Friday, July 31, 2009

Sunday at German Fest in Milwaukee

During most of the fest I have been able to post pictures the following day, but the Sunday post has taken a longer than usual time for me to get these out there. Sunday was mostly cultural day for me and I took mostly pictures of the cultural display. There were craftsmen who had interesting demonstrations, the porsche display, train village, and even a Tribant was on display this year. While going through the exhibits I saw this year's German-American Societies queen, Courtney, and her friend Eric (who is a German Fest director), they are pictured to the left.

I was selling CD's for the Widdersteiner (Oberallgau Musikanten) most of the weekend, so I did not get to see everything/everyone that German Fest had to offer. I am especially sad that I did not get a picture of my dear friend Peggy Mueller and her husband Hansi. I have no pictures this year of the Austrian Express or Chikeria. They always seemed to be on stage while I was selling CD's. But there is always next year. Next year will be the 30th anniversary of German Fest and I have high hopes that the entertainment line-up will be spectacular.

The Widdersteiner (Oberallgau Musikanten) were a very fun group and it was nice to get to see and hear them again. They were at German Fest two years ago and again delivered a great show. Many fest visitors really enjoyed their antics on stage and were very supportive of German music by buying CDs. I found out that Seppi Kleber owns a hotel back home and if you are ever in Oberstdorf near the Austrian/German border be sure to stop in the Hotel Traub.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Saturday at German Fest

Saturday at German Fest was an action packed day. Saturday is parade day and it was great to just stand under a shade tree with the lake breeze, watching all the groups parade past. I checked out some of the shops. And on the left you can see that Willy of the Sandlers was busy with his beautiful mouthblown glassware. He truly has some one of a kind items. He and his wife, Regina, took time with each customer and proud to explain how these lovely items are made.

I went to see an old favorite, the Johnny Hoffmann band. I was happy to see that Rick's (he plays the sax) daughter did a few songs with Kevin, their lead singer. This band has been around a long time, but always brings new life to the band. Each musical selection was perfect, these guys just don't make mistakes. They will always be one of my favorites and it just would not be German Fest without them!!!

We started our day with our traditional Saturday morning visit to the Konditorei and had some lovely tortes. The best part is when old friends come by and we can catch up on what has been happening in their lives since we last saw them.

Take a look at the slide show below. One of my favorites is the guys with the "prost" sunglasses.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Friday at German Fest in Milwaukee

Friday at German Fest was jam packed with fun. The visitors were very enthusiastic about Styrina's show. Styrina has beautiful long blond hair as you can see from the photo to the left. So I asked her to take a spin.

Styrina has a great mix of both Volksmusik and Schlager. She had people "schunkling" (which I call the German Arobics) and she came off stage, got up on the bleachers in the audience and interacted with the people while she was singing. This is her first time to the Milwaukee German Fest and there are many people who are hoping this will not be her last.

The Sandlers played most of the afternoon and enjoyed singing to the crowd that kept growing. As people walked by and heard the great sound that these muscians produced, they were just drawn in like a magnet. There were a lot of people who had become fans from years before and were very happy to see that the Sandlers had a new CD to offer. Willy, the lead singer, led a polanaise and got everyone on their feet. Willy is also an accomplished glass blower and if you had time to explore the shops you may have seen some the detailed glass items he & his wife had for sale there.

If you are looking to download some of the pictures in the Slide show below, just click on View all Images. It will take you to the slide show website and you just need to right click and download the picture you like. And... it's all FREE.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Thursday at German Fest

Milwaukee's German Fest opened last night and the crowd was treated to FREE admission and fabulous entertainment. The Widderstein Buaba/Oberallgau Musikanten are a fantastic show band and had everyone hopping to the newest music in the Volksmusik scene and a lot of old favorites as well. Hans (Big John) is pictured to the left; he really gets into his music. The program said Widderstein Buaba, but this is a combination of 2 bands: Widdersteiner and Oberallgau Musikanten for when they play big festivals. They seemed to get their own groupees before long and if you would like to sign the Widderstiner guestbook or/and Oberallgau Musikanten guestbook to let them know how much you enjoyed their performance click on the guestbook links above.

