About 300 guests enjoyed the antics of the cast of the
Leipziger Pfeffermühle – the pepper mill – on the 10th of
September at the Hansa Haus.
Why ‘Peppermill’? What does a peppermill do? Grind pepper!
Why? To sprinkle it over things, and sprinkling little literary and amusing
jewels all through the performance is what this talented group of performers
the performers themselves Star-quality cannot be denied. They worked very
well together and the various talents effortlessly mashed and complemented
each other to make the total performance an impressive one, to be remembered
for a long time.
Ludwig accompanied the various skits presented, on the piano keyboard,
and he always managed to find just the right notes or musical phrases to
emphasize a significant point in the program. Not surprising since he is
also a composer of classical type music - and almost became a medical doctor
- like most in his family. But he embraced music as a healthier way to
assist people in getting over their infirmaries. Markus has also promised to
compose a song for the Hansa club. Now that is something to look forward to!
Heiderose Seifert, who switched from classical theatre
to classical cabaret, is remarkably talented and well suited for this
cabaret-style of stand-up comedy – with a twist. Her big and flexible voice
filled the hall effortlessly.
Dieter Richter started as a cabinet maker but soon
detected that there was more personal reward in the elevated arts that can
only be found on stage – entertaining a public that desperately wanted - and
needed - to laugh. Especially at a time when there was really not much to
laugh about in the past – or now!
Burkhard Damrau tried the stage already as a young
engineering student and continued his training at the Altenburg theatre and
other venues, where he perfected the qualities required for the cabaret
As the famous German ‘clown’ Grock once said: "To get people
to laugh is a serious task"
Grock (actually Adrian Wettach, 1880–1959) was a famous
circus clown in Germany and owner of a circus until 1954.
The skilled theatrical background of the artists was clearly
confirmed at this event at the Hansa Haus.
Grock was right. It is a serious art form that must be able
to touch the strings of the heart and a vital form of therapy that even the
medical profession agrees with. "Laughter is the best medicine", as the
Judging by the often-spontaneous laughter, elicited by the
performers, the audience received a lot of precious therapeutic treatment
It was an amazing few hours - between yesterday and tomorrow
– precious time to forget other disagreeable state of affairs.
The cast was pointing out inadequacies in the lives we live,
the situations we can do nothing about, and giving us a chance to laugh at
ourselves and at our faults and foibles - that we don’t usually admit to
others - oftentimes not even to ourselves.
The material presented was carefully selected and geared to
the tastes of the anticipated audience. Judging by everyone’s reaction, that
material had ‘arrived’ at this - mainly mature - audience.
During the intermission most of the guests recalled and
discussed the performances they had just witnessed, and cited many of the
amusing points of the show – and had another good laugh.
The intermission was followed by more of the same witty and
often hilarious performances that had most of the audience in stitches; some
had tears in their eyes.
The Canadian tour of this troupe also included performances
in St. Catharines, Ottawa and Montreal. The consensus among the artists was
that this was a very successful gig and they may repeat it in a couple of
years. That is another thing to look forward to!
Yes, it is that time again when summer no longer holds the
promise of beach weather and more time is spent on celebrations that can be
Of course there is no comparison possible with the original
Munich Oktoberfest, but we all know that and ignore it. The closest Toronto
comes to a version of the Oktoberfest in Munich is our Canadian National
Exhibition. The "Wiesn" - as the locals call it in Munich, features a parade
of horse-pulled beer wagons to open the festivities, huge tents where
millions of liters of beer, tons of "Radi" – the white bok choy style roots
- are consumed. Then there is a midway with carousels and Ferris wheels,
plus other entertainment ("Auf gehts, beim Schichtl" comes to mind). Also
offered are a myriad of culinary delights "Brathendl" & Steckerlfisch"
(Chicken and Fish delicacies) and much, much more, to delight the visitor at
that huge annual fair.
Since the yearly Newmarket Oktoberfest was cancelled, there
were only two venues left to celebrate Oktoberfest in our immediate area –
unfortunately both (planned?) on the same day.
One was at the Hansa Haus and the other at Donauschwaben
Club, in Scarborough.
Hansa Haus in Mississauga was well visited. About 200 revelers had shown up
to celebrate with the Harmonie Brass Band, a well stocked bar and the many
delights of the celebrated Hansa Kitchen. Bratwurst tended to be a favorite
the band’s breaks, the Almrausch dancers and the S.T.V. Weiss-Blau Bayern
entertained with those wonderful dance routines and the bell-ringers.
The fun really started when the dancers coaxed partners out
of the audience to dance to their routines. Even our own Sybille
participated. That went amazingly well – almost as if these ‘amateurs’ had
rehearsed those dance-routines.
raffle, at the end of the evening netted the club about $360.00 and the
first winner was Sybille,
who won a massive Brandt salami.
The Donauschwaben did well also, I was told by a usually
Saturday’s attendance was a little lower than expected, but
the visitors on Sunday more than made up for it. It may have something to do
with the fact that the ‘Golden Keys’ from Kitchener – who are celebrating
their 15th anniversary this year - were providing the music for
the multitude that wanted to dance.
There was no additional entertainment by the club’s dance
groups scheduled – just music, music, and more music to dance to.
Of the traditional fare that was available, "Schweinshaxen"
(pork hocks) appeared to be the distinct favorite on both days.
The following Saturday, the 25th of September,
the Hansa Choir was hosting the traditional autumn concert and dance, with
the help of three other choirs to round out the program. The Teutonia Choir
from Stratford, the Harmonie Choir from Queen City, and the Edelweiss Choir
from Toronto all helped to make this a successful event for the over 200
When the choirs were not performing, the "Nutones" provided
the rhythms to keep the dance floor filled. "Das ist der Rhythmus, bei dem
man mit muss!" said one of the dancers when interviewed. He obviously
enjoyed the ‘rhythms’ of the band – and he and his partner were not alone
with this opinion.
The next opportunity to enjoy the Hansa Choir will be the
annual ‘Christmas Caroling’ on the 5th of December and the
choir’s own ‘Christmas Party’ on the 20th of December.
As always, Dick Altermann
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