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Gottscheer Relief Association, New York

Deutsch Gottscheer Gesangverein

Description:  Non-profit Ladies Choir (Damen Chor) whose mission is to preserve Gottscheer and German folk songs and traditions, in an effort to pass our heritage on to future generations.

 

History:  The Deutsch Gottscheer Gesangverein was founded in Ridgewood, New York on February 3, 1937.  The first President was Elsa Tscherne and the first Music Director was Joseph Hellinghausen.


In 1937, the choir was awarded first prize in the choral competition among the choruses of the Vereinigten Sänger (United Singers) of Brooklyn.  The singers were also the recipients of the first prize in the competition in the following years.  The choir had fifty members at the time.


World War 2 interrupted the successful start of the young choir.  As with all Gottscheer and German groups, the organization was forced to fight for its survival.  Following the war, the members of the choir actively supported the Gottscheer relief efforts in assisting the Gottscheers in Europe who had lost their homeland.  The choir held many concerts for the benefit of the relief efforts.


The large influx of immigrants during the fifties spurred the growth of the choir by providing many new members. Following the death of Joseph Hellinghausen in 1963, Peter Freund was appointed musical director of the choir.  He began joint programs with the Gottscheer Männerchor.  This association of the two choirs proved to be mutually beneficial and successful and resulted in the recording of their first record album of Gottscheer songs in 1967.


Following the death of Peter Freund in 1979, Professor Leo Alfassy was appointed musical director.  A second record album was recorded in 1980.  In that year, a Gottscheer songbook featuring thirty-nine traditional folk songs was also published.


In the summer of 1985, the Gottscheer Damenchor and Gottscheer Männerchor traveled and performed in Germany and Austria.  The choirs also participated in the Gottscheer Treffens in North America and Canada

 

The Deutsch Gottscheer Gesangverein presently has 20 active members, and works closely together with the Gottscheer Männerchor. Weekly practices are held at the Gottscheer Klubhaus (Gottscheer Hall) which has been the headquarters for the Gottscheer Choirs since 1947.  Concerts are performed there twice each year - in April and November.  In addition, during their annual visit to Hawley, Pennsylvania, the choir holds a concert at Lukans Resort and sings at Sunday mass at the local church.  During Christmas holidays, the choir also sings in various churches in Ridgewood, including St. Patrick's Cathedral in 1989.


The Deutsch Gottscheer Gesangverein strives to preserve the Gottscheer and German folk songs and traditions, in an effort to pass our heritage on to future generations.

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St. Matthias Church, Ridgewood, NY, Jan. 4, 2004

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65th Anniversary, Fall Concert 2002

Officers:
 
President          Therese Kump
Vice President     Helma Erbacher
Financial Sec.     Traudi Stiene
Treasurer          Herta Eisenzopf
Recording Sec.     Elisabeth Schemitsch
Corresp. Sec.      Rosemarie Kikel


       Annual General Meeting & Dinner

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Frühlingskonzert  -  Spring Concert

& Dinner Dance

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Herbstkonzert - Fall Concert

& Dinner Dance

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For tickets please contact

Helma Erbacher: 516-484-2252

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For additional information, call

GOTTSCHEER HALL  (718) 366-3030

657 Fairview Avenue
Ridgewood, New York 11385
tel: 718-366-3030