Styrina from Austria is the headliner at German Fest this year and had the crowd (especially the men) mesmerized. Her long beautiful blond hair had trouble keeping up with her as she flew around the stage. We saw this talented singer during our Bus Tour in Austria and there is a short video of Styrina in the side bar on the left. Styrina is a beautiful young woman, but she has been on stage for many years. A friend of mine brought a tape of her from when she was only 12 years old.

The Sandlers, who I often refer to as the "red shirts", had the people on their feet and dancing. Peter, who is the leader of the band, was also our tour guide when we were on our bus tour in May. He was a great tour guide, but he is a fantastic muscian. He brought 4 talented muscians with him and we are so grateful that they were at our house entertaining our guests. We are proud to say that they have also become very good friends of ours.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Pre-German Fest Party

We had a great time giving a Welcome party for the Sandlers, last night. They will be playing German Fest all weekend. When Peter generously offered his band to play, I quickly said YES! It was a great feeling to have the Sandlers play in "my" backyard. Click Here to go to a link where our son, Tim, took a few pictures and even some short videos.

We were also treated to Milwaukee' s own Peggy Mueller, who played a few songs with Peter and, of course, Hansi on the spoons. There were even some sing-a-long moments. These musicians gave everyone a glimpse of the fine music that there will be a German Fest this weekend. Styrina was also there and she enjoyed getting to know some of our guests better before the big weekend.

Thanks to all our friends who brought delicious food and drinks and for helping us give this party for these talented muscians. It is a party that we will always remember. The evening got us all in the mood to have a good time at German Fest this weekend that will be filled with good music (like we heard this night), good food and a wonderful time spent with old friends. Later in the evening the Widdersteiner (Oberallgau Musikanten) band arrived and we all had the opportunity to get to know them better.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Reise mit Musik - over 70 musicians

Our beautiful tour through Austria/Germany in May featured music - music - music. Peter our tour guide and the leader of Die Sandler, said that during our 2 week tour we saw over 70 live muscians/entertainers. There was NEVER a day without music. One of our first performers was the beautiful Vivan Lindt. Her parents own the Gasthaus Oeller near Passau and she entertained us along with the Gletscherfetzer band.

One evening Hans Fuchs and his Oberkrainer Show entertained us after dinner at the Donauschlinge Hotel. We were lucky enough to be entertained by a talented musician at the Donauschlinge Hotel ever night by the name of Willy Brandstetter. When we went to Linz there was a fest going on and we saw several talented muscians, but later we went for a boat ride on the Donau and had the whole boat to ourselves. The Linzer Stadmusikanten played while our group went up and down the Donau.
We also went into the Czech Republic and during our lunch a Country music band played music Czech style. Our visit to the Slavko Avsenik museuem was topped off with a traditional meal in the fest hall with authentic Oberkrainer musik.
One of our favorites was the evening when we were entertained by 3 great entertainers. We were in Millstadt at the Hotel Alexanderhof and none of us suspected that we were in for such a treat that night. Styrina started the program and when peter told us she was a "firecracker" he was not overstating it. Styrina is scheduled to be at German Fest here in Milwaukee this weekend and if you are going, be sure to catch her show. The band Kristall was also featured and they will be in the USA in November for a Christmas Show tour (Styrina is in that show too).
Then came Bernd Roberts. Just 2 weeks later he competed with his song "Hoer auf den Herz " in the Austrian Vortentscheid for the Grand Prix der Volksmusik. Bernd Roberts has been to the US previously and a real favorite along the East coast. He is one of many stars that Gisela Lewis brings to the US each year.

On the day that we toured Vienna, we went to Grinzing in the evening. We had some great house muscians playing old Vienniese tunes and soon it became a sing-along. That night one of our tour members, Wolfgang Ribbert, sang a beautiful song for us. Later Harry Steiner came by and really got our group up on their feet.

