…you shouldn’t have missed! It was a rare carnival event at the Concordia Club in Kitchener. Hosted by the "Narrenzunft" society it featured everything people usually associate with "Arabian Nights". Every one of the hosts was wearing a "Arabian" fantasy costume. Mostly homemade but very elaborate including turbans and harem-like gowns. Even the girl-guard looked like angels from paradise. A sheik was installed on the dais complete with a number of ladies, who took turns fanning him cooling air – or whomever they felt that needed it also.
After Frank Wolf, MC, introduced the reigning royal couple – His Foolishness Prince Albert and Her Loveliness Princess Helga of Berlin – the official part of the event opened with one highlight after the other. "Büttenreden" by Gunhild Budczinski (former princess and current "Lady-in-Waiting") and Horst Sauer were received with generous applause.
Some of the more striking costumes were "Lady Albert" (Kergl), "Lady David" (Simon), "Baby Hugh" (Turner) with mom Monika – from Hamilton - a veiled Greta Krusch and an "Alien" – whom I was unable to identify – but most likely a member of the Treue Husaren - Mississauga (THM).
The Concordia Choir entertained with a musical sketch set in a coffeehouse ambience, complete with waiters - under the direction of Alfred Kunz. It was very well done and also very well received by the audience.
The next highlight was the visit of a Swiss "Guggenmusik" band that entertained with some wonderful noise that almost sounded like familiar songs. But that is what Guggenmusik is supposed to sound like! It was great. And then there were the guys dancing. All dressed in Arabian Costumes. Good show!
There should have been more people attending this function. Unfortunately Brantford also had an event on the same day – same as last year – and some of the carnivalists went to visit the Narragonia. (Some that I talked to wouldn’t attend because of the smoking ban!)
Now here is where I am going on a bit of a rant. Why can these groups not coordinate their activities? There was nothing going on, on the previous Saturday (13th). I realize that events must be booked way in advance, but when club property is involved – Sonnenhof / Concordia Club – there must be a better way. There are only a finite number of Saturdays available during the carnival season! Wouldn’t it be a good idea to make use of all of them? Well, maybe I am just an incurable optimist.
This event is – no doubt – the grandest and most elaborate festivity available during the Mardi Gras season in Ontario. Possibly the greatest event in all of Canada. If you don’t believe me ask some of the about 500 people that attended the event in the Scarlet O’Hara Ballroom at the Capitol Banquet Center on Dixie Road, in Mississauga.
I am always amazed how so few club members can manage so much work – considering that they are not the youngest anymore. But I guess it is well worth the immense effort required, when you see these people enjoying themselves so much. For all of us it is an opportunity to meet old acquaintances and met new people.
One just has to admire the ingenuity and attention to detail in some of the costumes worn by the revelers. Some were so elaborate that I couldn’t even recognize people that I have known for a long time.
We also had Royalty attending. The Royal Court from Kitchener, Prince Albert and Princess Helga – as well as Prince Otto I and princess Elfie from Milton. (Why he is called the "First" I do not understand, since Otto Wimmer was our first "Otto")
Of course all the local carnival societies made an appearance – as was expected. This event is the only one that the Treue Husaren host – once a year – and has earned a fantastic reputation among devotees and public alike. (witness the extra tables that had to be set up early in the evening)!
Not the least of the attractions is the fact that two bands are playing continuously during the evening to keep the large dance floor crowded. The "Star" band was of course the Euro Connection, with their lively rhythms, who were very ably assisted by the "Four Star Quartet" – which by the way featured Günther Sanders at the drums – and some of the former "Lido" group members. The Euro Connection also featured an upcoming young saxophone player – but only very shortly. Well, what do you expect from a three-year-old?
The banquet hall’s regular caterers provided good food. It was tasty, plentiful and not too expensive. And yes, smoking was permitted in the banquet hall! (Probably another reason for the high attendance).
The annual costume ball
Everyone appeared to have oodles of fun. I noticed more camaraderie here than at the "Fest in Blau-Gold". People were a little looser and seemed to be a little more comfortable with each other. Well, the hall isn’t as large, the two sides of the hall’s table are closer together, the dance floor is a bit smaller – which nobody seemed to mind – and the food was not catered (!) but deliciously prepared by the Hansa Haus kitchen staff.
One of the highlights of the evening was the visit of Her Worship Mayor Hazel McCallion, who was presented with a beautiful wooden plaque that showed the current medal of the THM (with her picture on the medal) and a dedication.
In her acceptance reply she mentioned that she thought very highly of her Germans and how well and quickly they integrated into the fabric of the Canadian society and how enthusiastically and industriously they embraced all the facets of contemporary society without loosing touch with their own heritage.
And then there were the many costumes! I am again amazed at the variety, the ingenuity, inventiveness and the attention to detail with which people lovingly and laboriously make them. Some of them were really "works of art". There were the clowns, a really scary Viking, Henry the VIII, blue angels, white angels, devils, gangsters, surgeons, medical staff, cowpokes. an OPP corporal (who got the uniform through the Internet) and many, many more. I am glad I wasn’t one of the judges – they must have had a hard time picking the winners. I thought they all were!
Speaking of entertainment, I better mention the fantastic job the Mississauga Express did to keep the mood at an all time high – if I don’t mention them Peter Beck will never speak to me again – so here it is: The Mississauga Express did a fabulous job of keeping the dance floor full and have added to their already great repertoire of popular music. I didn’t know people were still dancing the "Twist" – and some with considerable vigor too!
Another highlight I shouldn’t forget was the visit of the royal couple from Kitchener – His Foolish Highness Prince Albert I from Berlin and his princess Her Loveliness Princes Helga I from Berlin. They arrived by bus with practically the whole "Narrenzunft" society. Others of the guest were from Brantford – including Fred Wagner, the BDKK president – Hamilton, Oakville Brampton and Toronto (the other "Treue Husaren" group). It is always gratifying to see these two groups co-operating with each other.
Other events to look forward to are the events in Oshawa (10. 2), Hamilton (4 x 11) on the 17th of February, at the Hansa Haus (24. 2.) and of course the "Rosenmontag" events at the Donauschwaben Club – with the Harmonie Brass Show Band, the Concordia Club in Kitchener and the Hansa Haus, (hosted by the men’s auxiliary in the Hansa Stube, upstairs).
Other than that – Alaaf and Helau
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