UNITED GERMAN HUNGARIAN CULTURAL GROUP
The current Cultural Group was formed in 1965 to foster the continuance of the traditional and folk dances of our ethnic heritage. Our group is an accomplished ensemble performing several styles of dance, including Danube Swabian Folk Dances, Viennese Waltzes, Hungarian Czardas, Schuhplattler, and Contemporary Dances. Our Cultural Group consists of adults and children of all ages. For a detailed history of our Cultural Group please click here.
For more information on joining our group or arranging for a performance, please contact our Cultural Group Chairman, Susi Hartmann at firstname.lastname@example.org or Schuhplattler Group Vorplattler, Alex Blank at email@example.com. We can provide from two to six or more couples to perform at your festivals, banquets, restaurants, clubs or other events.
Gauverband Nordamerika Gruppenpreisplatteln/Einzelpreisplatteln
1993 – 3rd Place, Buffalo, New York
1995 – 3rd Place, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
1997 – 3rd Place, Newark, Delaware
1999 – 1st Place, St. Paul, Minnesota
2003 - 2nd Place, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
2007 – 1st Place, Hershey, Pennsylvania
2007 – 1st Place 35-49 Einzelpreisplatteln, Janet & Sasha Malofiy
2013 – 3rd Place 16-34 Einzelpreisplatteln, Allysa Reiter and Werner Fricker III
(1964 – Present)
(Updated April 9, 2014)
The United German Hungarian Club has been a cultural center since our founding as the Banater Maennerchor and singing group in 1910. Most traditional dancing began in the 1930s. Along with Soccer, dance has always been an important part of the Club's social life.
In 1964 Emily Fricker, Emma Mueller, and Antonia Kreutzer decided to start a children's dance group, in which they would teach and thereby foster the continuance of the traditional and folk dances of our ethnic group. From this inauspicious start, in 1965 developed our Cultural Group, an accomplished ensemble of which all our members can be justly proud. Having expanded into several facets, we perform Danube Swabian Folk Dances, Viennese Waltzes, Hungarian Czardas, Schuhplattler, and Contemporary Dances.
CULTURAL GROUP COMMITTEE (1970)
Through the years, our cultural group has had many talented instructors that have dedicated there time teaching us and passing on past traditions as well as introducing us to contemporary styles.
CULTURAL GROUP COMMITTEE 1980
CULTURAL GROUP COMMITTEE 1990
CULTURAL GROUP COMMITTEE 2010
The Kirchweihfest which we celebrate each September is our oldest and most significant tradition It links the old with the new. Kirchweih, or church blessing, is a celebration that took place in most Donauschwaben towns to commemorate the consecration of the church. Our Kirchweih festival grew over the years eventually expanding to a three day event with a show variety Friday evening. The show usually consisted of a big name American band or comedian. A decision was made in 1982 that instead of hiring and outside show, our cultural group would provide the entertainment. Under the direction of Marlene Fricker, each year a talented group of members worked to choreograph dances, write music, develop scripts, and build sets. Our talented dancers, singers and musicians took our audiences around the world and from the earth to the moon with elaborate productions. We were challenged with performances that took us beyond our normal comfort zone.
1993 KIRCHWEIH SHOW – “ON BROADWAY”
Our show in 1983 featured a tribute to 300 years of Germans in America. The highlight of this show was a scene depicting the immigration of our ancestor to America. It featured a song written just for this show by our good friend Ron Kerber, “America, Let’s give it a Try”. Our final “Musical Revue” was performed in 2001. Beginning in 2002, realizing the need to change and adapt, we scaled back our festival to a one day event.
KIRCHWEIH SHOWS 1982 TO 2001
Our club is a member of the Landesverband der Donauschwaben, USA. This organization is dedicated to preserving the Donauschwaben Heritage and Culture in the USA. More recently, our cultural group has begun participating in international events hosted by member organizations. In 2010, our club and cultural group had the pleasure of hosting the Donauschwaben Landestreffen. This is an annual national celebration dedicated to preserving the cultural heritage of the Danube-Swabian Peoples. This three day event was attended by more than 1000 people from throughout the USA and Canada.
LANDESTREFFEN DER DONAUSCHWABEN 2010
In the late 1960s the cultural group began performing Schuhplattler dances under the direction of Andy Weyershaeuser. He instilled in us his love and knowledge of this dance form. This eventually led to the official formation of the Schuhplattler group in 1976. Vorplattlers of our Schuhplattler Group have included: Andy Weyershauser, John M. Blank, Joe S. Reiter, John Reiter, and our current Vorplattler Alex Blank.
Through our friendship with the Auerhahn Schuhplattler Verein of Oley, PA (our Patenverein – Sponsoring Club), Alpenveilchen of Silver Springs, MD., and the Germania Almrausch of Poughkeepsie, NY, we became aware of an international organization known as the Gauverband Nordamerika. The organization preserves and perpetuates the cultural heritage of Bavaria (Germany) and Tyrol (Austria) including its customs, ethnic costumes, language, folk music, and folk dances. A biennial gathering of the Gauverband Nordamerika (Gaufest) is held in odd-numbered years and hosted by various Vereine (clubs). In 1985, several members of our Schuhplattler group had traveled to Vail, Colorado for a ski vacation. While performing in Vail, Colorado, we found out that there was a Gaufest being held in Denver, Colorado. We decided that we wanted to see what it was all about, so hopped in our cars and drove two hours to Denver. We were in awe of what we experienced, so we decided then and there that we wanted to be part this. In April, 1988, we applied for and were accepted as a member of the Gauverband Nordamerika, Inc.
One of the highlights of the Gaufest is the Schuhplattler Competitions: Gruppenpreisplatteln and Einzelpreisplatteln. Each Verein may enter the completion with a group of four to six couples. In addition to the Gruppenpreisplatteln (Group Competition), individual couples may also compete in the Jugend (Youth) or Adult Einzelpreisplatteln. The German Hungarians began competing in Parsippany, New Jersey in 1989. By 1993 we achieved our initial goal and placed third in Buffalo, New York. For the next two Gaufests in Milwaukee, Wisconsin (1995) and Newark, Delaware (1997) we maintained third place. In 1999, in St. Paul, Minnesota, we achieved our ultimate goal and placed first taking home the Wanderpreis!
In 2003, the United German Hungarians hosted the 19th Gaufest in Philadelphia. In addition to undertaking this task of hosting the event, our group was also able to place second in the Gruppenpreisplatteln. This win led to an invitation to perform in Ingolstadt, in Bavaria. In 2007, in Hershey, Pennsylvania, the group once again placed first in Gruppenpreisplatteln. In addition to this win, Sasha and Janet Malofiy placed first in the Adult Einzelpreisplatteln. After the 2007 win, the group was again invited and competed in Germany.
The pride and joy of our cultural group, has always been our youth. We continue to instill in them the importance of our cultural heritage so that they will continue in our footsteps and become future leaders of our organization.
KIRCHWEIH GROUP 2013
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