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December, 2004 - Nr. 12


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Santa's Gift
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Toronto Connection
Drummer of Different Beat
From The Locker Room
Dear Mom
Music Transport
Remembrance in Kitchener
K-W & Beyond
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Dick reports...
Narrenzunft Karneval
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Dick reports...

Dick Altermann at his computer


Early start for "Karneval"

It still takes special dispensation by the authorities to open the season before the 11th of November; but this rule was always followed in Germany and we are in a different country under different circumstances. So we adapt!

Why the date: 11 November? Did it have anything to do with the fact that at 11:00 a.m., on the 11th of November 1918, the hostilities ceased on the Western Front - that World War I was over? That the carnage had finally ended and it was now time to have fun again? My extensive research in the German Karneval sites only said "Officially it starts am elften, elften elf Uhr elf (11th November at 11:11 a.m.), and continues in a fairly low-key way for about three months before the Tolle Tage (Crazy Days) which climax on Rosenmontag, the 42nd day before Easter." They also mention that it is traditionally seen as a chance for people to go wild and let their hair down before Lent starts on Ash Wednesday – the serious time for fasting before Easter. But we all know that anyway!

The first written record of the Köln carnival is from the year 1341. So, I do not know if there is a connection to the end of WW I. or when the number 11 became significant.

Anyway, "11" is a key number in carnival (Elferrat etc.) and the existence of carnival societies is especially celebrated in multiples of 11. Witness the 44th celebration of the Narrhalla ’58 not too long ago in Hamilton.

Armin Hellmann opens the 2004/2005 carnival seasonThis year we had the youngest of our local carnival societies, the KG Ascendia, Hamilton, open the 2004/2005 season at the Continental Austrian Club in Burlington, on the 6th of November! And they opened with a full house to boot – or almost full.

Finally the carnivalists that had to suffer through the long summer were able to enjoy their beloved carnival again. And most of them had come or sent representatives.

The KG’s ‘Treue Husaren’ from Toronto and Mississauga; KG ‘Hansa’, Brampton; KG ‘Narrenzunft’, Kitchener; KG ‘Narragonia’, Brantford; KG ‘Blau-Weiß’, Sarnia; KG ‘Germania Downriver’, Detroit; and the KG ‘Ontario Prinzengarde’ were all represented. After the traditional "Einmarsch" at 8:11 p.m. – the marching in of the participants - Armin Hellmann, the president of the BDKK (German-Canadian Mardi Gras Association) officially opened the festivities at about 8:13 p.m.

Armin gets his medalCornel Brüggemann, Ascendia’s president welcomed the audience and introduced the VIP’s and visiting "Royalty". Unfortunately Ascendia’s own royal couple could not attend since Prince Martin had another important engagement that evening.

Kitchener royalty: Prince Richard, Princess Kerstin and Hofmarschal Andrew

Princess Elisabeth from Sarnia & escort Manfred GroeningBut Sarnia had sent Her Loveliness Princes Elisabeth and her consort Manfred Groening, Kitchener had sent Prince Richard I. and Princess Kerstin I. while Royalty from Detroit - Princess Denise & Prince PeterDetroit was present with Prince Peter II. and Princess Denise II. So there was plenty of "Royal" representation to add glamour to the success of this occasion.

Introduction of the new bannerAn attractive new banner was presented to the KG Ascendia on this festive occasion.

This is traditionally a very special part of the inauguration of a carnival society.

Elfie & Otto PerzMarianne & Armin Hellmann





We are ready!Of course there was marvellous entertainment. The dance guard of the Mississauga Treue Husaren Juniors and Seniors presented a very accomplished set of guard-dances, followed by the Blau-WBlau-Weiss Sarnia Guardeiß Garde from Sarnia with the "Sarnia Showstoppers" and a Caribbean Dance Group with modern show dances, that were vigorously applauded by the audience. After the band played dance music for a while, Funky soloboth Mississauga and Sarnia guards performed once more. Sarnia and Missisauga then performed a very accomplished ‘Funkenmariechen’ Solo Dances. Very well done, girls!


Since I could not attend that event, David Simon was kind enough to send me his impressions of the evening. Here it is:

Photos by Albert & Helga Koch

Armin Hellmann's welcome

At the head table

Günter & Silvia Linder

Helga Koch, Heidi & Ewald Nowak

Armin Hellmann's address

Gunhild Budczinski

Fun and jokes

Albert Kergl, Monika Turner and Ruth Kergl

Armin Hellmann & Helga Koch

Helga Koch

Heidi Nowak


Becoming a tradition now in Hamilton the GKG Narrhalla 58 held it's fourth annual Kappenabend on Friday November 12th. The small hall was packed with the new tables allowing the Narrhalla to fit more revellers into the same space. It was really ‘gemütlich’.

Entertainment like in the years past comes from the people themselves, and they came well prepared this year with jokes, Barrel speeches in both German and English, and general good humour.

Hugh, Albert and David performed a small funny skit called toilet manners.

