Royalty in Burlington
It was truly "Pomp and Pageantry" at the Holiday Inn on the 15th of May 2004. This was a date that will surely be remembered by all the participants for a long time. It was the "First" Prinzenball that the BDKK (Bund Deutscher Karneval in Kanada) ever hosted.
A tribute to all the carnivalists that served in their capacity as Prince and/or Princesses of carnival in the past, for their respective societies. Of course they are only mock-royalty – not really ‘Blue-bloods’ – but to their subjects they might as well be ‘real royals’ and they are treated like royalty during carnival season.
It was a spectacular sight to see about 30 of them in their splendid uniforms, some with the traditional long peacock feathers on their hats, sitting three-tiered on the elevated dais in the large hall.
Albert Kergl – complete with the dates of their respective reigns, introduced them all with some dating as far back as 1965 – while Armin Hellmann, president of the BDKK, presented them with medals, commemorating this gala event. But I am getting ahead of myself here.
This impressive extravaganza was the brainchild of the - recently inaugurated - "Bundespräsident" Armin Hellmann and his board at the BDKK. The idea was born about a year ago and then superbly organized by the "Prinzenball Committee", mainly by David Simon and Albert Kergl, but ably assisted by Steve Hass, Dieter Brocker, Silvia Linder and Jürgen Budczinski.
The first we, the great unwashed, heard of this planned gala event was at the ‘Treue Husaren’ picnic, last year. It was discussed extensively by carnivalists, wherever they met during the past season.
There was a bit of controversy here since carnival events have never been held ‘out of the regular season’. But the consensus was that it was a great idea since the weather would be warmer in May also. And it was! But the logistics involved must have been incredible. I am not even trying to elaborate on that subject.
Alas, the day arrived, and so did the ‘royals’ and special guests - at the hospitality room - in the Burlington Holiday Inn. It was sponsored by Prince Martin and Princess Marta – the currently reigning couple from the K.G. Ascendia, Hamilton. Unfortunately they did not attend due to a recent death in the family. Our sincere condolences to Martin and Marta Heinrich.
Another photo opportunity was staged in the atrium of the hotel and then it was "Einmarsch" into the hall, an event eagerly awaited by the almost 300 guests – mostly the members of local carnival societies, plus their friends and acquaintances.
After the intros and medal ceremony I mentioned earlier, a delicious roast beef dinner – with all the accompaniments – was served.
The first dance – to the sounds of the Swing Master band – was reserved for the royal couples before the rest of the audience was invited to the dance floor to enjoy the rich palette of beloved German tunes.
And then the "entertainment" followed! It started with Heidi Modesta from the Narragonia, Brantford who danced her Liza Minnelli show dance, that many of us already had an opportunity to admire at the recent annual ‘Manöverball’ in Hamilton.
Next in line was Bettina Stark, Germany’s No. 1 "Powerfrau". This performance was a unique blend of unusual talents. She is not only a strong singer but also plays a variety of trumpets, including one trumpet that is longer than she is wide – or so she said. She played ‘Amazing Grace’ on that one.
It was a multi-instrumental show with over ten instruments, a whistling performance and acrobatics that seemed impossible for a woman that weighs almost 300 pounds – she said she is proud of every pound - and proved that she can play two trumpets at the same time. She has come a long way, considering that she started learning to play a Recorder (‘Blockflöte’) in her first school-year, in 1965. The rest is history and available on her website: www.bettina-stark.de.
But what is really most important is the fact that she has an uncanny ability to captivate the spectators, to solicit their participation in her performances, and to follow her leads.
During the break between her two appearances, guests also had a chance to get her autograph or to purchase recordings from past performances as a memento of this incredible performance. She also left some CD’s with Albert Kergl – if you missed getting them at the event – call him at 905-662-1288
This amazing artist easily takes the place of two artists in her one-woman show that has taken her all around the world, including Indonesia and South Korea.
After the second half of her show, the floor was open for dancing, for the balance of the evening.
Royalties and such
This ‘unseasonal’ affair may hopefully trigger other similar events in the future and free the carnival in Canada from old-fashioned restrictions and carry our Canadian version of Mardi Gras to new heights.
Alaaf, Helau and Ahoi
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