January 19, 2019
The now well-established Houston Saengerbund German Vocal Competition drew great talent to Houston. The finals concert on January 19 was a delight for ears and eyes. Pianist Rick Rowley from the University of Texas in Austin once again showed his talent in accompanying all finalists with ease and perfection. The eight finalists Taehwan Kim, Natalie Howard, Sydney Baedke, Angel Vargas, Kresley Figueroa, Nicholas Newton, Kelly Singer and Chrystal White went home with finalists awards of $800 each.
During the intermission, the judges were deliberating. Rick Erickson, Director of the Bach Society Houston, Sam Martin, Rice University's Shepherd School of Music, Eiki Isomura, Artistic Director and Conductor of Opera in the Heights and Ian Koziara, Metropolitan Opera, New York and former Houston Saengerbund singer had the difficult task to choose the three best performers.
Guest artist soprano Catherine Goode with Houston Saengerbund's own pianist Dr. Krume Andreevski entertained the audience during intermission. Catherine Goode is a member of Virginia Opera's Herndon Foundation Emerging Artists Program and has competed in the 2018 Houston Saengerbund Vocal Competition. Dr. Krume Andreevski is currently the pianist for Houston Ballet Academy and has instructed at the University of Houston, Lone Star College and at a private music school. He has won many prizes at international music competitions.
Soprano Kresley Figueroa was awarded the $2000 Carl C. Zeus Founders Award by the current President of the Houston Saengerbund, Ted Hirtz. The $1500 Richard McGinty Director Emeritus Award was awarded to bass baritone Nicholas Newton by Sidney McGinty, and Kelly Singer, soprano, received the $1000 James R. Braun Memorial Award from Larry Harms. As in previous years, audience members were looking forward to casting their ballots for the Audience Favorite award. This award went to tenor Angel Vargas.
The reception after the concert rounded out a wonderful evening. Mary Kay Buehler excelled once again in producing a concert of the highest quality. She was assisted by many Saengerbund members organizing and running the competition. The Houston Saengerbund is grateful to have such a wonderful team of members who assured everything went smoothly on stage and behind the scenes. Prizes were underwritten n part by our own members and the competition was underwritten by the Houston Saengerbund.
Dcember 4, 2018
The Houston Saengerbund welcomed more than 300 guests for its Weihnachtskonzert (Christmas Concert) on December 4. Audience members entered the church through the foyer decorated with lit Christmas trees to set the tone for a festive evening.
The concert featured a variety of traditional German Christmas music such as O du Fröhliche, Kling Glöckchen and O Tannenbaum, but also music in English, Latin and Spanish.
The Männerchor, Gemischter Chor and Damenchor filled the church with the sounds of Christmas as did our soloists Julie Moore, Virginia Hesse, Whitney Campbell, Jehu Otero, Angel Vargas, Franziska Hiller and Janine Dworin. A special treat was the Austrian folk song Es wird scho glei dumpa played on the Alpenhorn by Ross Polka. Krume Andreevski and Larry Harms accompanied on the piano, Jackie Bartling-John on the flute and Dylan Dimauro on the snare drum.
Directors Mary Kay Buehler and Vicky Hemme put together a magnificent program and all singers and musicians made it a night to remember.
During the closing song of Stille Nacht, the singers lit their candles and walked down the sides of the church, singing alongside the audience and wishing everyone Frohe Weihnachten.
Upon leaving the concert, everyone received a gingerbread man cookie and invited to linger and visit with a glass of Glühwein or Punsch. As an added surprise, St. Nikolaus accepted an early call two days before St. Nikolaus Day and stopped by for a visit.
May 5-6, 2018
Congratulations to the Houston Saengerbund Damenchor and Fest Director Vicky Hemme for hosting the 72nd Deutsch Texanische Saengerfest on May 6. They continued a tradition that started in 1853, 165 years ago, when the first Saengerfest was held in New Braunfels. At the same time, the Damenchor celebrated its 80th anniversary.
Herzliche Glückwünsche dem Houston Sängerbund Damenchor mit Festdirigentin Vicky Hemme als Gastgeber des 72. Deutsch Texanischen Sängerfestes am 6. Mai. Der Damenchor führte die Tradition des Sängerfestes fort, die 1853, also vor 165 Jahren, in New Braunfels begonnen hat. Ein weiterer Grund zum Feiern ist das 80 jährige Bestehen des Damenchores.
