Sängerfest 2008 / ALT1858 150th Jubilee

The 14th Sängerfest, combined with the 150th jubilee of the Adelaider Liedertafel 1858, was held on the weekend of 3rd to 5th October, 2008, in Adelaide. Hosted by the ALT, Sängerfest 2008 has been acclaimed by singers, officials and spectators as one of the best ever. The feedback we have received indicates that the concerts, organisation, venues, various functions and general Gemütlichkeit were great. We are grateful to all interstate choirs and officials who attended, to the SA Government and Adelaide dignitaries and invited guests who hosted and attended the various functions and to our loyal SA audiences who attended the celebrations of our 150th birthday and the 14th Australian Sängerfest.

The weekend was only 3 days long, but it was three years in the planning. Most of the credit for the success of the events must go to the hard-working Festival Committee, comprising Peter Reeh, Wolfgang Fritzsche, Manfred Grafton, Karl Ascher and Herbert Goels.

The weekend's festivities commenced on Friday morning with an official reception at Parliament House, North Terrace, hosted by Michael Atkinson, MP, Attorney General and Minister for Multicultural Affairs. The reception was held in the original South Australian parliamentary chamber - the place where the very first members of the SA parliament gathered in 1857 (one year before the ALT was founded). Mr Atkinson gave a speech which emphasised the tremendous influence that German settlers had in South Australia, and he showed a knowledge of the ALT that even a few of our older members lacked. Either he has good researchers or he is a very good amateur historian! We rendered a few "old faithfuls" that were very well received.

The next function was a short midday ceremony at the West Adelaide cemetery at Carl Linger's grave. Conducted by president Peter Reeh, it was a quiet and thoughtful, and was attended by most members and quite a few family and friends.

Friday finished up with a reception at the Adelaide Town Hall on Friday night, hosted by Adelaide Lord Mayor Michael Harbison. It was memorable for a few reasons, notably that more people attended than were invited - but who cares! There was much impromptu singing, and the loud, hearty and rousing rendition of "Aus Der Traube" by male members from all the visiting choirs will be long remembered. I noticed that Mr Harbison couldn't stop smiling, and I remember thinking that this reception probably was a lot more lively than most of the receptions he has hosted.

The most important day of the Sängerfest, Saturday, went off without a hitch. The morning rehearsals were smooth, unhurried and well attended. They even finished ahead of time, which must be some sort of record.  Details of the concerts are set out below. 

Sunday the 5th was devoted to recovery, rest and recreation. At 10:30 am the German Club was packed to the rafters with singers, supporters and friends who enjoyed a hearty "brunch" before going back to their accommodation to prepare for the evening's gala dinner. Held in the Adelaide Convention Centre, this function was a huge success. The food, wine, songs, dancing and general Gemütlichkeit were very much enjoyed by all.

The people I spoke to, almost without exception, stated that the 2008 Sängerfest was the most well-organised, had the best musical content and was generally the most enjoyable of any they had attended. Well, perhaps those remarks were spur-of-the-moment and were made at times when the speakers were enjoying themselves - but even though I'm biased I tend to agree with them!
Bill van de Water

The ALT1858 gratefully acknowledges the following sponsors, without whose support this festival would not have been possible. Please click the links and visit their websites:

Liebherr Australia Westfalia Meat Steinhoff Smallgoods Hilde Hemmes Herbals Samtass Bros. Seafoods

Following are links with references to the festival:

Speech made in the SA Parliament's Legislative Council by the Hon John Dawkins, MLC

Contents from the front page of "Die Wöche" - Australia's only German language newspaper

See the event in pictures at the ALT Photo Gallery

Compere: Jens Sandström
Choirs (and the songs they performed) - in order of appearance.

Click each choir's name to see a photo. The whole event is also covered in our photo gallery

with the Band of the South Australia Police
conducted by Dr. Kevin Cameron
Compere: Jens Sandström

Opening Addresses:
Hon. Mike Rann MP, Premier of South Australia
Mr Dieter Mittasch, President, German Choral Association
of Australia, Inc.
Mr Peter Reeh, President, Adelaider Liedertafel 1858

Adelaider Liedertafel 1858 (SA) Cond: Jonathan Bligh
    Song of Australia (Carl Linger)
    Trösterin Muzik (A Bruckner)
    Abendchor (C Kreutzer)
    Deutschmeister Regimentsmarsch (arr W Siegler)

A special mention and big thank you to June Genders OAM for her piano accompaniment. With our regular pianist Ed Kriek unable to attend and his replacement withdrawing at short notice, June volunteered to help us and did a splendid job.
Combined Male Choirs
National Anthems of Australia, Germany and Austria
Cäcilienchor Croydon (NSW) Cond: Eckhard Kemmerer
    "Tribute to the Comedian Harmonists"-
        Wochenend und Sonnenschein (Ager & Yellen)
    Barcarolle (Offenbach)
    Creole Love Call (Ellington)     
Adelaider Liedertafel 1858
Chor der Sklaven (Verdi)
The Holy City (soprano solo: Nina Tschernykow Jonathan's mum!)
Tanunda Liedertafel (SA) Cond: Robert Homburg OAM
    Wer ist unser Mann (Zoellner)
    Londonderry Air (arr. G. Arch)
    Matrosenchor (Wagner)
Band of the South Australia Police
Dichter und Bauer Overtüre - Poet and Peasant Overture - von Suppé

