It was the 14th time that the "Youth Group" of the Danube Swabian Society hosted this annual event, which is staged by the Youth Group entirely for their benefit, and as a means to raise funds in support of the group’s activities. Of course the most important part of the occasion is the selection – by a vote of the members of the group - and crowning of the new "Miss Danube" who then becomes the new "Princess" and will represent the club in many of the club’s functions – such as Caravan and Oktoberfest and other festivities and events – during the coming year.
The outgoing "Miss" – Alisha Szauter – listed the happenings of the last year in a well-formulated address. "This year has been an incredible dream – so much more than I could have ever expected", she said. She mentioned the Rosen Ball, her inauguration - when her older sister Rebecca put the crown on her head - and the homemade cakes that were offered for sale, plus the generous donations by the Bissingers. The "Kindermaskenball" (her first official function!), the Landestrachtenfest and the Marquis Plaza Hotel in Windsor were next and included dinner at the Teutonia Club, a visit to the casino and some shopping the next day. Then came the Mother’s Day Banquet where she and her runner up Rachel Seilern handed out carnations to the visiting mothers. And then there was the event at Marylake. She mentioned Caravan, where she met some of the other ethnic princesses. She remembered the ride with Caravan President Kirk Jensen, in the double-decker bus. She remarked on the trip to the festival at Hunter Mountain, NY, and the trolley bus ride and the rain that soaked the guys on one occasion there, the bus trip to the "Tag der Donauschwaben" in Mansfield, Ohio.The "Liederkranz" and the "Traubenfest" in the fall were recalled, as other fun events, the "Kirchweihfest" fund raiser and the "Kirchweihstrauß", which was won by Mrs. Ams, the "Kinderbescherung" came next, and the surprising realisation of how many children were present there This was also the last time to wear her sash at the Christmas Banquet, and it rounded out a very busy and remarkable year.
"It’s amazing how the year has just flown by", she said. "But when I think of how many incredible memories I had, my experiences and accomplishments, it seems like it should have lasted forever".
Then came the great moment everyone was waiting for. Who is going to be the next "Miss Danube". Bill Hoffmann gave the envelopes to Brigitte Wecker, who slowly and ceremoniously opened the one for the "Runner-up". It was pretty and bright Natascha Szauter.
Rosemary Kelman, president of the youth group, addressed the audience and congratulated the new princess with the wish that everyone here would be able to attend many of the functions planned for the next season. She also thanked Lori Gruental and Theresa Keilhauer and the many parents involved, for their support.
and her escort Mathias Seilern opened the dance floor with the traditional
first waltz, accompanied
by the popular "Golden Keys" from Kitchener, followed by the members of the
Youth Group and the general audience.
Congratulations Rachel and Natasha!
"Maskenball" for Kids
It was a Sunday afternoon of fun, games, face-painting, cookies and fruit juice.
Fun & Games
About 50 youngsters participated in a variety of very creative, ingenious and original costumes. One could see that the kids were very proud of them. And so were the parents and grandparents that were in attendance and most likely had a hand in the creation of them.
A Parade of Costumes & Masks
Youth Group members arrived in very innovative costumes, as always. There was an angel (Natasha this year), a clown (Samuel Scully), a bride (Rachel), an overweight belly dancer (Nicole), a scuba diver trying to find Nemo (Annie), little Bo Peep (Alysha), Lorrie with fantastic red hair, and many more.
Of course there was music – provided by DJ Mike Nemeth – for the kids to dance to. The Macarena and Chicken Dance were some of the favourites.
The visionary idea behind this event is of course to familiarize these youngsters with the club itself and their ethnic background, roots and culture. This imaginative point of view has a lot of merit and practically assures the future of the club, as witnessed by the activities of the Youth Group. Many of them started young and grew up with and in the club, and into the club’s activities. A huge contingent of course was supplied by the Seilern/Szauter families. We saw them grow up as the "Forget-me-nots". Let’s hope that others are as loyal.
