Text and photos: Uwe Gernert - thanks, Uwe!
Swiss festival at its 20th anniversary - Internationales Drehorgelfestival Thun - 15th/16th July 2017
The 20th International Organ Festival at Thun, Switzerland, took place during the weekend of 15 and 16 July 2017. The motto of the festival was "Wir jubilieren" and for the members of the association this jubilee started with the inscription to the festival on Friday. As usual the organs could be stored in the townhall´s basement "on owners' own risk". Friday at 16:00 h the annual gathering decided to leave everything as it was, concerning the board (organisation committee, "OK") and its functions. Afterwards all members were invited to a boat trip on the lake of Thun after that AGM. One of the rare Swiss Shanty Music Choirs (https://www.shanty-chor.ch/) had a show on the boat while we were travelling on the lake of Thun for a 3-hour-trip. Since weather conditions were more than invitating we had a great trip with an excellent dinner, a very fine and a humorous speech from a member of the town council, Mr. Peter Siegenthaler, who is responsible for town safety and social matters and this made a good beginning for all the members. The dinner was offered to all members by the festival sponsors.
Saturday morning saw all of the participants with happy faces since the weather was fine and no rain was to be expected. As usual the participants were asked to split up into groups and organize themselves at the places the groups decided to go to for grinding.
Text and photos: Uwe Gernert
From Friday, 30th June to Sunday, 2nd July the 38. International Drehorgelfest Berlin took place in the capital of Germany. Thanks to the "Internationale Drehorgelfreunde Berlin" and especially to Christa Hohnhäuser ("Jubel-Jette") for the perfect organisation of this paramount event of the German "Barrel-Organ-Year"!
The programme this year differed a little bit from the years before, because Axel Stüber, the last remaining builder of original Berlin street organs in the hometown of the street organ tradition, celebrated his 40th anniversary of the founding of his business. So on Friday from 11:00 h the stage was open to all organ players who were available from that time. The celebration of Axel´s jubilee was ended shortly before the players had to break up for the next event.
Since his anniversary was reason enough for Axel to invite the organ players on Saturday for lunch, the well-known "get-together" in the Berlin Zoo´s restaurant was on Friday evening after the sign-in. For that reason the opening of the festival by the mayor of Berlin-Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf was not on Breitscheidplatz in front of Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church but in the Zoo´s restaurant. That Friday in Germany was characterized by a historical decision of German´s parliament: the complete equality of same-sex partnerships is reality in Germany from that Friday on. Since the mayor Reinhard Naumann lives in legal partnership with his friend, the laudatio was not only organ-related and a lot of the auditory had a ball for that decision.
As all of you will know, Breitscheidplatz was the place of a terrorism attack before Christmas. Thilo-Harry Wollenschlaeger and his team as the long-term organisator of the podium and the beer and wine stands on place did the best to secure the surroundings and we all hope he will do that in future. It´s not self-evident someone´s doing the things as usual after an attack like that standing for the additional costs.
The grand parade on Saturday morning when the Kurfürstendamm is reserved for all kinds of barrel organs was prepared from 10:00 h in the morning, when the participants started their walk from Breitscheidplatz to the gathering point for the defile at Bleibtreustreet. Since this year's festival saw more than 180 participants (and some 170 organs of all proveniences) the way forth over the Ku'damm was a party for itself - the way back was a public attraction as usual. The defile was held from 11:00 h to 12:00 h and was headed traditionally by a horse coach where Reinhard Naumann and Margot Wolf, the eldest playing 'organ grinderess' in her 102nd year, found their way to participate. Margot is still with us and I can´t imagine a festival without her beeing part of it - as long as I can tell Margot again invited the smallest grinderess, Barbara Bürgler from Switzerland to share her using the coach.
Drehorgelfestival Berlin 2017
Text and photos: Uwe Gernert
Like every year (the participation of barrel organs at the festival goes back for 23 years and Bruno didn´t tell me how long he is in charge for the festival), Bruno Leoni invited some twenty organ players to the LUGA festival. This fair/trade fair is held annually and as a tradition of the fair the last Saturday is the day of the barrel organ. Bruno invited 20 players of which 19 were on site. Unfortunately weather conditions weren´t very good: the organs had to be unloaded during heavy rain, but from the beginning of the show at 10:00 h up to 15:00 h the weather cleared up and the organs could be presented to the public in open with great resonance. As usually on those occasions in Switzerland the organ players were split up into groups moving around over the whole area to give the public the chance to listen to different kind of organ styles and music at one place.
The players usually meet after their daily work at 16:00 h at the festivals beer tent ("Dorfplatz-Beizli") for the "z`vieri" but due to weather conditions this year the meeting of the players began a little bit earlier. Esther, the landlady of the Dorfplatz-tent was kind enough to invite all of the players before 16:00 h and Hans Ueli Lehmann and Markus Bölsterli (http://www.oergelimaa.ch/) played some pieces for barrel organ synchronously (Famous: "Die Post im Walde" http://www.oergelimaa.ch/var/m_1/16/168/24301/993800-20%20Post%20im%20Walde.mid?download - click "open" to listen) for the whole public in the tent.
Since my partner and I played beside the "Dorfplatz" all day through we were also invited to play some of our tunes in the tent. In spite of the weather conditions we had a lot of fun and if you´ll be in the area at the time of LUGA being held, drop by - beside the rest of the show there are a lot of interesting organs and players waiting for you.
- Category: News
For decades, the Teugels brothers were important figures in the world of dance organs. Together with his brother Georges (1925-2008) and their wives, they entertained thousands of people with their dance organs.
We extend our sincere condolences to the family. May Marcel rest in peace.
Text: Uwe Gernert / Photos: Bruno Leoni
My friend Bruno Leoni is responsible for organizing the organs presented on that festival for 28 years now. The participants are invited personally. hela is a mixture of traditional fair, volksfest of the local assocations and trade fair with regional exhibitors. The old town of Laufenburg is blocked for traffic throughout the festival and a pedestrians paradise. Traditionally on the market on Sunday there will be shown barrel-organs throughout the old town-center. Bruno invited around 35 organplayers of which 33 where present. After a good brunch the players were divided into groups of 3 or 4 organs and were sent out to their places. I already told You about that concept on other Swiss occasions: it gives wide room to talk to people interested in the organs and for the public it´s great to have the chance to listen to more than one organ at a certain place. The grinders did their best to entertain the public even if the weather conditions were not as good as expected. The shown organs reached from small American reed organs up to a late Raffin-organ built in 2015. Peter Bürgisser and Cyril Schulthess were invited to accompany the holy mass at the townchurch. Just in time for the planned presentation of all organs on the marketplace it began to rain heavily at 16:00 h. Sadly this presentation had to be cancelled but we hope for the next years event to present the organs to the public again. The usual get-together was held afterwards in a restaurant on place.