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July 2003 - Nr. 7


The Editor
Elizabeth Kuehn
Brahms Violin Concerto
Rachel Seilern
Multiculturalism Day
Hier O.K. Berlin!
KW and Beyond
A Gift of Music
STV Weiss-Blau Bayern
Dance Experience
German School
Young Philharmony
Willkommen in Toronto
Dick reports...
Sybille reports
Ham Se det jehört?
Diefenbaker Award
Financial Advice
CeBIT America
German Peace Prize
June 17 Uprising

Summer Notes and Up-Dates


  Like the weather life changes at a moment’s notice. We were just starting to make waves with our youth movement and now the situation is different from when we started out. Our wonderful Elizabeth Kuehn has been offered a fabulous and important position in Switzerland, she will be the head of the music department in an international school in Switzerland, and now our local activities are stuck in the development phase.

This of course does not mean that we are not continuing with our idea of a Culture Club, au contraire! We are just going down a different path for now. We will still hear from Elizabeth, in short form at first, from Switzerland. Locally we have Rachel Seilern with her point of view. She is extremely interested in the musical expression of our heritages.

In Germany we have our Antje Steiger back, who now is a full fledged lawyer. She graduated recently and had very interesting experiences in New Zealand, where she spent several months on practical duty. Her reports of "Middle Earth", as she referred to it to me in her mail should be most interesting to read.

We also hope to recruit Caroline Kuehn who is studying voice in Vienna at this point. Her vivaciousness would be a welcome addition to the forum.

Thus we invite all interested parties to read what these young people have to say and encourage everyone to participate and respond. Most of it will happen online. The contact address is ekuehn@echoworld.com. We are hoping that this will become a fabulous online forum for young people, who will feel free to exchange ideas and experiences of their lives, loves and travails. If there is anyone out there who wants to participate regularly in any way, please contact me personally at sfr@echoworld.com. Please tell your children and grandchildren of this new development. This way anyone with online capabilities can participate, there are no distances to overcome, no schedules to be considered, only the smallest of interest needs to be sparked.


Summer Concert

Like a good bye present, or a "swan song", Elizabeth Kuehn and her choir called Schwung Chamber Singers gave a second concert since its formation late last year. On a Thursday summer evening with warm sunshine spilling through the colourful windows of the Our Lady of Sorrows Church in Toronto’s pretty west end the pews filled somewhat reluctantly to not quite halfway. The Christmas concert was of course packed.

The Schwung Chamber Singers

I always felt that summer is not a good season for choirs. But this did not deter the singers, nearly each and every one of them of solo quality. Together they sang a rich and varied program of mostly not so well known pieces, classical and modern, sometimes very daring for our conservative audiences. True to her Germanic background she did not forget to also choose something from that musical landscape.

Some instrumental pieces were planned for the evening, but an unfortunate accident prevented this from happening. It cut the concert a bit short, but as the program was rich otherwise, no one seemed to mind.

It was an enriching experience to see Elizabeth Kuehn conduct confidently and with fluid motions the small group of very professional singers. Solo and in unison with each other they created the deeply rich sounds that trained voices produce easily and with a carefully calculated balance. That is a remarkable achievement for only nine voices.

Even though Elizabeth is moving to Switzerland for the time being, the Schwung Chamber Singers will get together and bring us their unique offerings when ever possible and when Elizabeth can come home to Toronto.


Birthdays and festivities

Canada Day is behind us. Our celebrations paled a bit in comparison with the American ones at the 4th of July, but nevertheless we did remember our country. Members of the Toronto mayoral re-election race made sure to move from venue to venue quickly, not to miss any opportunity to make themselves known. I have followed the goings on closely and changed my mind many times already about who would be the best candidate. I can only hope that all Toronto citizens watch the process carefully so they can make an informed decision when the time comes.

Brampton celebrated a birthday and you can read about the festivities there in Dick’ report. Eva GraffunderHe also visited Eva Graffunder on her 100th Birthday. Even Brampton’s Mayor Susan Fennell came with an Alderman to congratulate the German expatriate on this very special day.

There is quite a story to be told there. Just imagine 100 years of history, including 2 wars. We will meet with Eva and try to write down some of her experiences for you. I am sure it will make for good reading.

The Weiss-Blau Bayern celebrated a 20th birthday, reported elsewhere in this paper.

In short: there is much to celebrate! This nation has had its fair share of problems, altering the economy and the way some of us feel about life in modern times. Toronto’s SARS episode did nothing to help an already ailing hospitality industry that was just beginning to slowly recover from other fall-out earlier. Suddenly Canada and especially Toronto were made to look like a colony for lepers. The media had a field day painting everything as black as possible, here and abroad. I often felt like saying: Take your finger out of the socket! You’ll feel better!

In reality - unless someone was caught personally in one of the tragedies - no one, at least the very vast majority, felt anything of the doom and gloom. The Symphony for instance was full throughout the most difficult times. Torontonians behaved actually quite well under all this duress and a world opinion that was so tarnished by the media. This should teach us that the so-called mainstream media, or those regurgitating it, are not much more than chaos merchants. But they get paid to do that. Free press I find only in our own small ranks of media. Here you can see on occasion outbreak of courage and voices that dare to speak out. No lackeys to the big bucks here.

This city has plenty to offer and we recommend that people come and see for themselves. Grab on to your sense of play and come to Toronto. There is much to do and to see!

I just translated and dubbed the voice for a commercial with Mick Jagger you have seen on TV, which invites everyone to a great concert in Downsview, same place from where the Papal mass was held last year. This concert features many great musicians that are not afraid to come and play with us! The German version of this commercial is one of many cut together to be played for the European Parliament in Den Haag, to polish our image and to encourage members to promote Toronto again as a viable vacation spot.

As I said, there is much to do in this town.

Proven supportThe Beaches Jazz Festival is celebrating this year its 15th anniversary. And because it has proven to be such a continued success the Government of Ontario and Canada have sponsored the festival with a nice chunk of money this year. Bill King greets Barbara HallGo to www.hotoronto.com and see what is happening in Toronto. All festivities are listed there 5 times a year.

We are a cosmopolitan city with many wonderful venues to celebrate. Our Harbour Front is still in its development stages and is awaiting further extension. But from what there already is we have received for years the most interesting action. There is the classical Soulpepper Theatre, dance theatre, art galleries and artists to watch, there are the various stages with a multitude of music and entertainment almost daily, there are boat trips and shops and restaurants that can keep up with anywhere in the world. For the many exciting events go to www.harbourfront.on.ca . A full calendar will give you astounding choices for summer activities.


The Circus is in town!

Performers take a bow

Tricky effectsA really good family activity is currently and for the next few weeks in the Queen Elizabeth Theatre at the CNE grounds. The Great Moscow State Circus is ideally suited for children big and small. When the circus came to town the first time the Air Canada Centre proved to be much too big a venue. Hoola Hoop magicFor the kind of acts that are brought over the stage of the Queen Elizabeth theatre is very adequate. Jugglers and acrobats do not need a lot of space; neither do clowns, nor a bird or dog act, which are very charming. The MC has a wonderful way with the audience and A bird in the hand...involves children and adults alike. I became one of his helpers and had great fun playing along. Tickets are reasonable and start at $10.00 (Ticketmaster)


On the home front I want to extend an invitation to our own trip in the lagoons of the islands in front of Toronto. This boat trip was a huge success last year and we are offering it again. Entertainment and really good food as well as your company will make it an event none of us will quickly forget.

Hope to see you there and everywhere else, like Carabram at the Hansa Club.

Yours truly

Sybille Forster-Rentmeister


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