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Archive for July, 2010

The Männergesangsverein Kappel with their standard

THE KAPPEL CHRONICLE (Satis Shroff, Kappel-Schwarzwald)

Lambert Weis: Whisper Words of Hope

It was a bright sunny day on the 6th of July 2010 and you could hear the birds chirping merrily in the adjacent birch and oak trees. We, the men of the Männergesangsverein were attending the funeral of Lambert Weis who was born in 23rd of August 1920. Almost ninety years and the picture above shows the house where he grew up as a child.

It was a funeral in the presence of the community in Kappel where he lived. His wife had preceded him fifteen years earlier. Ach, the suffering of this world, the darkness that befalls death. A life that death cannot tear away.

Lambert Weis had a special relationship to the Männergesangsverein where he was an active member for fifty years. We all knew him as an amiable, bespectacled man, who used to go around Kappel wearing his schieber-cap and a wandering stick, with emblems as reminders of the places he’d been to with his dear wife. It is in such times, when a soul departs that we think of the friendliness and sympathetic behaviour of the departed, and the signs of love a person has left behind. Such was the case of Lambert Weis, who died on the 29th of June 2010, who had a fall and succumbed to his internal injuries.

The paths are abandoned and we’re alone in these grey lanes, where no one comes.

Bless us Great Mother every day. Bless all hearts and every hut and town where people live. Spread your holy hands and whisper words of hope in his mouth. Blessings in death and dying, and in the life we’re living.

The ceremony began with a song ‘Wir sind nur Gast auf Erde’, that is, we’re only guests on this earth—sung together by all present at the St.Peter and Paul. Then followed ‘Sanctus’ and ‘Agnus Dei’ from the Deutsche Messe (Franz Schubert) sung by the colleagues of Lambert Weis from the Männergesangsverein (men’s choir) ‘Liederkranz.’

When Lambert Weis came from the last World War II, where he was detained as a prisoner of war, and had lost his index finger, he looked frail and had a haggard expression on his face. He knew what it was to be hungry during, and especially after the krieg. There were a lot of difficulties to be overcome and quite a few people in the Kappeler community thought out loud and said he wouldn’t survive. But Herr Weis showed them all that he was made of sterner stuff and outlived a lot of his colleagues. He built a home after what had been a long journey towards the end of the war and thereafter.

Due to the Second World War the activities of the men’s choir were reduced and almost came to a stop because most of the able-bodied men from the bergwerk and the Black Forest farmsteads had to do work as soldiers under the Wehrmacht in different fronts. They were replaced by prisoners-of-war from Poland,Later France, Russia and the Ukraine. Since there were very few men left, the men’s choir came closer with Littenweiler’s ‘Frohsinn’ and Herr Weiss was the conductor then. World War II brough a heavy loss to the Männergesangsverein because seven singers didn’t return. It was August Dold who brought the old and young singers together in 1946.

The new men’s choir ‘Liederkranz,’ which means a wreath of flowers, was founded on July 13,1947 after the then French government gave permission to the men to sing officially. The first chairman was Pius Trescher, who held his office till 1959. After that Herr Weiss, a senior school teacher, took over with twenty-four active and 67 passive members.

Comradeship and socialising together have always been important to the men’s choir, and excursions were undertaken together to the different towns and hamlets and the neighbouring countries: France, Switzerland and Austria.

The 16th and 17th of July 1950 was a special day for the men’s choir flag inauguration, and it began with a festival mass and honouring of the dead. And in the afternoon there was a big procession with the Kappeler verein. The people rejoiced and it took on the character of a folks-festival. On the following Monday there was the children’s and family-festival.

After the choir had sung the Grablied and the priest had sprinkled the holy water and bestowed a small spade of earth and spoken the words ‘from dust to dust and ashes to ashes,’ it was the turn of the men’s choir to do the same. Richard Lindner, the standard bearer of the Männergesangsverein, lowered the decorative flag of the verein into the open grave and marched out in two in their blue and black uniforms, after having spoken words of condolence to the sons and their wives of the deceased, waiting below the arcade to the graveyard.

