Landestreffen der Donauschwaben USA and Canada 2013
Carpathia Club – Detroit, Michigan
This is an annual national celebration dedicated to preserving the cultural heritage of the Danube Swabian Peoples. The Donauschwaben People as well as the German Hungarian People are the descendents of German ethnics who emigrated from the German lands to the Danubian Plains of Hungary in the late seventeen and eighteen hundreds. They were referred to as “German Hungarians” until after World War I, when their provinces were divided among Romania, Yugoslavia (now Serbia) and Hungary. Many adopted the name “Donauschwaben”, however the members of our club founded in 1910 still refer to themselves as “German Hungarians”
It was through the efforts of President Andy Weyershaeuser (1980-1986) that our club became members of the National Federation of the Danube Swabians. We have participated many times in the “Verband’s” National Soccer Tournament held each year over the Memorial Day Weekend. We won first place in 1990 and in 2011 when we also hosted the event. Since 2006, our president Bill Galgon and his wife Marlene Fricker have been attending the annual Landestreffen in various states in the USA and Canada. In 2007, a group of our members and dancers attended the event in Mansfield, Ohio. Marlene and Bill have been the driving force to interest our club members and dancers to participate in the various aspects of this group. It was through Bill’s efforts that the Donauschwaben selected to have our club host this event in 2010.
In 2011 we took a bus to Mansfield Ohio and in 2012 we took a bus to Kitchener, Toronto. Members of the Donauschwaben of Trenton joined us. However this year, 2013, we were only able to rally a group of approximately 20. Twelve traveled by van while 10 others traveled by car. The dancers consisted of:
ALEX BLANK – ANNA MARTINI
PAUL FRUHNER – MICHELLE PAUL
BOB WALTER – EMMA WALTER
MICHAEL FRICKER – KRISTEN REITER
NICK WALTER – KARINA FRICKER
MIKE CRAMER – SOFI WALTER
WERNER FRICKER III – ALLYSA REITER
The group performed THE SOUND OF MUSIC LAENDLER, THE POLKA, and THE CZARDAS.
The dancers had been earnestly practicing since their participation at the Gaufest in late June, reviewing the Laendler and the Czardas and learning a Polka newly choreographed by Marlene especially for this event. They were looking forward to their performance and meeting once again new friends they had met in the past years. They especially looked forward to meeting again the “Banater Schwaben” who had been at our club two weeks prior.
Everything went according to plan. I can only speak for those twelve who traveled by van. We were a group aging from mid teens to mid seventies. Our drivers going to Detroit were Werner III and Alex and I must say they did an exceptional job. Traveling on the turnpikes, we made a short stop every two hours. Since it was a Friday and a Holiday weekend, the worst traffic happened when we reached Detroit.
Arriving at our hotel, the Staybridge Suites in Utica, Michigan we quickly changed into our “German Hungarian” T-shirts and headed for the scene of the event, the Carpathia Club in Sterling Heights, about ten minutes from the hotel.
The food – Chicken Schnitzel, Sarma, Hungarian, Weiss, or Knack Wursts, Hot Dogs, Potato Salad, Sauerkraut, Pizza, Beef Goulasch, Roast Pork, Mashed Potatoes and Red Cabbage were among the selections. Oh yeah! And great homemade cakes, which of coarse I had to eat since there was no fruit!
