Sunday, March 22, 2015

Anniversary Celebration

On Saturday, members from Beethoven Maennerchor, Damenchor and the band gathered to celebrate the past, present and future of the club, which turns 148 years old this year.

Beethoven Maennerchor president Claus Heide, and Damenchor president Kay Locker, offered remarks about the traditions and storied past of Beethoven. In addition to the people who've made Beethoven a second home for decades, they told audience members that the club will only survive with new members who vow to continue putting effort and work into the place.

The Maennerchor, Damenchor and band all performed, with each group leader recalling their respective organization's age. The band recognized its members for their involvement from five years to 35! The Damenchor also recognized its members, starting with five years. The Maennerchor only offers recognition at 25 and 50 years. We have one Maennerchor member who actually received both of those awards. Rudy Biedermann, who sings first bass in the choir, has been a part of Beethoven since the late 1940s!

Following the performances, everyone gathered in the club and Damenchor room to eat cake, drink punch or their favorite German beverage, and enjoy the fellowship of one another.

If you would like to join any of the programs at Beethoven Maennerchor, we welcome you and would be excited for you to become a member of the family! Applications can be found on the program's page. For membership in the Maennerchor or Damenchor, please fill out the form and return it to the club room in person. We also invite you to volunteer your time and talents preparing and serving food, working in the parking lot, helping with the gate or ticket booths, or any other aspect of the club. Contact us and we'll put you in touch with the right person!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Fun in the Sun: Beethoven's March 14 Work Party

Larry Morales paints tables in the Garden on March 14, 2015
Beethoven members (and non-members alike!) met on Saturday, March 14 for the second work party of the year.

It's an important time at Beethoven Maennerchor as the club prepares for a few busy months, including one of the most important times of the year: Fiesta!

One of the ongoing tasks is to sand and paint the tables and benches in the Garden. They spend the year outside in all of the elements and to preserve the comfort of our guests, they must be sanded in order to prevent splintering. The tables aren't so much of a concern for splinters because they are covered during events. But the benches definitely need work. Maintenance and grounds committee chairman Walter Wilson got crew members like Maennerchor director David Wilson and volunteer Eric Stuart to sand as folks like Larry Morales spent time painting.

Meantime, Mike Gable raked up leaves that collect year-round along the perimeter of the fence. That's a huge task and clearing the leaves away makes a big difference in the appearance of the club. Bar committee chairman Melton Schultz (Coach) brought the weed killer to keep the overgrowth at bay. 

Board vice president Ken Weber and his crew made huge strides in getting the trees trimmed over at the parking lot. As Beethoven gets ready for the coming months, the parking lot is put to good use. Future plans for the parking area include adding base to the lot. Work could begin in just a few weeks on it, so stay tuned for announcements.

Back inside the Garden, Cindy Gable provided expertise with plants in making the rounds at the base of the trees look their best.

All in all, the work party was a success and plenty of tasks got done. But there is still more to do! We hope to see you at a future work party at Beethoven Maennerchor!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Work Party, Doughnuts, Friends

Admittedly, it is our goal to make this doughnut as LARGE as possible so as to entice you down to Beethoven Maennerchor on Saturday, March 14 at 9 am. If this doughnut doesn't do the trick, just think: breakfast tacos!

That's right! Our own Walt Wilson, chairman of the maintenance and grounds committee, is wants to entice you with delicious doughnuts and a some breakfast tacos so you come down to Beethoven to do a tiny bit of work. Chores include sealing the tables for everyone's comfort, raking and getting ready for Fiesta.

You'll be done in no time and you'll work off that doughnut, no problem. Please join us for what is sure to be a grand time. Your stomach will thank you, your wife will thank you (you know, for getting out of the house for a while), and your buddies at Beethoven Maennerchor will thank you.

Thank you. See, wasn't that nice?

WHAT: Beethoven Work Party
WHERE: Beethoven Maennerchor, 422 Pereida
WHEN: Saturday, March 14 9 am til noon or so
WHO: You! All of us!
WHY: The place doesn't keep itself in shape
HOW: We'll explain when you get there. See you soon!

Monday, March 9, 2015

8 Ball Aitken Is His Name, Playing Music Is His Game

He's from the land down under, but 8 Ball Aitken is making his rounds in the states and spreading his music to the masses. He did just that when he took the stage at Beethoven Maennerchor for First Friday. He's got a new album called The New Normal.

8 Ball is a one man band, using a repertoire of instruments, which include a tambourine he plays with his foot. And yes, he's even got a kazoo. 

8 Ball will be playing SXSW, as well as the major Texas markets. Although he's a pretty quiet guy off stage, his style on stage is anything but. Playing over 200 gigs a year has given him a lot of practice at becoming the stage musician he is today. He wants to be memorable.

He does have the number one album in Australia. Listen to our interview with 8 Ball to hear how his mom took the news. Learn more about 8 Ball at his website,

Beethoven is Brian Whelan's Biggest Venue Yet As a Solo Artist

Brian Whelan's been out on the open road as a musician before. But this time it's different. He's on his own.

