Sterling Heights, MI - After months of preparation by
the planning committee chaired by current Jugendgruppe Leiterin Karin
Schwalbe, the day of celebration finally arrived. The Carpathia Hall in
Sterling Heights was filled to capacity on Saturday, May 5, 2012, as nearly
500 former Jugendgruppe members, families, and friends, gathered to
commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Carpathia Jugendgruppe.
The main hall was decorated by former Jugendgruppe members Betty Hammer, Sue
Brandelik and Anton Ochss with themed tables depicting some of the many
events the Jugendgruppe hosted over the years, including Christmas, Hawaiian
Abend, Kirchweih, and Königsball. Each table also included a souvenir glass
for each guest and several copies of a beautiful program book compiled by
Ingrid Grothloh that was filled with greetings from well wishers from far
and near, as well as photos of the Jugendgruppe throughout the years.
Across from the main hall, tables in the GACC room were covered with dozens
of scrapbooks, photo albums, a DVD of photos and video clips compiled by
Alex Schwalbe, and other Jugengruppe artifacts.
After a cocktail hour that allowed guests to mingle and reminisce with old
friends, Samantha Sesko, current Jugengruppe Königin, opened the evening by
saying grace. Guests then dined on a dinner buffet prepared by the evening’s
head cook, Randy Mathy, and his team. The delicious dinner consisted of beef
Rouladen, chicken Schnitzel, homemade red cabbage and Spätzle. As guests
enjoyed coffee and cake, the DVD of old and new photos and video clips of
the Jugendgruppe across the years was projected on a screen above the stage.
The program for the evening started with a few words from Carpathia
President, John Huth Jr., followed by a tribute to Carpathia Jugendgruppe
founder Adam Medel by Monique Bates and Karen Venton, who sang Edelweiss in
both German and English. Other Jugendgruppe leaders throughout the years,
including Ehrenpräsident Franz Pelvay, who greeted guests with a few words,
were then recognized. Following the tribute and recognition, guests stood
for a moment of silence to remember former Jugendgruppe members who had
already passed away.
At this point, all former Jugendgruppe royalty from the past 50 years were
asked to gather in the outside hallway. After a short time, and a great deal
of chaos behind the scenes as everyone tried to find their places, the dance
floor quickly filled to capacity as the former kings, queen, princes, and
princesses marched out into the main hall in the order of the year they
represented Carpathia as Jugengruppe royalty.
Following the procession, the floor was opened up to everyone for dancing.
Throughout the evening, guests were entertained by bands made up of former
Jugengruppe members who volunteered their talents for the milestone event.
Hansi Steiner’s band, Bis Morgen, started out the evening. The Stampfer
Band, made up of John, Mike, Robert, and Brian Stampfer, and Irene (Stampfer)
Talan, played the second set. Later on, everyone was treated to a couple of
songs by 11-year old Kindergruppe member Evan Schleis on drums, accompanied
by proud dad George Schleis and former Jugendgruppe Leiter Rob Schwalbe. The
final set of the evening was played by brothers Tony and Wolf Bering and
their band The Tradewinds.
During the first band intermission, guests were treated to a wonderful
performance by the current Jugendgruppe. The girls modeled the various
Dirndls, costumes, and Trachts worn by the Jugendgruppe across the years and
the group then performed an exciting medley of dances that they had learned
over the past four years, including Links a Madl, Boom Polka (accompanied by
Rob Schwalbe on the drum), Box Polka, Kaiserwalzer, Odenwalder Schnicker,
Hut Tanz, Banater, Zillertaler Ländler, Lippizaner, Handel’s Wassermusik,
Drah di’rum, and the Valtotanz. The medley was followed by two new dances -
Etwas Frisches and Wenn Denn Jetzt - and the song Schwarzbraun ist die
Hazelnuss accompanied by Michael Bering on guitar.
Later in the evening, Kipfel baked by the Frauengruppe were available for
purchase at the kitchen window, and during the second
band intermission, guests were entertained by two dances performed by the
Carpathia Kulturgruppe. The entire evening seemed to go by very quickly, and
as the night drew to a close, those who were not ready to head home headed
to the Member’s Bar for additional celebrating!
A great deal of planning went into this event and required lots of help. In
addition to activities and members mentioned above, the following members
also assisted with the event: Karen Beattie (reservations), George Schleis
(musicians), Carsten Grotloh (Internet advertising), Anton Ochss (finance),
Sue Brandelik & Betty Hammer (costumes and Trachts), Karen Venton (photos &
music), and Linda Schwager and Anna Marie Tittjung (Spätzle!).
The 50th Anniversary celebration of the Jugengruppe was a wonderfully
successful event that brought together former members - including some from
other states - who had not been to the club in years. Many stated - both
during and after the event - that gatherings like this should happen
regularly (and definitely more than every 50 years)!
Linda Gerhardt, Ph.D.
Carpathia Club Press