For master of ceremonies Elmy Biermanns it was a pleasure to welcome the guest of honor, Deputy General Consul of the Federal Republic of Germany, Bernd Reindl. He greeted all singers and guests and emphasized the importance of preserving German language and music.
Mit besonderer Freude hiess Zeremonienmeisterin Elmy Biermanns den Ehrengast, Vizegeneralkonsul der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Bernd Reindl willkommen. Er begrüsste alle Sänger/innen und Gäste und betonte, wie wichtig die Pflege und Erhaltung der deutschen Sprache und Musik ist.
A total of 14 choirs sang in this year's Saengerfest. The Houston Saengerbund Gemischter Chor under the direction of Mary Kay Buehler lead into the program as the guest choir of the concert with Ein bunter Strauss von Liedern aus unserem Repertoire, a medley of music from our repertoire.
Each choir sang its individual song by a German composer. The Houston Saengerbund Damenchor presented Liebst du um Schönheit by Clara Schumann, directed by Vicky Hemme and accompanied by Dr. Lisa McCarroll. The Houston Saengerbund Maennerchor sang Staendchen by Franz Schubert, directed by Mary Kay Buehler and accompanied by Dr. Krume Andreevski.
The big finale sung by all was Mein kleiner gruener Kaktus, a lively song about a little green cactus. At the end of the concert, Elmy Biermanns asked all Saengerfest committee members to come forward. She thanked Burl Holloway and his entire committee of incredibly talented and dedicated members for working so hard to make this Saengerfest possible. They were Burl Holloway, Fest Director Vicky Hemme and Houston Saengerbund Maennerchor and Gemischter Chor Director Mary Kay Buehler, Rodney Thorin, Erich Wolz, Rodney Koenig, Eva Holloway, Gabi Keibl, Helga Braun, Sidney McGinty, Christa Molloy and Elmy Biermanns.
April 22, 2018
The Houston Saengerbund has been coming to Bellville for a long time; the question is just how long. The folks at the Fruehling Saengerfest have seen us come back year after year and our long time members remember coming to Bellville for at least 40 years. That would get us back to 1978.
Some research with the help of Laura Schumann of the Bluebonnet Chapter of the Texas German Society shed some light on the early years.
In 1960, that was 58 years ago, Concordia celebrated it’s 100th anniversary and the Houston Saengerbund under Director Karl Amelang sang Stiefel und Batzen. Director Amelang also directed the Maenner Massenchor with Das ist der Tag des Herrn, Der Lindenbaum and Freiheit die ich meine.
Further research took us to 1935 (83 years ago). On May 26, 1935 Concordia held it’s 75th anniversary. The program reads, "Automobiles by the hundreds were coming from all directions." To help celebrate and perform were Schoenau Helvetia, Bleiberville Liederlust, Sealy Choral Club, Houston Liederkranz, Schulenburg Liederkranz, Galveston Concordia, Austin Saengerrunde, Taylor Maennerchor and the Houston Saengerbund. Our Director was T.A. Dieckert and we sang Ewig liebe Heimat.
We kept looking further back in time and found Concordia’s 50th anniversary, the Golden Jubilee in 1910 (that was 108 years ago). The program reads, "The hall was packed to overflowing with singers and guests." The choirs on the program were Bellville Liederkranz, Schulenberg Liederkranz, Welcome Maennerchor, Lone Star Maennerchor, Schoenau Helvetia, Brenham Vorwaerts, Spring Branch Liedertafel and the Houston Saengerbund. We presented to the president of Piney Concordia, Mr. Robert Schulz, a silver loving cup bearing the inscription, Der Piney Concordia zum 50. Jubilaeum gewidmet vom Houston Saengerbund, Mai 1910.
Today the Houston Saengerbund continues the tradition of coming to the Bellville Fruehling Saengerfest and we hope to continue for many more years to come.
April 3, 2018
Spring has sprung, old and young
come and hear, much good cheer.
Come and hear the Houston Saengerbund choir’s musical welcome of the new year and the season of spring. At the same time, the concert is a reflection on last year's three major events, the Super Bowl, Hurricane Harvey, and the Astros win of the World Series, all in form of music. Let yourself be surprised.
Following the concert there will be a reception featuring a Maibowle. Click on the image to the right to see the entire press release!