Jägerball at the Hansa Haus
Well, not really a "ball" per se, but rather a friendly get-together with the Hubertus Hunt Club – "an undergroup" that was founded in the 70’s - with the rest of the members of the club. Heinz Green, the president, explained that the hunters are deeply rooted in the old customs of the hunt in Germany and strife to uphold even the traditional hunter’s jargon and to respect and to maintain a high regard of our wildlife.
Reiner Walter, Hansa’s president, welcomed the guests, preceeded by a short musical interlude by Martin Weidenfelder on the "Jagdhorn", a small trumpet similar to a bugle.
With over 200 people attending and the Golden Keys from Kitchener entertaining with their broad palette of musical delights, the dance floor was always full. Except during the break, when a small choir of the hunters – accompanied by Martin Weidenfelder and his Euphonium – entertained the guests with a number of select, hunting-oriented songs such as "Der Jäger aus Kurpfalz" etc.
Henry Bunge, long-time president of the club and now retired, was honoured by Karl- Heinz Scharfenberg with a book about Mannheim, Germany and a colourful flag of the city. This was in memory of the long cooperation between Henry and Mr. Scharfenberg who was instrumental in constructing and repairing the clubhouse and kitchen in cooperation with Henry Bunge when he was still president. A really nice touch!
By the way, the Hansa Club flag and 30 lapel pins where presented to the City of Mannheim – Scharfenberg’s place of birth – and the club’s flag is now in Manheim’s City Hall. This story started about 20 years ago and Mr. Scharfenberg came all the way from his home in Penetang to make the presentation.
For the inner man – or woman – wonderful goulash and spätzle, schnitzel or sausages with sauerkraut and more, were available from the Hansa kitchen as well as pastries for dessert, plus the usual liquid refreshments. I was just a bit surprised that there was no typical hunter’s fare available.
An upcoming event at the club will be the annual anniversary dinner on the 24th of April, where our own Sybille will be the Master of Ceremonies.
As usual, tickets are available before the event and reservations are strongly recommended.
In good company
Well, it may not have been a ball, but most of the guests had a ball anyway!
…or "Fred Wagner Dance Competition" – the eagerly awaited final event of the carnival (or Mardi Gras) season – is over. Of course there is still the "Kindermanöverball" in Kitchener to look forward to where the young ones are able to strut their stuff on the 24th of April at the Concordia Club.
But for most of the die-hard fools this event at the Royal Connaught Hotel in Hamilton is taken very seriously. And it should be! The girls from the various societies also take it very seriously and they work very hard all year to get ready and to put their best feet forward during the performances.
Unfortunately we only had four groups participating this year: 1. KG Blau-Weiss, Sarnia, KG Narragonia, Brantford, KG Treuer Husar, Mississauga and the 1. KG Loreley, Oshawa. Last year we had six participating groups which included Kitchener’s (Narrenzunft) and London’s (Londoner Funken Rot-Weiss) dance-guard.
But it was still an exciting event – especially for the girls. Many of them hadn’t seen each other for a year and were happy to renew old acquaintances and to make new friends.
More importantly, it is also an opportunity for the girls to measure themselves against their peers and they all very closely watch each other’s performances.
After a welcoming address to the girls and guests by Armin Hellmann, BDKK President, Ingrid Wagner took over guiding the event and performances that started with the show dances and solo performances in the afternoon and concluded with the Guard Dances in the evening. Elisabeth Kiesling, from the 1.KG Loreley, Oshawa, became "Miss Hospitality" this year.
Here are the results of this magnificent competition:
The prize for "Originality" went to the
This year the point assignments by the judges were even closer than ever before. In some instances a ½ point made the difference between the positions in the final line-up. The conclusion? They were all very good and deserve to be congratulated for their diligent efforts. Who knows, maybe next year the tables will turn.
Joe Lindlau played wonderful dance music after the competition for the guests that were awaiting the judge’s decisions.
The next event will be the "Kindermanöverball" I mentioned above, and the extravagant and elegant "Bundes Prinzenball" with exciting entertainment from Germany.
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