June 2018

President's Message

Dear Delegates and Friends,                                 June 2018

38th NYSSB Sängerfest
Hosted by the
Kingston Maennerchor and Damenchor
150th Anniversary
9 & 10 June 2018

Liebe Sängerinnen, Sängern und Dirigenten
Dear Singers and Music Directors

With Joy in our hearts, vigor in our voices and our heritage on our minds we celebrated a wonderful festival of singing, great company, and much merriment! We joined in tribute to Gemütlichkeit, Freundschaft, and Kameradschaft in New York State's Mid-Hudson Valley and our 38th Sängerfest!     Who took home the First Prize?   All those who participated!!!

Ganz toll!         Well Done!

We congratulate the Kingston Maennerchor and Damenchor members, officers, and Sängerfest Committee for their hard work, commitment, and dedication; and applaud the celebration of their 150th Anniversary.

Additionally, we acknowledge the commitment, dedication and support of the Music Directors and Choruses from throughout the Sängerbund who actively prepared and participated in this 38th Sängerfest.

There are approximately 7,000 spoken languages in the world today. But there's one language that everybody understands no matter what tongue they speak:


"Music is the universal language of mankind".
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Three years ago we were at a crossroad in the history of our sängerbund as we witnessed our last sängerfest following the traditional "Prize Singing" competitive format. We worked together diligently with thoughtful deliberation and determination in forming and shaping our new sängerfest format.

We have adjusted, tuned, and tweaked our plans and we now have seen the fulfillment and fruition of our efforts. Our choruses large and small combined for a wonderful mass chorus and each choir performed individually in marvelous presentations demonstrating their personal strengths, abilities, and talents. Thank you again Kingston Maennerchor and Damenchor for hosting and arranging for our extra needs of accessibility, seating, and diet.

We still have many hurdles in sustaining our resources and maintaining our singing traditions. Yet there are many stories and experiences this year that demonstrate the enduring dedication, enthusiastic commitment, and sustained support of our sängerbund spirit.

This spirit was apparent throughout the state in the fortitude, grit, and willingness to endure for the good of the chorus and the continuation of the Sängerbund Sängerfest.

We witnessed a remarkable effort and comeback of a chorus who lost a full one third of their chorus in the past half year.
The chorus and director decided they were not yet finished and took up the challenge to continue and maintain their celebrated traditions. They exemplified the spirit of their founders in

Mia Schwoba halte z'samme
We Schwaben Stick Together".

On Sunday June 3rd the Buffalo Schwaben, 20 strong, some in their 80's, stood tall and presented an outstanding and heart-warming presentation, as we also witnessed at the sängerfest along with the La vie en Rose. Many of their past singers in the audience came by to say hello and tell us how much they enjoyed the performance and missed the camaraderie, friendship and joy of the chorus.

At our last convention, the host chorus demonstrated that they could still present a wonderful abschieds concert. After a major water pipe break this winter that flooded and ruined their clubhaus
the small chorus and director decided they were not yet finished. They took up the challenge to continue and maintain their celebrated traditions.

The Binghamton chorus, 8 strong, including their director, stood tall and presented an outstanding and heart-warming presentation at our 38th Sängerfest.

The three remaining Syracuse Liederverein singers
decided they were not yet finished and took up the challenge to continue and maintain their celebrated traditions.

They contacted a dear friend, their former music director and formed a quartet that absolutely stunned an amazed the audience as they lead off the sängerfest individual chorus presentation with traditional SATB "Prize" songs and a contemporary Anthem from the Broadway Musical Chess.

The challenge in Poughkeepsie was the availability of only 14 singers which included just two tenors and two basses.
The small chorus and director decided they were not yet finished and took up the challenge to continue and maintain their celebrated traditions as the oldest chorus in the sängerbund.

They wowed the audience with a Broadway Opening and closed with a sassy, gypsy-like, tambourine wielding, Hungarian Juliska with her Bohemian violinist.

Utica's challenge was how to best utilize their singers.
The chorus and director decided they were not yet finished and took up the challenge to continue and maintain their celebrated sängerfest traditions.

They developed a heart-warming "prize winning" traditional sängerfest performance with a Men's Chorus, Ladies Chorus, and Mixed Chorus presentation.

The Kingston chorus had the challenge to flesh out the new 2-day sängerfest format within a one year time limit.
The host chorus and director decided they were not yet finished and took up the challenge to develop new approaches to the traditional sängerfest formats of the past.

For their own choral presentation they chose an SATB musical round, a sea chantey, as well as a modern German "Rock"; an Oktoberfest hit. For the Mass Chorus they choose traditional sängerfest music with a show stopping finale of a local American Heimatlied; Ashokan Farewell.

At the Sunday Abshieds Party so many singers, with a smile on their faces and joy in their hearts came to say Goodbye and comment on how much fun it was to "sing without pressure", "sing for the fun of singing", "this 2 day, no-competition format is a winner", "let's do it again in 2 years".

All these stories demonstrate our sängerfest spirit of determination, tenacity, fortitude, and courage. We must bring back to our home choruses and share with our friends and colleagues our mutual feelings of joy, respect, persistence, and endurance.

Music brings us together in the traditions and customs of our heritage. We are truly privileged to represent and honor our forefathers and past members who dedicated themselves to the German Communities of New York State and inspired, motivated, and nurtured our cultural heritage and traditions.

We stand in grateful appreciation of the bravery and determination of these people who left their homelands to find freedom and opportunity for themselves, their children, and each generation thereafter.

Music is what our feelings sound like. Each time we participate in a Sängerfest we renew our commitment to the German cultural heritage and tradition of choral singing brought to this country so long ago.

I hope that you enjoyed every aspect of this Sängerfest and returned home with a renewed determination and dedication that the New York State Sängerbund and its member societies will continue to flourish.

Vielen Dank for your continued support, and collaboration. I wish you all a pleasant and safe summer and look forward to seeing you in Poughkeepsie in September.

Mit freundlichen Sängergruessen, Freundschaft, und Kameradschaft,
verbleiben ich Euer Sängerbruder und Freund,

Hermann Alfons Koelmel




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