Friday, August 14, 2015

National Travel Program Highlights Beethoven Maennerchor in Upcoming Episode

Photo courtesy "Travelscope"
From Eastern European outings to discoveries across America, the travel program, Travelscope, features the most unique and interesting people and places.

Beethoven Maennerchor Garten during Fiesta 2015
So it's no surprise that host Joseph Rosendo and his producer-wife Julie, found their way to Beethoven Maennerchor during one of San Antonio's most colorful and celebrated time of year - Fiesta.

Travelscope and its crew of camera people featured the garten during its liveliest, capturing snippets of El Rey Feo, the “Ugly King," the Beethoven Maennerchor, and the cheerful throngs of party people.

Both of the traveling partners, Joseph and Julie, have been to Beethoven before, but never during Fiesta. Julie explained the show during a phone conversation from her California studio.

"The show talks about German heritage. It's a wonderful element to highlight," she said. 

Beethoven plays one part in the 26-minute long feature. The show will also take viewers to the satirically funny Fiesta Cornyation, the decorated Battle of Flowers Parade, the traditional NIOSA event, and King William Fair.  

It's not unusual a nationally syndicated program would visit San Antonio. The city is a cultural magnet for people all over the world. Though, San Antonio did have one more thing going for it: Julie Rosendo used to call the Alamo City home.

"I was the vice president of development for the local PBS station," she said. That's right. She worked for KLRN and coincidentally met her future husband on the job. "He came to San Antonio to cover a wine tasting event for a radio show he was doing," Julie said.

During that visit, Joseph gave Julie a DVD prototype of a travel show he'd dreamed of doing. That turned into Travelscope. "The rest, as they say, was history," she added.

During Beethoven's spotlight on the upcoming episode, Julie recalled one of the funnier moments. It took place with King Rey Feo, Jon Herrera, who joked that even Dos Equis tastes good in a German stein," Julie said. Beethoven, of course, is known for its variety of authentic German beers on tap.

Beethoven Maennerchor and Damenchor on stage during Fiesta
2015. Travelscope's crew is near the stage.
No show would be complete without a rendition of Ein Prosit, sung by Maennerchor dirigent (director) David Nelson, the Maennerchor and Damenchor, and the crowd.

Travelscope's Season 8 will begin in September. The earliest the feature on San Antonio's Fiesta and Beethoven Maennerchor will air is December. Air times will depend on local listings. It will run for many years to come, "literally thousands of times," Julie said.

Currently, the episode is in post-production, where audio and color will be fine-tuned. It'll also be available on DVD. More information is available on the Travelscope website for the San Antonio’s Fiesta - Olé! episode.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Jagerschnitzel, Oh How I Love Thee

Has there ever been a greater food than Jagerschnitzel? 

Not on your life; spelled in one word or two, it matters not!

It is a rare treat and a festive occasion for this breaded cutlet.

Come grab yours this First Friday - it'll hit the spot.

This small ode to Jagerschnitzel pales in comparison to the love that people share for this fine food. Food Committee leader Joe Moulder says it's a favorite of locals and tourists alike. "Our schnitzel has grown in popularity for two reasons: one because it's so big and a huge bargain at $8 a plate; and 2 because it's all homemade!"

Moulder says the dish is so big it has to be served on two plates!

Beethoven's Jagerschnitzel comes from several places, and each one is hand cut, pounded and "breaded with love," Moulder added. It is then cooked in peanut oil on a hot flat top grill.

Patrons to Beethoven Maennerchor have come to love it for it's comforting and delectable qualities. 

Preparation for this First Friday feature is already underway at Beethoven. "It is served with a brown mushroom and bacon gravy alongside hand shredded, homemade red cabbage, and German fried potatoes," Moulder said.

Asked why should someone try Jagerschnitzel: "One should simply try it based on all the compliments we have received from travelers and German nationals alike that claim 'ours is as good as what you get in Germany!'" Moulder exclaimed. 

We'll see you at First Friday for Weiner Schnitzel - only $8! San Antonio's own rebel rock band, Mike Ryan Coyotes, will also perform for you entertainment pleasure!

Monday, July 13, 2015

July Gartenfest Loaded With Fun

It'll be a fun, fun, fun fest at Beethoven Maennerchor's Gartenfest this month. On Friday, July 17, friends, neighbors, and members will come together to partake in food, entertainment and fun. This month's German fare includes brats, sauerkraut, potato salad, Rueben sandwiches and goulash. 

The celebration gets underway at 5 p.m. and lasts 'til midnight. At 5:30, Larry Williams will take the stage, followed by the Beethoven Damenchor at 6:30. The men will sing at 6:45, with an all-garten sing-along at 7:00. If you've never experienced a Beethoven sing-along, now's your chance!

at 7:15, Kelly Singers will take the stage, followed by the Boerne Village Band at 8 p.m. and the Beethoven Dance Band at 9:30. 

