A NIGHT in Vienna, by Michael Fricker

     Imagine you stand under the midnight blue of the sky. Crisp air rushes through your hair and a feeling of excitement wanders its way into your eyes as a figure approaches with a smile.

     “Guten Abend. Ich bin Matz. Servus Freund!” the cheery voice behind that smile greets you. You narrow your eyes understanding what he said, but curious as to why he spoke in that language, especially here and now. The jolly traveler gains an even bigger smile when he takes note of your sudden curiosity.

     “Oh, it is English you prefer! Ahah! Good evening my friend. Matz is my name. It is good to see you here. I hope if I tell you this story you may join us on this wonderful trip we intend to take!” He jumps with his voice as he speaks so passionately. Still not so sure, you nod your head as dozens of possibilities wander over your mind.

     “And where will this wonderful trip take me?” you ask with a blaze of interest and a cock of the head.

     “Ah! You are ready to hear the tale, Yes? Grand! We will drift away through the evening as I take you to the City of Dreams! Vienna!”

     This Matz can almost not contain his excitement as he speaks to you. In this moment you do not realize the fantastic of this chance encounter, but then he pushes your shoulder to turn you around. In one whirl your eyes brighten at the sight behind you.

     “Where are we?” you gasp.

     “Do you see the lights there of the city? Ah, yes that is my Wien! Vienna my friend, do you see it there?” He laughs like a boy looking at the returning face of his run-away pup. You both look out over the city. The lights line the banks of the Danube.

     “You see my friend, The Danube is the bringer of luck,” Matz speaks with a love for this city. He drags his finger along its far away banks. “Many travelers came to Vienna on this river. Some stayed but many more passed on by. Somehow a part of them all stayed in Vienna. A part of their hearts always drew them back.”  He stays silent only for a moment looking at the city once more.

Then in a flash of fervor he pulls his watch from his pocket.

     “We must move on! The night does not last forever!” Matz slips his watch back into his pocket and clicks his heels. Once again his hand like that of a conductor pushes your shoulder turning you around. Suddenly as if by magic you stand beside your guide surrounded by the green of the trees and the pink and white of the flowers. Your head turns in a gaze at the nature around you.

     “This my curious friend is the Stadtpark, Vienna. Look around at the monuments! It is like a pantheon of artists, all Viennese, of course.” He laughs heartily with his arms spread wide. Before him stand the bronze, the marble and the limestone to which he refers. “My friend, there, do you see the composer Anton Bruckner? And there is Franz Schubert at rest with his music notes!” Matz points in another direction, “The conductor Robert Stolz, and Franz Lehár known for his operettas.”

     Then as Matz, your guide turns to face the center, his voice quiet with a respect as he speaks, “But of course the most wondrous of all,” his voice grows loud with excitement, “ The Waltz King himself, Johann Strauss II stands gilded just as his music has been in the hearts of the world! Can you imagine him here in the flesh conducting his orchestra? What a sight that would have been!” You stand before the monument to Strauss that stands golden with its violin. It is as though you can hear the music. Then Matz puts a firm hand once again on your shoulder and that music grows louder.

     “Very well we must get going or we may be late.” Turning around again, you hear a murmur of voices under the faint but growing harmonies.  Matz’s voice once again jumps with him, “There! Do you see it? It must be better than you imagined. Just over there my friend! The magnificent Hofburg Palace. This is where we shall spend our evening! Where else, if you must spend a night in Vienna, ah?”

     Your eyes wander past the lights and to the palace before you. You see the lines of cars letting out their passengers. It’s a sight better than any so far on this phenomenal evening.

     “Do you see them arrive at the Heldenplatz? Look at the men in their white tie and tailcoats! The gorgeous women in ball gowns are a sight that rival the beauty of Vienna itself! Come let us pass the statue of Prince Eugene of Savoy so we may enter the ball.” With those last words you are whisked away and now inside the glorious hall as the people they march past to Strauss’s Kaiser Franz Josef der Erste Rettungs Jubel Marsch.

     A night of your life ensues, and it is a night like a dream.  The waltzes, the music, the food and drink, the grand hall and the atmosphere of Vienna take you away. A few polkas with a pretty girl and you have spent your “Nacht in Wien,” your “Night in Vienna.” And as the hour is late and the music slows, Matz looks at you with a satisfied smile, “My friend nothing can compare to your first night in Wien. You will always remember it. But you can always come back my friend!”

     Enjoy all this and more as the United German Hungarians of Philadelphia and Vicinity present, A Night In Vienna! On Saturday, May 31, 2014 the German Hungarians will transform the little town of Oakford in Bucks County, to an Austrian dream.

     Enjoy the wonderful music of the Norbert Ludewig Orchestra in the grand hall spangled in the rich red and pure white of the Austrian tri-band! Expect fantastic song stylings. The German-Hungarian Dancers will don their black tie and gowns for some special performances that evening. Cocktail hour with Hors d’oeuvres begins at 6:00 followed by a classic Viennese dinner and dessert table.

     Ticket price is $60.00. Please contact Lisa Fricker for reservations at 215.500.0757 or by email at lhfricker@hotmail.com. Reservations are required and black tie is preferred.

Michael N. Fricker