The Carpathia Club’s building and grounds are beautiful and the entire event was held here. With the name “Carpathia”, I imagined that somewhere in their history, this group are “landsleit” to the former local club members, “Karpathan Sängerband”. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Philadelphia Carpathians came from Saxony and immigrated to upper Hungary while we and the Detroit Carpathians who were founded in 1913 by a gentleman, who considered himself an “Ostschwabe” or “East Swabian” The date was January 5, 1913 and in the local German newspaper an ad for the creation of a German-Hungarian Singing Society and anyone interested was invited to attend a meeting. Fifty seven men gathered to the summons of the man responsible, Peter Schock, who emigrated from Austria-Hungary’s eastern frontier to Philadelphia before making his home in Detroit. The new singing society was created with Peter Schock as its first President. The Society called itself, the “German Austrian-Hungarian Singing Society” until June 22 when it merged with the already established “German-Hungarian Progressive Union” and the “German- Hungarian Singing Society and Progressive Union” was born that day and once again with Schock as president. In 1914, barely 8 months after their merger, the two groups split. Their name would no longer be appropriate. The name “Carpathia Singing Society” was chosen and won favor among members because most could claim origins in the vicinity of this Eastern European mountain range. (For example – if we would name ourselves after the Pocono Mountain Range) WHY IS ANY OF THIS RELEVENT IN AN ARTICLE ABOUT OUT TRIP??? Because the Detroit Carpathian Club’s first president, Peter Schock was also the Banater Männerchor of Philadelphia’s (the founding name of our club) first president. (More info next month)
Back to the event –
We arrived at the tent and were able to eat our dinner and enjoy the performance of the “Banater Schwaben” once again. Meeting up with our Donauschwaben Friends from Philadelphia and Trenton and others, we enjoyed the evening and looked forward to bedtime. However, not all of us! It seems we were by design in the same hotel as the Milwaukee Donauschwaben with whom our dancers had become friendly over the years and across the street from the Banater German Groups. It also seems that many of the hotels were in this same compound, so it seems that quite a lot of partying went on. Ah, to be young again!
The festival schedule is set up so that during the band breaks, there are various dance performances. The bands on Saturday were: Hank Haller Band and the Tradewinds playing in the Hall while the Martin Brothers and Freddy Ziwich played in the tent.
The following dance groups performed: Milwaukee, Detroit, Chicago Aid, St. Louis, Cincinnati, Mansfield, Akron, Cleveland, Toronto, Windsor, Oakford/German Hungarians, Kitchener, Phila/Trenton, Chicago Donau. Los Angeles, Carpathia Singers, and Milwaukee Society.
Although we perform only with a Youth Group, many perform with a Youth group, a Kulture (Adult) Group and a Children’s Group. Many dance with precision and dignity while others dance with vim and vigor. The audience loves all the groups and each receives a mighty applause. On Saturday the tent closed at 11 PM while the hall closed at midnight.
On Sunday morning, a Mass was held in the hall at 10 AM. Father Peter Zillich, who is originally from Klein Betschkerek in Romanian Banat was the celebrant.
The Eisenbahner Musikanten and the Banater Schwaben performed from 12 to 2 PM while the Spass Band from Cleveland played throughout the day in the hall until closing at 9 PM. Our club members had been entertained by this band at the Gaufest in Toledo in 2009. The Hank Haller Band and the Enzian played in the tent until 8 PM when the DJ Glockenspiel took over until 11 PM. This DJ as you can guess by his name played both modern German and American music. The dance floor was so full that hardly anyone could move. This is a Landestreffen tradition that the final band or music (DJ) is for the enjoyment of the youth. But you should have seen how many of their parents were out there enjoying themselves.
The fest was scheduled to close at 11 PM but naturally the DJ continued longer and finally the 2013 Landestreffen was ended. Not really! Remember youth is always resilient and there was always the fun at the hotels.
Our van was scheduled to leave at 10 AM on Monday morning. After saying our goodbyes to everyone we finally got under way at 10:30 AM. Since our drivers had been up late, Lisa, who had also been our designated driver during the fest, drove for a few hours. Later Alex and Werner III took over again and as we entered Pennsylvania, it was suggested that we stop at the Memorial of Flight 93 in Shanksville, Somerset County. All agreed. This memorial which was a common field one day will be a field of honor forever. Much has been built at this monument that honors the 40 passengers and crew
Of Flight 93 who died on 9/11 and much more is planned. It was worth our detour and in the future when all plans are completed it will be a site for all Americans to visit.
It seemed to take forever to travel through Pennsylvania until we hit Montgomery County and we arrived at the Fricker’s home in Horsham.
As I stepped, or rather crawled, out of the van, I know I had a smile on my face. This was one of the best times ever!!!