Volunteer opportunities are available for those who would like to participate in making the fun happen. Contact us for availabilities on the food line or ticket booth.

Beethoven Maennerchor is located at 422 Pereida Street, at Alamo Street, in the heart of San Antonio's historic King William District. Entry to the Gartenfest is a suggested $5 donation at the gate or $3 in advance. Tickets can be purchased in the Club Room.

Upcoming events at Beethoven
August 7 - First Friday
August 21 - Gartenfest
September 4 - First Friday
September 18 - Gartenfest
October 2, 3, 9, 10 - Octoberfest

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Beethoven Choirs Travel to Houston for Deutsch Texanischer Saengerbund

Members of the Beethoven Damenchor sing at the 69th annual Texas Saengerfest
Over the weekend, members from the Beethoven Maennerchor and Damenchor traveled to Houston to participate in the 69th Saengerfest of the Deutsch Texanischer Saengerbund. The statewide festival of German music included a delegation meeting and dinner dance, concluding on Sunday with choral performances by groups from Dallas, Houston, Austin, San Antonio and New Braunfels. Groups such as Chorgemeinschaft Texas, a traveling cohort, Maenner Massenchor, a men's mass choir, and Gemischter Massenchor, a mixed mass choir, took the stage with spirited pieces as well.

The event, hosted by the Houston Liederkranz, also celebrated the club's 90th anniversary. Houston Mayor Annise Parker offered welcoming remarks in the printed program to people attending the festival from across the state. She congratulated the Liederkranz. "[We] continue to recognize their German heritage by bringing music and culture to our community," she said.

Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany Houston, Ricarda Redeker, noted the clubs' sustaining qualities. "Thank you for keeping the spirit of German folk music and choir traditions alive," she said.

Sunday's program began with what has come to be a favorite among participants at the Saengerfest events, whether regional or at the state level. And that is the flag ceremony, a parade of each club's colors, starting with the oldest. And of course right here at home, Beethoven Maennerchor is the first with its founding in 1867.

And while this weekend paid tribute to the Houston Liederkranz, get ready for a big party with the club on Pereida. Beethoven will mark its 150th year in 2017! Stay tuned for information.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Das Ist Gemütlichkeit

It's that time of year - time to celebrate warm weather, friends and good cheer.

Luckily, there's one German word to describe the multitude of things that mean togetherness and warmth and friendships and happy spring days and people we love spending time with and so on and so on and so on.

Das ist Gemütlichkeit.

And as it happens, member George Seidel, a singer in the Maennerchor, has a poem to help many of us understand exactly what Gemütlichkeit means. His mother, Dolly Seidel, wrote it.

George was gracious enough to recite it.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Fiesta: Success!

Tobias Klingelhoefer and El Rey Feo, Jon Herrera, sing from Beethoven Maennerchor's song book during Fiesta week.
The four day 2015 Fiesta celebration and Saturday's King William Fair brought thousands of people through the gate at Beethoven Maennerchor. It proves once again the success and popularity of the organization, as well as its importance within the community.

"Beethoven Maennerchor is deeply embedded in San Antonio," said Beethoven president Claus Heide. " Every year, our volunteers and members spend countless hours preparing food, making sure the grounds are ready, tending to the parking lot, and welcoming people during the week. It's a tremendous undertaking that we are proud to be a part of."

Anyone who has ever been to Beethoven during Fiesta knows the food is incomparable. From brats to Reuben sandwiches, the food holds sentimental value and, well, it just tastes really good. Joe Moulder co-chairs the food committee and credited the volunteers for the club's momentum on the food line.

"You are the ones who made Fiesta at Beethoven possible," he told the volunteers. "Thank you. That's what keeps our club open and allows up to keep our prices very low."

Their responsibilities include hours of prep work, peeling, cutting, and boiling. Fiesta week is the second busiest for Beethoven every year. The busiest, of course, is Oktoberfest.

This week, "The People's King," El Rey Feo Jon Herrera, visited Beethoven. King Antonio himself made an appearance with his Royal Court. Beethoven also paid tribute to members of the Armed Services during Military Appreciation Night. And of course, Beethoven's own Maennerchor (men's choir), Damenchor (women's choir), and dance and concert bands entertained the crowds.

Just outside the gate and across the street, Beethoven offers parking for a nominal fee. During Fiesta, a spot runs $10. It increases to $20 during the King William Fair. One driver asked about the fee, hoping her money would go to a worthy cause.

"The cause is most worthy," said Ken Weber, Beethoven vice president. "The funds collected for parking are reserved for historic preservation and upkeep at Beethoven.. A project near to many members hearts is the restoration of the historic 9-pin bowling alley, located just off the Garten on the southern end of the property."