February 9, 2018
Singers and interested members hit the road to bring German music and fun to audiences at various pubs in Houston. We sang Wer weiss, Ein Likörchen für das Frauenchörchen, Gaudeamus Igitur and In München steht ein Hofbräuhaus. And to top it off, tenors Angel and Duke sang O Sole Mio.
We started out at the Holman Draft House, where we not only were met by a surprised and interest crowd but also by Erwin. Who is Erwin, you ask? He is the mascot from the German Bundesliga soccer team Schalke 04. The Schalke fan club from New York was in town, joined us and brought Schalke scarves for all the singers. We are now on Twitter, YouTube and Facebook with Erwin singing with us.
After saying good bye to Erwin, folks at the Flying Saucer were already waiting for us. Over the years, we have become regulars since our first pub crawl. One of our members, Mario, even has a plate with his name screwed to the ceiling. Go check it out and learn what you have to do to get a plate in your name. (Hint, you have to like beer.)
Our last pub was the Heights Biergarten. We all had a lot of fun as did the audience. We had singalong sheets in each pub and encouraged the audience to sing with us. After a long night of singing, our singers were rewarded with Bretzeln, cheese and sausage. Go Houston Saengerbund!
January 20, 2018
And the winners are...
...eight marvelous singers from all over the country as well as South Korea and Puerto Rico. They gave a stunning performance at last night’s 3rd Annual Saengerbund Awards Liederabend Finals Concert.
Music by Franz Schubert, Johann Strauss, Johannes Brahms, Carl Maria von Weber, Franz Lehar, Gustav Mahler and many other German composers was performed. The singers were accompanied by Rick Rowley, lecturer at the University of Texas at Austin.
Congratulations to all recipients of the Saengerbund Awards:
1st Prize: Ricardo Rivera
2nd Prize: Geoffrey Hahn
3rd Prize: Emily Helenbrook
4th Prize: Christian Mark Gibbs
5th Prize: Catherine Goode
6th Prize: Sunyeop Hwang
7th Prize: Hanna Lee
8th Prize: Jena Carpenter
Special thanks go to Mary Kay Buehler, Chair of the Saengerbund Awards, and all of the Houston Saengerbund members who organized, helped in many ways, and underwrote the event. They all contributed to the success of the Finals Concert.
Click here to see the press release!
December 5, 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.
November 11, 2017
The Maennerchor will be giving a Veterans Day concert at the Battleship Texas
on Saturday, November 11th starting at 12:00 noon. We hope to have a good crowd...
so come on out and enjoy the concert! For other activities planned at the Battleship,
visit their website.
April 25, 2017
Be our guest! Be our guest! The Houston Saengerbund invites you to a festival of songs for springtime! This concert and reception is free to the public.
The celebratory noise resounds in both English and German. Come hear the men and women of our combined choral groups perform Robert Schumann’s rousing Gypsy Life - “Zigeunerleben,” Woodie Guthrie’s familiar “This Land is Your Land,” and Irving Berlin’s “God Bless America.” The beautiful “Das Kufsteiner Lied” that makes one see the mountains of the Tirol, and hear the horns from distant mountain passes.
In 2014, the Houston Saengerbund created a program to enlist the participation of young music students in Houston. Their presence in the choirs has enabled the Maennerchor and the Damenchor to continue their choral traditions. Several of our former students have gone on to perform with the Metropolitan Opera, the Santa Fe Opera, the Houston Opera Studio, and companies in Germany and France. Others pursue graduate work at the Juilliard School and other conservatories.
A gleeful reception will follow the concert featuring Maibowle - a glorious mixture of champagne, wine, mint - and small cakes…..straight out of Alice in Wonderland’s Tea Party. Or maybe it is the tea set from Beauty and the Beast. We think Miss Potts would sing:
“You’ll be there, as our guest
Sakes alive, we shall be blessed!”
In German, we say a “Fruelingskonzert.”
“Wine will be poured, thank the Lord.”
Say “Prost!” you won’t be bored!
The cakes and wine and song will effervesce!
“Hol-la ri, ho-la-rei.” A German Yippee-Ki-Yay!
Bitte, lieber Freunde, be our guest!
January 21, 2017
The Houston Saengerbund is proud to present the eight prize winners of Saturday's German Singing Competition:
Clara Osowski - 1st
Ben Schaefer - 2nd
Joanna Latini - 3rd
Julie Ann Moore - 4th
Joseph Leppek - 5th
Duke Kim - 6th
Chelsey Geeting - 7th
Mark Thomas - 8th
All of the semi-finalists (indeed, all of the entrants) were excellent; it was a real challenge to choose the best eight!