While we were at the Hotel Alexanderhof and young talented singer, Sandro, entertained us one evening. He gave us a 2 hour show and did not let us just sit there listening to him sing. He had us up on our feet doing the polanaise and had the men line up to show how well they could sing too. We had a lot of fun that night.

On our way to the Lammertal we went to the Laimeralm where the well known Laimer family provided the music with an absolutely breathtaking view of the valley below. When we got to Bavaria we stayed at the Hotel zur Post in Rohrdorf. The first evening we were entertained by Bettina Stark. She is quite a BIG talent on the tuba. She has been to the US in the past and several of our group were familiar with her. She also had some other entertainers with her, like Werner Buchner, who had some great songs. Also, Max Zantl, a famous yodler in the area gave us a sample of his fine voice.

We also saw a real Bavarian schuplatter group and had a typical bavarian meal. Our last evening in Germany, we went to the neighboring town of Neubeurern whose Stadt kappelle Musikkapelle Neubeuern was celebrating their 125th anniversary. It was held in a huge tent that held about 2,000 people. The local mayor tapped the first keg of beer and the little guy pictured to the right was ready. This Bavarian festival was also serving their beer in the traditional maas. It was a great way to end a fabulous trip.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Springtime in Germany

We spent 2 wonderful weeks in May on a fabulous Bus Tour of Austria, Slovinia, Czech Repulic and Germany. The trip was organized by Gisela Lewis of Special Event Consultant, LLC and Peter Matthai, who is the leader of the Sandler. Peter's band performs any many German events along the East coast, Florida, Canada and Milwaukee's German Fest.

I have put some of my favorite pictures of the trip that include great scenery and having fun with our new friends in the slide show below. However, I will have a separate posting of just pictures of the entertainers we saw during those 2 weeks. After all it was a Reise mit Musik!

The trip started in Austria with stay at the beautiful Hotel Donauschlinge on the shores of the Danube. The view from our room was breathtaking. The food was so delicious at EVERY meal. It was really fun when we decided that for lunch we would go to a Konteterei and just eat Tortes. And we had our first Salzburger Nockerln, it was fantastic. We will definitely be having that again.

We visited such well know places in Austria such as Vienna, Grinzing (sampling the Heurigen) , and Linz. We had a day in Passau and a ride through the Bavarian forest with a stop at the Joskas Crystal world. The trip also went into Slovenia with a visit to the Slavko Avsenik museum & fest hall where we listened to Oberkrainer music, drank Slibowitz and enjoyed watching a tour group of almost all ladies who came from Russia.

But most of all it was a great group of people that we spent those two weeks with. We immediately found that we shared a love of German music and just plain having fun. If you get the New Yorker Staats-Zeitung then you have already read the articles published about this trip. Our friends, Otto & Sieglinde, wrote that detailed account of this trip. I loved reading their articles because it was almost like reliving it all over again and they had details that I had already forgotten. We met this talented couple several years ago on one of Ted Hierl's German Radio Cruises. We are all looking forward to the next one in May 2010.

Gisela & Peter are already getting plans together for next year's trip. So if you see either one of them at German Fest ask them about what destinations are in the works for next year. As soon as I get some details I will be making a post here and letting you know how to sign up.

We went on 3 boat trips, one on the Danube River, the Worthersee, and the Wachau. The trip on the Danube was private and only with our group while 2 musicians accompanied us on the whole trip. We toured the Schoenbrunn castle in Vienna, famous Melk, and saw breathtaking vistas upon the top of the Grossglockner (Austria's highest mountain).

We had music every day. If we were not at a fest enjoying a fine blaskappelle, we were being entertained after dinner at our hotel or enjoying country music Czech style. On the last day of our tour we went to the 125th Stiftungs fest of the Musikkapelle Neubeuern just minutes from our hotel. We were amazed at how many people showed up at this little Bavarian town's celebration. It was a week night and there were about 2,000 people in the large tent. I would estimate that at least 80% of the people were dressed in tracht; including this adorable little guy featured on the right. The slide show has several pictures of when the keg was tapped and of course a hardy "PROST" rang out after that!

It was truly a reise Mit Musik !!!