The singer-songwriter is of Dwight Yoakum fame, and playing in the band, he got used to the good life. He'd show up when he was told and play the music that was familiar. 

He's still enjoying the good life. Now, it's just.... different. Going solo has its ups and its downs. From booking shows to getting himself to the gig, now he's calling the shots.

We're not kidding when we say Whelan pulled off a show at one of his biggest venues as a solo artist thus far this past First Friday when he rolled up to Beethoven Maennerchor.

He talked to us about his music, his past and where he's headed in his career. Whelan says he's just getting started and he hopes you will tag along with him for the ride. Find out more about Whelan at

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Stiftungsfest: Celebrating Our Roots

Beethoven Maennerchor celebrates a variety of events every year, and each has its own German word that describes the occasion. But if your first language isn't German, things can get a little confusing.

Let me give you an example from a recent event. We just celebrated Fasching, hosted by the Beethoven Damenchor, and it's sort of the German Mardi Gras where participants wear beads, dress up in costume and let it all hang out.

Stiftungsfest is another one of those core German festivities. It's a time when Beethoven opens its doors to pay homage to the founders of the organization. This year, Beethoven will celebrate this founder's event on March 21.

So what does it mean? Why is it it important?

For some insight, we turned to Beethoven Maennerchor's Vice President, Ken Weber. He uses a word that we should explain now: Gemutlichkeit. It is used to describe a state of warmth and friendliness, coziness, peace of mind, belonging, and social acceptance.

Q: Imagine the founders of Beethoven walked through the doors. When they
see the club room and go inside the rehearsal hall, do you think they'd be
impressed with what they would see? Is Beethoven living out their original

Ken Weber: First, I believe our founders entering the club would see a lot of historic perspectives from Maennerchor photos, to the Sangerfest awards, to the many artifacts from past years to make this a feeling of such past in this club, but most importantly the "Gemutlichkeit" feel of the club members and guests just enjoying each other's company and time to share this proud german hertitage.  In the rehearsal hall we are surrounded by our namesake - Beethoven - in images and statues. But most important is the heritage and the continuing joy of the German music in the weekly rehearsal setting (both in the Maennerchor and Damenchor rehearsal halls).

Q: Why should we celebrate the founders and founding of a club like ours?

Weber: It is the German heritage and celebration of the German contributions in our South Texas communities that bring us together. The culture and music and the German influence of our area and community [have continued to] develop through the years.

Q: What's important or special about Beethoven to you?

Weber: Working together and the Gemutlichkeit we bring to our annual community celebrations, starting with Fiesta at the Beethoven to the Maifest and Gartenfest, leading up to the traditional celebration of the Oktborfest weekends. We start with year by celebrating ourselves and recognizing members for their time and efforts at the Beethoven through Stiftungsfest.

Q: What can a visitor expect when they celebrate Stiftungsfest at Beethoven in terms of atmosphere, entertainment, and celebration?

Weber: A visitor would experience the same Gemutlichkeit that the Beethoven is noted for, through song, sharing, recognizing longevity, celebrating a very rich past and future of our German heritage.

Ken mentioned a few of the other celebrations at Beethoven, which is a perfect opportunity to tell you when they will be held. Stay tuned to this site for more information on the events and the meaning behind them.

Fiesta: April 22-24
Maifest: (if you were thinking May, you'd be correct!) It's May 15.
Gartenfest: begins June 19, and takes place on the third Fridays of each month until September.
Oktoberfest: October 2-3, 9-10


Saturday, February 28, 2015

Cold Weather Doesn't Stop First Work Party of the Year

Ryan Loyd, Ken Weber, Walter Wilson, James McCann, and Byron Simpson
(not pictured) at the first work party of the year.
Forget the sunshine. Beethoven members work even when it's cold and miserable out. Such was the case for the first work party of the year. As the drizzle remained steady and temperatures barely broke into the 40s, several members met to tidy the workshop.

Throughout the year, work parties are held to keep the grounds of the Beethoven in tip-top shape so that thousands of people who visit for First Fridays, Garten Concerts and Fiesta can enjoy a beautiful and safe conditions at Beethoven's garden and hall.

"We're cleaning up this place to give everybody a nice experience," said Walter Wilson, pictured right. He's one of two new member to the Board of Directors and chairman of the maintenance and grounds committee.  Currently, he's assessing the projects that need to be completed but feels good about the first work day.

"I think we got a lot done. We got things organized," Wilson said. "We're ready to hit the ground on the next work party. We're going to get the gutters cleaned, we're going to get the trees trimmed. We're going to get the pavement swept and we're going to be ready for all the spring events." 

Among the other projects planned for the future are patching the heating and cooling ducts, sealing the picnic tables, insulating the shed and maintaining the parking lot.

The facilities, Wilson said, are second to none in terms of their condition. But 2015 is here and it's time to get started to keep the grounds in good condition.

"We're laying the groundwork for a great summer and spring at Beethoven,"said Wilson.