The evening's repertoire consisted of music by Beethoven, Mozart, Schubert, Schumann, Richard Strauss, Joseph Marx, Brahms, Mahler, Lehar, Humperdinck and Johann Strauss. Each singer presented two songs in German. Among them were Und gestern hat er mir Rosen gebracht, Klänge der Heimat, Der Soldat, Papagena, Dies Bildnis ist bezaubernd schön and Dein ist mein ganzes Herz. All singers were accompanied by Thomas Jaber, Professor of Music at Rice University's Shepherd School of Music and music director of the Rice University Chorale.
During the intermission the audience members were able to vote for their favorite singer.
While the judges deliberated, intermission entertainment was provided by Michelle Girardot, Raphaella Medina and Johnny Brown, some of last year's prize winners; they were accompanied by Houston Saengerbund's pianist Mary Box.
The prizes were awarded at the conclusion of the concert with the top prize going to Clara Osowski. There was a tie in the vote of the audience favorite with both Duke Kim and Chelsey Geeting winning the award.
In the picture from left to right, bottom row are Joseph Leppek, Ben Schaefer, Duke Kim and top row Joanna Latini, pianist Thomas Jaber, Chelsey Geeting, Mark Thomas, Clara Osowski and Julie Ann Moore.
Congratulations to all singers and to Mary Kay Buehler, organizer of the competition. Thank you to the preliminaries/semifinals judges Elmy Biermanns, Vicky Hemme, Mark Diamond, Kade Smith, Dr. Giles Brightwell and Dr. Andrea Jaber, semifinals/finals accompanist Thomas Jaber, and finals judges Alex Rosen, Rick Erickson, Cheryl Parrish and Diane Zola.
Above all, thank you to the many Houston Saengerbund members who volunteered their time to make this concert a success. Finally, special thanks to Ashley McGinty, owner and photographer at griot-photo.com, who donated her services in honor and memory of her grandfather Richard E. McGinty.
April 26, 2016
The Houston Saengerbund held an impromptu concert on April 26. The Fruehlingsfest program included lively music to celebrate spring (Fruehling) in Houston. The Damenchor performed Musik erfuellt die Welt, Das Karwendellied and Lieder, die von Herzen kommen, among others. Some of the Maennerchor songs were Tuerkisches Schenkenlied and Doktor Eisenbart. Both choirs joined for the wonderful song Aus der Jugendzeit by Robert Radecke. Maybe this will be the beginning of a yearly Fruehlings Konzert at the Saengerbund!
On March 7, Preservation Houston donated the restored original city flag to the City of Houston Public Library. In honor of the occasion, the men of the Houston Saengerbund, the city's oldest musical society, sang the exhumed city song. They sang it seriously with great precision and gusto, just as it should be for this historically important event. The Houston Chronicle's Lisa Gray blogged about the event here.
A month later, the men recorded the song at the KUHF studios on the campus of the University of Houston, as part of a Houston Matters segment on the history of the flag and the song. Well, the segment finally aired on August 16. You can listen to the segment here.
January 23, 2016
Thomas Glass - 1st
Johnny Brown - 2nd
Sydney Anderson - 3rd
Raphaella Medina - 4th
Michelle Girardot - 5th
Laura Lisk - 6th
Cairee Mayfield - 7th
Michael Kessler - 8th
November 19, 2015
The Houston Saengerbund was invited to sing for the Leipzig Sister City Association. Both the Maennerchor and Damenchor sang before the Leipzig Sister City Association November meeting held at the American Red Cross.Click here to view photo album from the event.
Noember 13, 2015
The Maennerchor continued their tradition of singing at local Pubs. This round
they enjoyed singing with patrons at McElroy's, Third Floor, Flying Saucer and
Brewery Tap.Click here to view photo album from the
October 18, 2015
On September 24 the Maennerchor sang at Karbach Brewery, October 18 they were
joined by the Damenchor. Both events were well attended and provided great
audiences who sang along and danced to the great Oktoberfest music provided by
our singers. The Karbach Biergarten was a diverse mixture of runners, craft beer
enthusasts, families and a few dogs all enjoying Gemütlichkeit. Click here to view photo album from the event.
