18 November, 2014


Stand vom Montag

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GTEV Edelweiss Participated in Gaufest

Nine Edelweiss members entered the Schuhplattler competition. From left: Rick Michels (played accordion for all couples), Anita Knoll, Janet Seefried, Renee, Andrea, and Annette Edelhauser; (front) Andy Seefried, Paul Schwalbe, Kevin Walker, Roger Kraft

Sandusky - Over forty members of GTEV Edelweiss Detroit joined 1600 other Trachtler from the US, Canada, and Germany for a four-day celebration of music, song, dance, and Tracht. Edelweiss is one of nearly eighty clubs that belong to the umbrella organization Gauverband Nordamerika. The organization’s mission is to preserve and perpetuate the culture of Bavaria and Tirol.

Every two years, members travel from all corners of North America and Bavaria to share their love of their traditions at the “Gaufest.” Participants dressed in traditional Tracht (ethnic clothing) and took part in workshops about diverse subjects such as the proper way to style hair, play wooden spoons, sing and play Volksmusik, and even play the card game Schafkopf. The Gaufest consisted of a banquet, competition and exhibition dancing, parade of flags, Heimatabend, and church mass.

The church service, with 700 people in beautiful traditional garb and 70 flags on either side of the altar, was a moving experience. About 100 singers and musicians from throughout the Gauverband performed at the mass on Saturday afternoon before the banquet. All the songs were sung in German; the music was played on zithers, Hackbrett (hammered dulcimer), and woodwind and brass instruments. Edelweiss member Richard Michels directed the music in his position as Gaumusikwart of the Gauverband, and numerous Edelweiss members were among the musical group.

The Heimatabend, held on Friday evening, was also under Rick’s direction. For over an hour, the audience was treated to musical and vocal talents of clubs’ member, including our own, who performed traditional music of Bavaria and Tirol. The rest of the evening was devoted to folk dancing, with authentic Volksmusik played alternately by Edelweiss’s Siasswasser Tanzlmusik and an ensemble from the Volkstanzgruppe Enzian of Newark, Delaware. The many visitors on hand from Bavaria said that the evening was equal to those they sponsor: high praise indeed.

Another high point of the weekend was the dance competitions. One couple at a time, 140 couples total, danced a Schuhplattler dance, and judges evaluated their dancing skills. The competition is called Einzelpreisplatteln and participants are divided into eight age groups, from six years old and up. Edelweiss Detroit had nine competitors and did well. Andrea Edelhauser with Kevin Walker and Renee Edelhauser with Paul Schwalbe were in the 16-34 age group with a total of 65 couples. Their finish in the top fifteen among such tough competition was outstanding. In the 35-49 age group, Anita Knoll and her partner from BHTV Golden Gate San Francisco placed 4th out of 17 couples. In the 50-59 age group, Annette Edelhauser and Roger Kraft placed 4th out of 11. Finally, Andy and Janet Seefried placed 6th in the 60-plus category. All the couples practiced hard for the half year leading up to the competition. Paul, Renee, Annette, and Janet were first-time participants in competition. We’re proud of all of our dancers.

The other competition was Gruppenpreisplatteln in which clubs compete with 4-6 couples. Of the 14 clubs competing, STV Bavaria Cleveland, took first place. Throughout the weekend, clubs also performed exhibition dances, either Schuhplattler, folk dances, or figure dances. Edelweiss presented the “Sterntanz.”

A Gaufest is held every two years in a different location. This year’s Gaufest in June took place at the Kalahari Resort in Sandusky, Ohio, hosted by STV Bavaria Cleveland. STV Bavaria planned a well-organized Gaufest with plenty of fun for all those attending. The 2015 Gaufest will be hosted by SVEV D’Oberlandler in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

This Gaufest was the 24th since the Gauverband was founded in 1966. It has been held in Florida, California, Colorado, the Midwest, the East Coast, and even in Detroit in 1969. Gauverband member clubs are family oriented, so those attending the Gaufest ranged from babies to great-grandparents . The Gaufest was a great place to visit with our many friends, make music, and dance into the late hours. Our love of Bavarian traditions has grown over the years, and we are proud to be Edelweiss members and to be partners with the other Trachtenvereine of Gauverband Nordamerika.

Treu dem guten alten Brauch,

Karin Dean-Kraft



Edelweiss performed the “Sterntanz”



Last modified on:08/25/2014

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