He was a loveable person and that is why his love shall remain in the places and the hearts of those who knew him, for love goes beyond death. What remains is something eternal and becomes a part of eternity.

The epitaph goes thus:

Wenn die

Kraft

Zu Ende

Geht,

ist die

Erlösung

Gnade.

Autor Biographie

Satis Shroff ist Dozent, Schriftsteller, Dichter und Kunstler und außerdem Lehrbeauftragter für Creative Writing an der Albert Ludwigs Universität Freiburg.  Satis Shroff lebt in Freiburg-Kappel (poems, fiction, non-fiction) und schreibt über ökologische, medizin-ethnologische und kultur-ethnische Themen. Er hat Zoologie und Botanik in Nepal, Sozialarbeit und Medizin in Freiburg und Creative Writing in Freiburg und UK studiert. Da Literatur eine der wichtigsten Wege ist, um die Kulturen kennenzulernen, hat er sein Leben dem Kreatives Schreiben gewidmet. Er arbeitet als Dozent in Basel (Schweiz) und in Deutschland an der  Akademie für medizinische Berufe (Uniklinik Freiburg). Ihm wurde der DAAD-Preis verliehen.

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Satis Shroff with his Creative Writing Class below the Greek statues in Freiburg. Soccer is everywhere, even at University (c) satisshroff

Commentary: GERMAN WALTZ EXCELS (Satis Shroff, Kappel-Freiburg)

Argentina was overwhelmed and they knew how Englishmen felt after the 4:1. The 4:0 victory over Diego’s eleven was far more significant. Messi, Huguain and Tevez could not put Argentina in the game again in the quarterfinals, and the team fell like Humpty Dumpty.

Thomas Müller, the destroyer of England, shone within three minutes. Alas, he won’t be playing against the Spaniards this Wednesday’s semifinals. Thomas Müller, Miroslav Klose and Arne Friedrich were the ones who shot Germany to the semifinals. The performance of of the German team has driven people to the streets to rejoice, giving it the character of a folks-festival. Never were we Germans so proud at waving the German tricolour: yellow,black and red. People wore the colours on their backs, cheeks, blondes draped the flags on their lithe bodies. It’s just done. The sound of the noisy vuvuzelas emanating from the streets, stadiums, publich-viewings and rooftops, isolated farm houses taverns, inns, and cafes. Everyone’s infected and has football fever. Very contagious and shows pandemic proportions throughout the world.

Löw couldn’t have found a better goalie than Manuel Neuer and is more than a match for Kahn and Lehmann. The former works as a commentator now. It took Löw’s boys twenty minutes to crack down England’s defence. Sweinsteiger’s kick was terrific. Argentinia just couldn’t penetrate the German defence which stood like a flexible Berlin Wall.

In the 67th minute Klose received a pass from Podolski. Friedrich scored 3:0 in less than ten minutes. Klose complied with a volley shot after a pass from Özil. The German team was almost invincible in that game. The Guardian put it aptly: ‘As Argentina lament, so Germany dare to dream.’ The German eleven has been flourishing and outmanoeuvring their opponents in Ballack’s absence. German übermacht in the soccer lawns of South Africa. Will this trend go on? I hope so. So do 60 million Germans.

The Süddeutsche Zeitung came up with: ‘Germany unanimously Magicland.’ It is like a fairy-tale. Even I couldn’t resist the temptation of going berserk over the victory against Argentina. That’s tenacity, strategic intelligence, style and love of the game for you. Löw was cited as saying: ‘Even Argentina is vulnerable.’ What about Spain? On Wednesday we’ll be wiser.

‘Das war Wahnsinn, was abgelaufen ist,’ said Müller euphorically after the match was over.Yes, it’s madness.

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BETWEEN HEAVEN & HAYDN (Satis Shroff)

The Männergesangsverein ‚Liederkranz’ Kappel staged a spiritual concert conducted by Johannes Söllner ‘Heaven and Haydn’ with the cooperation of the Chorvereinigung Hochdorf which was conducted by Rainer Hoffmann. The solists were: Stephanie Dauer (Cello), Andrea Kampe (Orgel) and Christian Kohler also Orgel.