October 17, 2015
Both choirs sang at the First Evangelical Lutheran Church (FELC) Oktoberfest. This was the first Maennerchor and Damenchor performance at FELC since returning as tenants this summer. The midday performance at a historical church with mixed architecture of the Houston Community College as a backdrop was an appropriate setting for music organization celebrating 132 years in Houston. Click here to view photo album from the event.
October 4, 2015
The Houston Saengerbund shared the stage with the Houston Brass Band at Christ the King Lutheran Church. The band played a verity of Polkas, marches and drinking songs while the choirs performed traditional songs including some Bierhalle favorites. Music filled the courtyard even after the sun had set.Click here to view photo album from the event.
September 24, 2015
The Maennerchor sang for the Stanford University Law Alumni at Karbach Brewery.Click here to view photo album from the event.
June 27, 2015
The Maennerchor went out with a big bang, a performance at the prestigious
Round Top Festival Hill at their all German concert, the Round Top Summer Music
Festival. They received many compliments but none more important than the one
from James Dick, founder of the Round Top Festival Institute.Click here to view photo album from the event.
June 23, 2015
The Damenchor and Maennerchor sang at the Hallmark Retirement Community and brought much joy to the residents. ‘Ich ging durch einen grassgruenen Wald’, ‘Hoch auf dem gelben Wagen’ was sung by the ladies and ‘Aus der Traube in die Tonne’, ‘Oh Isis und Osiris’, ‘Dorfball’, ‘Ich weiss ein Fass’ and ‘Vive L’Amour’ was sung by the men. ‘Abschied vom Wald’ was sung by all.Click here to view photo album from the event.
May 3, 2015
The 69th Texas State Saengerfest was hosted by the Houston Liederkranz during the first weekend in May. At Sunday’s concert the Houston Saengerbund Damenchor received numerous compliments for their performance of ‘Fruehlingsahnung’ and the Maennerchor received a standing ovation after singing ‘Vive L’Amour’. Thanks to the Meistersingers both choirs had significantly improved their singing and the result of that was very obvious at the Saengerfest. Click here to view photo album from the event.
April 26, 2015
Fifty singers of the Saengerbund Damenchor and Maennerchor sang among several other groups. The Bellville Lions Club and the Bluebonnet Chapter of the Texas German Society always host a lovely event that includes BBQ, beer, vendors and plenty of gemütlichkeit.Click here to view photo album from the event.
April 10, 2015
The April pub crawl was the best pub crawl we had so far. Audiences at the Stag’s Head, Third Floor, The Flying Saucer and the Brewery Tab were quite impressed with the Maennerchor singing. We met folks who liked what they heard and saw and distributed our flyer for them to take home. The communications director at the Brewery Tab was so excited that he joined the Saengerbund immediately.Click here to view photo album from the event.
March 22, 2015
Vicky Hemme, the Damenchor director, organized a new event called Kaffeekonzert. Several groups such as the Liederkranz, Saengerbund Maennerchor, Saengerbund Damenchor, Shanty Chor and Deutsche Samstagsschule came together to enjoy an afternoon of singing in March while having coffee and cake. Click here to view photo album from the event.
February 21, 2015
The Houston Saengerbund Damenchor sang at the Printing Museum Houston for the closing ceremony of the Exhibition 'Postcards from the Trenches' - How Germans and Americans Visualize the Great War. Exhibit Curator Irene Guenther invited the Houston Saengerbund to sing. One song in particular touched many in the audience - Weisst du wieviel Sternlein stehen? (Do you know how many stars are in the sky?), a lullaby from the early 1830's. Special guest speaker of the evening was German Consul General Ricarda Redeker.
May 4-5, 2013
We hope you had a wonderful time at the 67th State Saengerfest at South Shore Harbour Resort in League City, Texas.
Event photos can be found here.
The following winning compositions represent new and original choral compositions in the tradition of Mendelssohn, Schubert, Schumann and others of the German Classic Lied. Winners were selected from among numerous compositions submitted by composers throughout the United States and will receive cash prizes of $1000 each.
Mixed Choir: Rebecca Oswald, "Die Alster"
Men's Choir: R. Michael Daugherty, "Fischerweise"
Women's Choir: Carlie Hunter Burdett, "Mutterliebe"
The Houston Saengerbund will premiere these along with the massed choirs of the Deutsch-Texanischer Sängerbund in May 2013.
Download the complete Press Release