more music by the Brass Band and 'Vive L'Amour' by the Houston Saengerbund and to hear soprano Andrea Preisinger sing 'This Little Rose', but also to have Brats, Sauerkraut and Beer compliments of the Houston Saengerbund. Both groups had an outstanding performance which was enjoyed by many visitors. Click here to view photo album from the event.
July 25, 2014
The Houston Saengerbund and the University of Houston Special Collections at
the M.D. Anderson Library have a long standing association to preserve and
maintain the Saengerbund's historic records. The recently made endowment gift in
the name of the Houston Saengerbund will provide future perpetual support for the
processing and distribution of Houston Saengerbund documents as well as create an
endowed legacy for our organization at the University of Houston. Dana Rooks, the
Dean of the University of Houston Libraries extended an invitation to the
Saengerbund Board for a celebratory lunch and endowment presentation that was
held at the M.D. Anderson Library on July 25, 2014.
Click here to download a larger PDF of the collage at right.
The Clements High School students and their teacher Rustin Buck went on an exchange trip to Germany through the German American Partnership Program. A grant from the Houston Saengerbund made the trip possible and the students sent us a thank you card from Koeln where they attended school and did some sightseeing. Here are some excerpts of their appreciation:Our trip has been an amazing experience thanks to you.
April 27, 2014
Fruehling means spring and for the Saengerbund spring means singing at the Fruehlingsfest in Bellville. Performing in Bellville has been a long standing tradition for us since the mid 1980's. The Houston Saengerbund together with its sister choir the Houston Liederkranz had a great performance in Bellville, followed by the Shanty Chor. We sang to a very appreciative audience and all had a good time.
Photos of the event can be found on our photo page.
April 5, 2014
In 2013 we were approached by Joe Joe Orangias to be part of his 'Seven Arches' art project. He has a Master of Fine Arts from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and was a Visual Arts Fellow at the Hochschule Fuer Bildende Kuenste, Hamburg, Germany where he investigated American influences of modern German art and architecture history.
The research for his art project lead him to historic records about a Saengerfest in Galveston in 1881, where he read about 'The Arches of Galveston' and to the Houston Saengerbund.
Joe Joe Orangias: "I find Saengerbund's history intriguing as my interests for this project are bicultural celebration within America. I am making a series of seven arches as celebratory structures in reference to the Arches of Galveston project developed at the Galveston Saengerfest in 1881. The overarching goal of my project is to realize an arch that intersects local diverse cultural groups through each of the seven works. Some of these will be sculptures, photographs, videos and drawings.
I envision the Houston Saengerbund and Liederkranz collaboration as a video recorded in a park with a group singing and standing in the shape of one of the arches. My main interest is to design this piece with the Houston Saengerbund and Liederkranz."
The video can be viewed on YouTube.
On June 7 the official opening of the exhibition took place at the Galveston Artist Residency, 2521 Ships Mechanic Row, Galveston, TX 77550. Present to join the celebration were President Burl Holloway and his wife Eva Holloway, Secretary Elmy Biermanns, Pat Schmelter and Lisa McCarroll, pictured here with artist Joe Joe Orangias and Dolores Taylor.
The exhibition consists of three artists - Joe Joe Orangias, John Hodany and Autumn Knight. They will show their cumulative work from the year long residency. The gallery will also be open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10-4pm until July 26. http://galvestonartistresidency.org/events/upcoming
February 16, 2014
The Houston Saengerbund hosted the first School Showcase. Students of the German language from five schools, namely La Grange High School, Brazoswood High School, Clements High School, Kingwood High School and Reagan High School participated.
Starting in 2011 the Houston Saengerbund has supported students, who in many ways cultivate the furtherance of the German culture. In appreciation of the support they received, they reciprocated and showcased a large variety of their talents such as dancing, singing, puppet show, music, skits, prose and poetry. The program was led by Elmy Biermanns, secretary of the Houston Saengerbund. She thanked Christine Womack, who built and maintains the relationships between the schools and the Houston Saengerbund, and Burl Holloway, President, for organizing the show case.
The Houston Saengerbund is looking forward to February 21 of next year for the second showcase.
Photos of the event can be found on our photo page.
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