Walter Schmitz from the Treuer Husar Mississauga entertained us with funny stories in his dry Koelsche dialect, and then played a couple of his comedy recorded telephone conversations. Super entertainment all around! Each person that told a joke or entertained was awarded a string of Mardi Gras beads, to fit with the New Orleans theme to the Narrhalla's upcoming Maskenball in February. During the evening everyone was given a Kappenabend novelty 'medal'.

What is a Karneval function without great food and drink? Food and drink were provided by Paul and Heidi's restaurant including the Karneval favourite "Tartar". Our thanks to the Koch’s from the Narrenzunft for sending us photos of the event!

Kirchweih celebration
at the Donauschwaben Club

You cannot really translate "Kirchweih", but Henry Betsch – who was the MC at this event - gave a little clarification of this old tradition.

In Autumn the "Kirchweihfest" was the most important social events of the year. Guests came from all over, and many past due visits were postponed until Kirchweih. Kitchens and cellars (at times wastefully) provide sumptuous supplies, nothing was omitted. The roads in the centre of the village were crowded with itinerant artists and booths with toys and sweets of all sorts, and a great time was had all over. Colorful balloons, tied to thin strings floated around the vendor’s booths and the air was full of the sound of little flutes that sounded off in the wind whistling through them. Carousels and a midway with pony rides were a much-anticipated delight for the young ones.

For the more mature youths, Kirchweih was a welcome cause to see and be seen. One felt grown up, strong and sure of oneself and many tender connections were established at these celebrations.

The parade with the ‘Kirchweihkrone’ – the crown – has a long tradition. This wonderful custom was brought back by the ancestral Donauschwaben from the Batschka, and is nothing less than a declaration of affection of the young men to the chosen and adored young ladies – and vice versa. Ten days before the activities this crown was delivered to a young lady that was well off and should have some wine available. The crown was covered with wreaths that the boys had donated. The girls decorated it with wispy silks on the bottom, which had the names of their chosen boys written on them.

And the music playsOn the day of the Kirchweih, the crown was picked up with accompanying music; the boys filled their bottles with wine and coaxed the audience into a sip of it. The crown was then suspended on the ceiling of the Village Inn until the "Kathrein" celebrations. Afterwards the girls gave the wispy little silk bands to their respective boys.

Henry Petsch welcomes the guestsIn the Danube-Swabian Club festivities were celebrated a little different. After the Mass at high noon the revellers retired to the club’s big hall for dinner. At about 2:00 o’clock, after a welcome by the MC, the youth groups started the entertainment with wonderfully well-choreographed dances. The audience was delighted and rewarded the dancers with tumultuous applause.

Lining up to go onEntering the dance floor





Dances of the Youth Group


Rachel, Miss Danube, and the dollOne of the other highlights of the event was the traditional auction of the Rosemary Bush. Small twigs of Rosemary had already been pinned to the clothing of all the guests, to get them into the mood. The goal was to reach about $500.00 to enable the youth groups to carry on and meet expenses.

Start of the auction

Timothy: "Your bid"The auctioneer, Timothy Szauter, standing on a barrel in front of the stage, did a fabulous job counting the donations by the guests on the floor – in German! This difficult job required occasional reinforcements from a wine bottle, dutifully offered to him by Rachel Seilern, the reigning "Miss Donauschwaben".

Counting the blessingsSeparating the raffle tickets





Lorie won the KirchweihstrauchDue to the lively participation of the guests, that goal was slightly exceeded. In the end Lori Szauter of the ‘Forget-me-not’ family won the Kirchweih bush! She said that it would be replanted for next years Kirchweih. Sales of fragrant and ripe, yellow quinces – by the group - further added to this windfall.

Anna Becker won the dollA charming, traditionally costumed doll was raffled of at the end of the official part of the evening and won by a very happy Anna Becker, it was presented to her by Rachel Seilern.

Afterwards the dance floor was opened for those that wanted to dance to the great sounds of the Danube Swabian Band, which had been entertaining the guests during the balance of the afternoon.

Fiete Münzner at the Hansa Haus

Since I couldn’t attend this event, Ekko Hildebrandt was good enough to sent in a short report of what had taken place – here it is:

"When entertainers arrive from Germany to perform in Canada their time is usually very limited and we, the clubs, have to grab them whenever they are free. So it was with North-Germany’s Fiete Münzner, dem ‘Kapitän der guten Laune’ and his singing partner Uta Carina, accompanied by Kitchener’s well-known musician Joe Lindlau. On a Tuesday evening with over 200 people attending they set the Hansa Haus on fire with a program of well-known songs of the sea and its port cities and quirks everyone could relate to.

It did not take long for singers and audience to forge a relationship. The laughs came instantly; singing, hand clapping, and ‘schunkeln’ was joined by all.

Since Fiete did not bring his usual stage-settings - used when touring in Europe, the Hansa Haus improvised and set up their own nautical background for the stage.

Performers and audience expressed their appreciation. A delicious salmon filet dinner and of course herring on a bun were part of the Hansa Haus kitchen menu. Dance music by Joe Lindlau rounded out the evening."

Best wishes for the season!

As always, Dick Altermann


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