Featured Image: The EVTG “Stammtisch” in 1985.
By now many of our members are aware that we have been working with the Enzian Volkstanzgruppe des Delaware Saengerbundes on plans to host the 30. Gaufest 3 years from now in Newark, DE. Earlier in 2022 the Delegates of the Gauverband Nordamerika voted unanimously to approve our two clubs as hosts of this event.
The Enzian Volkstanzgruppe previously hosted the 16. Gaufest in 1997 both at a hotel in Wilmington, Delaware as well as on the grounds of the Delaware Saengerbund & Library Association under a big festival tent. Our club attended that Gaufest with over 180 people!
Of course, many will remember our club hosted the 19.Gaufest in 2003 at the Loews Hotel, the Marriott Courtyard, the Convention Center, and the Cathedral of Saints Peter & Paul all in Center City, Philadelphia.
In 2003, John Hubert who served as our Gaufest General Chairman wrote:
“Once again we have come together to share each other’s company, relive a few good memories, and carry on the traditions of Gaufest.”-John Hubert
The written words and sentiments of the German Hungarians echo across generations. Now as we work towards the reality of hosting a new Gaufest in 2025, we do it with new partnerships of old friends, and set forth towards making new memories. It is important, that we introduce to our members & readers our friends from the First State.
The Delaware Saengerbund & Library Association
Located in Newark, (pronounced NEW-ark) Delaware in a community known as Ogletown, the Delaware Saengerbund or DSB has been in existence since 1853. Before 1965 the club operated “German Hall’ in the city of Wilmington. The move to the current location was a result of development within the city, specifically the construction of I-95.
From July of 1965 through October of 1966 the various groups of the club held meetings, rehearsals and dances at the New Castle County Air Base. Then moved to the Wilmington Turners Clubhouse. It was not until 1967 that a building committee secured the purchase of a property at the time known as the “Lydia Alcorn Farm.” Eventually the stables were converted into a Bauernstube by a group of men led by Wilhelm Schulz. This renovation of the stables into a working tavern would form the basis for a clubhouse which today includes a large hall, library, game room, a children’s room, board room, commercial kitchen and much more. More recently the Bauernstube was renovated again to make more room for friends to gather, eat and drink, enjoy camaraderie as well as on occasion listen to gathered musicians. The members of the DSB love to invite friends from near and far to bring out their instruments and play together.
Outdoors, the grounds include a large parking lot, soccer field, covered pavilion and dance floor, and a modern playground. They also have a traditional Maibaum featuring the insignia of a variety of their sponsored groups. Of course, the largest most well-known event on the yearly calendar of the Saengerbund is their modern Munich style Oktoberfest which started in 1979. Usually, it is held the third week of September and the three-day event draws approximately 20,000 people for traditional music, food, dancing, games, rides, and activities for children as well as cold German beer.
Today, the club has an active singing groups, the Ladies of the Delaware Saengerbund, a teenage group called TAG, a hiking club the “Wandervoegel,” a Garden Committee, skat players, a Genealogy group and a Schützenverein. In additional to all of those groups and activities the club also is home to a Bavarian dance group known as the Enzian Volkstanzgruppe.
The Enzian Volkstanzgruppe des Delaware Saengerbundes
Founded in 1968, the Enzian Volkstanzgruppe is a Bavarian Volkstanz and Schuhplattler group which has its home at the Delaware Saengerbund. All of the dance groups activities are in the interests of promoting German customs and traditions.
“The Enzian Volkstanzgruppe was founded in 1968 by Margot and Richard Trager, Ingeborg (Margot’s sister) and George Keith, Helga and Karl Schulz, and Gisela and Tom Yost. The group organized in the interest of supporting the Delaware Sängerbund in preserving German customs and traditions within the community, and to perpetuate the Tracht, music and dance of Bavaria. None of the founders had any firsthand knowledge of folk dancing however, what lacked in knowledge was exceeded by determination. The first dance they learned is the Gebirgskinder Ländler which to this day, every new member must perform.”-www.enzianvolkstanzgruppe.weebly.com
Their dance group in its early days learned from a book titled Bristoler Tanzbuch. Eventually they sought help from the GTV Edelweiss in Reading who helped those first dancers learn the Schuhplattler and became the Enzian’s Patenverein.
By 1969, the EVTG also formally began a Kindergruppe which still is active and strong today.
In 2008 after a 2006 trip to Bad Kohlgrup in Bavaria, six musicians joined together to form a little band like the local one they enjoyed listening to in Germany. By 2009 they had been playing at many of the DSB events and named the group the “Enzian Musikanten.” Sometimes playing as two separate bands, a larger Blaskapelle, and a smaller Tanzlmusik group, they entertain throughout their region alongside the dance group.
Many of our German Hungarian members have made friendships with members of the EVTG over the years through a connection with the Gauverband Nordamerika at various Stiftungsfeste, Gaufeste, Kinderfeste and Fahnenweihe as well. The EVTG joined the Gauverband in 1974 and has hosted various national events over the years including Delegates Meetings and the 1997 Gaufest. In 2018 the Enzian Volkstanzgruppe celebrated it’s 50th Anniversary with a wonderful banquet and event held in a Fest Tent in Ogletown.
Old Friends & New Partnerships
I should disclose that the idea for this article came from a question: what would Emily Fricker do? The answer is above, my best approximation of the kind of article she would write in introduction of the friends from Delaware we are working with to host the 30. Gaufest. What I know my grandmother would have included (which I haven’t until this point) is a longer explanation of the family tree linking the Fricker family to the Schulz family by marriage, or in the case of Michael K., by blood!
Michael N. Fricker
History of the EVTG and DSB has been adapted from www.delawaresaengerbund.com, www.enzianvolkstanzgruppe.weebly.com, and Delaware Saengerbund 1853-2003 by Hilde Cox and Trudy Gilgenast.
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