The ALT has a great rapport with this talented band of musicians. They have always answered our call for assistance, and we are very grateful for their continued support. The South Australian public is well served by this great band. Their performance at Sängerfest 2008 was, as usual, outstanding.
Heimatchor (WA) Cond: Glenn Rogers
    Heut' ist der schönste Tag (May)
    Ach, ich hab' in meinem Herzen (Schulz)
    Dankeschön und auf Wiederseh'n (Hein)
Opera Singers  - Jillian Chatterton, Ernst Ens (a former ALT conductor), Joanna McWaters and Andrew Turner; accompanied by John Hall
Highlights from "Die Fledermaus" (Strauss)
    Champagne Chorus
    Laughing Song
    Watch Duet
    Brüderlein und Schwesterlein

This very talented group of singers provided a wonderful change of pace to our Sängerfest. They were fresh, entertaining, comedic and very, very good.
Hahndorf Liedertafel (SA) Cond: Joshua McPherson
    Lied an die Freude (Beethoven)
    An die Musik (Schubert)
    The Long Day Closes (Sullivan)
Combined Male Choirs
    Wir singen unsere Lieder (Charpentier)
    Jägerchor (CM von Weber)
    Rebels' Chorus ("Erhebet das Glas") from Ernani (Verdi)
Chor Alpenfrieden (SA) Cond: Peter Ruys)
    Im Fruajahr bei da Niada (Volkslied - Niederösterreich)
    Alpenfrieden (Bajzek)
    D'zit ischt do (Kanetschneider - Vorarlberg)
    Waht da Wind uarban See (Kraxner)
Combined Ladies Choirs
Musik kennt keine Grenzen (Groll)
Ungarischer Tanz Nr. 5 (Brahms)
Liedertafel Arion (VIC) Cond: Valentino Gamboz
   Lob des Rheins (Fischer)
Band of the South Australia Police
Die leichte Kavallerie Overtüre - Light Cavalry Overture - von Suppé
Concordia Choir, Tempe (NSW) Cond: Tamara Carlin
    La Paloma (arr. Zimmer)
    Ade zur guten Nacht (arr. Seeger)
    Sieben Fässer Wein (N. Ascot)
    Abschied vom Walde (Mendelssohn - Bartholdy)
Opera Singers
    Papageno Duet - from The Magic Flute (Mozart)
    Vilia - from The Merry Widow (Lehàr)
    Dein ist mein ganzes Herz - from Land of Smiles (Lehàr)
    Do You Hear the People Sing?
        - from Les Miserables (Schönberg)
Austrian Choir, Canberra (ACT) Cond: Gunter Brandstetter
    Einzugsmarsch (Strauss)
    Is schon still um an See (Mittergradnegger)
    Die Kröte (Koringer)
    Heimat deine Sterne (arr. F. Ziegler)
Shirley Gale - Organ Solo
Toccata and Fugue in D Minor (JS Bach)

For me, this was a highlight. The Adelaide Town Hall organ is world renowned, and Ms Gale played it like a Stradivarius. During the loud, low passages of this well-known Bach masterpiece you could feel the vibrations  in your bones. A magnificent performance.
Male Choir Sanssouci, Wollongong (NSW)
Cond: Günter Arndt
    Abendfrieden (Eckardt)
    Das ist die Liebe der Matrosen (Heymann)
    Herrlicher Baikal (Groll)
    Weinland (Pracht)
Massed Choirs
Lobt den Herrn der Welt - Trumpet Voluntary - Purcell
Hallelujah Chorus from the Messiah - Handel

The Hallelujah chorus was, for me, the other highlight. We in the ALT were all a bit worried that a bunch of amateur choirs could do justice to this, one of the best-known choral pieces of all time. But we needn't have worried - it was great.
Deutscher Volksliederchor (SA) Cond: Peter Ruys
    Es tagt der Sonne Morgenstrahl (arr. Bergmann)
    SchwarzwälderBlasmusik (arr. Steinfeld)
    Wanderlied im Frühling (Erdlen)
    In stiller Nacht (Brahms)
Massed Choirs

Heimat (Hansen)
Brisbane Liedertafel/Liederkranz (QLD) Cond: Leo Keller
    Berlin Potpourie (Linke)
Presentations and windup
Templer Choir (VIC) Cond: Annette Wagner - Hesse
    Ein deutsches Gloria Patri (Schütz)
    In Walde (Mendelssohn - Bartholdy)
    Das Wandern ist des Müllers Lust (Zöllner)
Band of the South Australia Police
Radetzky March (Strauss)
Adelaider Liedertafel 1858 (SA) Cond: Jonathan Bligh
    Kiss me, Honey Baby (Carter)
    Hochzeit der Frösche (Burkhardt)

The ALT performed this bracket to replace the planned performance of the Lobethal Harmony Club choir, who unfortunately had to withdraw from the festival at the last minute. However, several of that choir's members joined in the combined men's choir later in the evening.   
The Adelaider Liedertafel 1858 would like to thank all choirs, performers, sponsors, the Government of South Australia, the SA Multicultural and Ethnic Affairs Commission, the Adelaide  City Council and all who helped make the 14th Sängerfest and 150th Jubilee celebrations an outstanding success.

This page was last updated Sunday, 28 October 2012