The mixed choir from Hochdorf was already onstage and sang ‘Shalom Chaverim’ after the last notes of the cello played by Stafanie Dauer has ceased. The men’s chor then sang the same verse as they approached the stage. It was a choral duet with the sad and sorrowful wailing of the cello which resounded in the hall of St. Peter and Paul. It was a spiritual delight to listen to the two choirs reaching a crescendo.

The Chorvereinigung Hochdorf MGV Kappel a traditional spiritual songs from the mass ‘Hier liegt deiner Majestät’ by Michael Haydn: Gloria, Credo, Zur Opferung and Zur Wandlung sung with pathosand gusto as the song demanded. The audience had been requested not to applause after every piece and save it for the finale.

Andreas Kumpe played choral introduction ‘Schmück dich, o liebe Seele’ BWV 654 by Johann Sebastian Bach followed by the Chorvereinigung Hochdorf with  ‘Herzekrank’ composed by Stefan Kalmer and ‘Im Grünen’ by Felix Mendelsohn Bartholdy.

The ladies of the Hochdorf choir gave a lively performance wearing evening costumes and their typical orange chiffon shawls.

Stephanie Dauer delighted us with her Prelude from Suite in G-major BWV 1007 composed by Johann Sebastian Bach. The deep tone of the cello filled the room ranging from deep bass to the higher tones played with feeling by Stephanie.

We men from the MGV Kappel sang ‘Ich bete an die Macht der Liebe’ composed by Dimitri Bortniansky

And arranged by Heinrich Poos, ‚So nimmt denn meine Hände’ composed by Friedrich Silcher, with arrangement by Johannes Söllner, a young guy who likes to keep his head bald and who has what er Germans call ‘Pfiff.’ He also has a wonderful sense of humour.

Christian Kohler did an improvisation on ‘So nimm denn meine Hände’ which means: so take my hands then.

The Chorvereinigung Hochdorf sang Uti var hage composed by Hugo Alfven, Sommerpsalm by Waldemar Ahlen and  the German version of ‚Irish Blessing’ James E. Moore. Wonderful renderings. Christian Kohler did his own interpretation of ‘Heaven is a Wonderful Place’ which was actually meant as a musical premonition for the vocalists.

The MGV Kappel sang their pepped-op version of ‘Heaven is a Wonderful Place’ arrangement by Wolfgang Koperski. Then came the German version of The Legend of Babylon (Farian/Dowe/Reyam/Mc Naughton) arrangement by Peter Flammen.

The finale was the Irish Blessing (Irischer Segenswünsch) a traditional song sung together by the Chorveinigung Hochdorf & MGV Kappel ‚Liederkranz’ and arrangement by Felix Rosskopp, the former conductor of MGV Kappel who now works in Offenburg.

The MGV ‘Liederkranz’ will soon be presenting a programme for ‘young and old’ and want to do a musical together with the voices of the men’s and children’s choir. I think bringing young and elderly people together is a wonderful idea, not only during the musical in the not-too-distant-future but also as a resource for the existing men’s choir. It is hoped that the parents of the young singers will also take interest in the activities of the MGV Kappel and function as active members n the verein or as well-wishers, supporters and passive members.

A thunderous applause followed and it was a good feeling, a feeling of having touched the hearts of the people of Kappel, Littenweiler, Buchenbach, Kirchzarten and the whole Dreisam Valley.

Songs (Lieder as we say in German), have been written by most German poets and there are many folk songs or Volkslieder since the 16th century onwards, with the difference that the lyricists are unknown. A special form is the musical Lied of the 19th and early 20 century. It was Mozart who wrote the first examples. In addition to many individual songs, Beethoven composed the first song-cycle, Liederzyklus, with the title: An die ferne Geliebte. Songs for the distant lover. However, it was Schubert who used melody, modulation and accompaniment to draw out the full meaning of poems. Schubert wrote more than 600 Lieder and two song-cycles: Die schöne Müllerin and Die Winterreise.

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