If there was any doubt that Fiesta was successful, a quick trip inside the clubroom would put the rumors to rest. Nearly all of the taps were tapped out following the event. Bar manager Jason Trevino is expecting his next delivery soon to make sure First Friday is equipped with the German beverages that members and visitors alike count on.

"Fiesta's done but now we're looking ahead," Heide said. "There's never a dull moment."

Friday, April 10, 2015

The Food Dudes: Joe Knows Food

It's quite impossible to arrive at Beethoven Maennerchor for any given occasion and not find Joe Moulder, Phillip LaMonica or David Foegelle prepping food for an event. Joe's the tall figure with a big smile and light colored hair walking around the kitchen or hurriedly stumbling to the outdoor food serving area with a giant pot of something boiling.

And the only conclusion one can come up with after reviewing this scenario is that these guys know food. But hidden beneath the surface is how Joe, who co-chairs the food committee, came to Beethoven.

"How it played out was probably about 15 years ago, we came down here for Fiesta with my sister," Joe said one evening as he sat at the bar. "My daughter, who was at the time nine years old, 10 years old, met David Nelson's daughter. His daughter was telling her all about the Kinderchor and how fun it was. I sat in here and was oblivious to everything. We got home and she said, 'I met this girl and they have this group that sings and I want to join.'"

Incidentally, they both forgot all about the conversation and about Kinderchor until about a year and a half later.

"So we came down here (to Beethoven), she went to practice, I immediately felt welcomed," Joe said. " She started getting involved in the Kinderchor and I got roped into volunteering on the food line."

Prodding came courtesy of member Gary Sheets. Joe began like everybody else, schlepping potato salad and sauerkraut. At that time there was food guru Fritz Loeschel who cooked at events. He liked to work the second shift, but a cook can only spend so much time on his feet before they've got to sit down.

"He said 'Hey, why don't you take over for me?'" Joe recalled. "I got baptized on the grill very quickly and never looked back. It became a situation where every event, second shift, I was cooking brats."

Soon, not only was he cooking -- he was changing things.

For one, he didn't care for how the Leberkäse was pre-cooked. (In German, Leberkäse literally means "liver cheese.") He started making them to order. He also began toasting the bread. Little changes here and there started making a big difference for revelers at Beethoven events.

Improvements on the food line and Joe's willingness to volunteer much of his time lead to the obvious question: why aren't you on the board of directors? Joe admits Herb Kriese was able to successfully nudge him to run. "I ran, got elected - that was a surprise - and now I can't get off!" Joe declared.

Joe Moulder, left, and Phillip LaMonica, serve food at UIW for the Irish festival.
The food committee is one of the busiest with events both inside and outside of the club. Volunteers prepare Maennerchor and Damenchor meals for Saengerfests; for the Wounded Warrior Family Support Center; at Joint Base San Antonio-Ft. Sam Houston's Oktoberfest; and just as recent as the Irish festival held at the University of the Incarnate Word. Co-chairman Phillip LaMonica said the prep work takes days but it makes a difference. "People come for the food," he said.

Years ago, Joe remembered, the food committee would cater weddings and private events. But they had spent all their time wrapped up working events. Nowadays, they still cook for private occasions, but only for members.

"I like to cook. I found my own little niche. I enjoy it," said Joe. "It's a lot of work. I don't know how many burns I've had on my hands and arms. To me it's been a very rewarding education. I've learned a lot about cooking for a lot of people." Like when Beethoven hosted the national Saengerfest several years ago, 700 people partook in Joe's famous schnitzel plates. The line circled around the garden. 

Joe's favorite food at Beethoven is shockingly simple.

"You just can't beat that plain old grilled cheese that we make. It's one of the best grilled cheese sandwiches around," he said.

Joe and his team go out of their way to make all the favorites enjoyed at Beethoven. Much of it is local, like the red brats and Leberkäse that come from Granzin's Meat Market in New Braunfels and the bread that's baked at the New World Bakery in Kyle. The white brats are shipped from Schaller and Weber in Long Island. The food guys pick up hundreds of pounds of sausage from the airport when it arrives.

Even after all the hours he spends at Beethoven, Joe still enjoys cooking at home. And, he said he volunteers his time cooking for SAMMinistries

"I get up on Tuesday and Thursday at 4 o'clock in the morning and make breakfast for kids at the SAMM shelter. It's not a pat on the back, it's just that I like to cook," he said. Joe flips pancakes and makes dozens of sack lunches for the children so they have a meal to eat at school.

It's Joe's passion and he believes it's literally in his blood to make his second home at Beethoven. "This place grows on you. I liken it to Cheers because you walk in and everybody knows your name," he said.

He would like to recruit new members to Beethoven to be in the food line. He's working on getting more responses from newbies who check "food" on their membership applications. 

"It's our club and if we want our club to be around, then we need to take care of it."