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May, 2005 - Nr. 5


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...eine Mutter ?
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Toronto Connection


Rachel A.I. SeilernKindertrachtenfest

Kindertrachtenfest at the Schwaben Club was a lively affair. Before the program was to begin, the halls were a blur with little boys in dress shoes and little girls with big poofy skirts and fuzzy braided heads running after each other. After a hot dog and ice cream lunch provided by the Frauen Gruppe, all the performers, from young teenager to bewildered two-year-old, assembled in a long line and came parading onto the dance floor.

Singing as a choir to Ingrid's guidance with the guitar  [photo: Rachel Seilern]

The celebration began with all the children singing "O Canada" and then continuing with a medley of German Folk songs directed by my aunt Mrs. Ingrid Szauter on her guitar and me. I coach the "harmony club"---the 9-12 year old boys, a challenging but fun task. Brigitte Wecker our President opened the festivities with kind words of encouragement and thanks. Frau Gubasta was especially recognized for her generous donation to the children of the club. The very smallest children, ages 2-5, were the first to perform their dances. Annie Scully and I have just recently taken on the special job of teaching the wee ones of the Donauschwaben these dances. They have become a sort of heirloom in our club. The same dances have been taught to the youngest children for the past several decades!! They have remained unchanged up to this day. The two junior groups, led by Heidi Mueller, Birgit Kahr and Anita Halverson performed their dances very neatly. I think it’s remarkable how these three mothers have dedicated so much time and energy, outside of their own busy families’ schedules, to preserving their culture. Finally Carrie Collett-Turman’s group of girls ages ten and over, who we call the Girl’s Group, treated us to their always-pretty performance of flowers and ribbons. Her husband Chris is the faithful soundman for all the dance groups. A unique part of Kindertrachtenfest is when the children parade their traditional outfits. This year, Kristen Lutz and Claudia Leyds showed off their original Trachts from Batschka. All the girls were excited to meet our new Miss Danube, Michelle Vincent, who looked beautiful in her Tracht.

Dancing the circle  [photo: Rachel Seilern]

Mike Nemeth was DJ for the event, playing polkas so everyone could dance. For several generations now it has been at open-dance-floor moments like these that the unique Donauschwaben polka style was learned by the children from their Oma’s and Opa’s.

Kindertrachtenfest is an important tradition for our club. It is a rewarding culmination of all the effort that the parents, Oma’s and Opa’s, teachers and children put into keeping the Donau Schwaben culture alive.

Rachel A. I. Seilern


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