(Traditional Folk Evening)
A Trachtengruppe Event
January 18, 19, 22 and 25, 2003
(photos follow text)
Every year our trachten group has an event to raise money, alternating each year between a raclette dinner evening (traditional cheese dish) and the 'theater'. This year was time for the theater evening - called a Heimatabend. (Heimat is German for homeland and Abend means evening.) The Heimatabend is held in the theater on the second floor of the Bären restaurant in our village. The theater holds about 200 people, and was completely full for two of the four performances.
The evenings started with an hour of dancing, done by our group and the children's group, and a short music performance with Schwizerörgili (Swiss accordions) and an upright bass. The play that followed was called "Uf de Gämselialp" (On the Little Chamois Mountain Pastures) and was a comedy performed by eight people from our village, four of whom are from our Trachtengruppe.
When the play ended, tables were brought in and all of the chairs were quickly rearranged to allow space for a dance floor. People danced, ate snacks and drank until one or two in the morning.
Throughout the evening, we sold 'Tombola' - or little raffle tickets - and people could win prizes like plants, baked goods, sausages and hand-knitted socks.
After the two Saturday evening performances, we also had a bar open in the cellar of the old farm house across form the Bären. Herbert and I helped make the bar with our friend Fredu and worked it with him the second Saturday. The bar stayed open until the last person left, which was 6:30am the first Saturday and 5:00am on the second Saturday. As an American, it's really interesting to me to think that we can create a bar out of a space that looks like an old cave, sell alcoholic drinks of our choice and stay open as long as we want. And it was crowded! We really had a lot of fun and I was grateful to everyone who put up with my accent and my funny way of saying mit ees? (with ice?)
The pictures below should give you a good idea of the dancing and of the bar. I apologize that we didn't get any of photos of the play, but I'm hoping to get some from friends and will post them then.
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1: An American in a Swiss Tracht. I can't afford to buy one of my own, so most of this outfit was borrowed from Laurence and the mother of one of her friends. However, the brooch was a gift from Herbert's mom, the shoes are mine and the buckle on the shoes were a gift from Herbert.
2: The stage on the evening of the final practice. Lorella is working with the children's group.
|3: Backstage before one of the performances. Lorella is giving final instructions while Rolf and one of the parents look on.|
4: Dancers and cast members backstage.
That's my friend Laurence with her thumb on her nose. Her sense of humor
helped get me through most of my stage fright.
|5: The dancers. Conny, the women in the middle of the front and the president of our Trachtengruppe, is introducing the evening to the audience.||6: The children dancing. Lorella and Heidi lead this group.|
|7: Andreas presenting the dances. Before each dance, Andreas explained the dance to the audience. He is the boyfriend of Laurence and together they lead our dance group. He is also my dance partner.||8: The 'Teenies'. Every week, 45 minutes before the our group meets for dance practice, some of us meet and dance with the teenagers. But there are only two teenagers left and so for the Heimatabend, we called ourselves the 7:30 group.||
9: The s'Bölche Gschpängscht with the Teenies. There is a tunnel in Switzerland that is rumored to have a female ghost who hitchhikes at the beginning of the tunnel and disappears from the car before the other end of the tunnel. This dance is about that tunnel and the ghost.
|10: The ghost shows up. It was our last night and we had just started the 'tunnel' dance. The people back stage started with a chorus of spooky ooooooooh's and then all the dancers started laughing. A ghost in a white cloth was making his way across the back of the stage. You can see behind me and Andreas.||11: The ghost exposed. I was taking photos before the evening started and I captured Rolf with this photo. Little did I know, he was practicing his role as the ghost.||12: Petticoats anyone? After dancing two dances on the first evening, Laurence's mother Christiane came up to me backstage, lifted my skirt and asked me where my hosen were. Apparently, when I was given my 'tracht', it was not complete and no one had told me that I should be wearing these petticoat-type of 'hosen'. At that point, I understood why the young men in the front row were smirking when they looked at me. By the next performance, I had borrowed a pair of hosen from Christiane, as you can see in the photo. (I'm the dancer on the left.)|
|13: The Sachade. This is one of the dances we did with the teenies and one of my favorite dances.||14: The Hobbysenn. A difficult dance that, luckily, I didn't have to dance.||15: The Julia. I didn't dance this one either, but I like dancing it. It's a dance about a wedding, and I always called it the 'going to church' dance.|
|16: The Rabiosa Schottisch. This dance is also called the Llama goes to Lima. It's a really fun and fast dance and the one I always request whenever we're given a choice of which dance we want everyone to do.||17: Having fun. We're still doing the 'llama' dance and you can see that I'm not the only one that has fun dancing it.||18: The Band. The band playing typical Swiss folk music.|
|19: Presentation to Lorella and Heidi. Conny presented Lorella and Heidi with flowers to thank them for the work they do with the children.||20: Presentation to Laurence and Andreas. Conny also presented Laurence and Andreas with flowers to thank them for their work with the regular group and she wished them well as they prepare to move to Australia for two years. :-(||21: Presentation to Conny. Andreas and Laurence presented Conny with flowers to thank her for all of the work that goes in to being the president of our group. Conny seemed genuinely surprised at this presentation that wasn't part of the plan.|
|22: The Cave. The old cellar of the farm house before Herbert, Fredu and I did our best to turn it into a bar.||23: The Bar. Just as we finished setting up the bar, Alice stopped by to check it out. She had just finished helping set up the theater across the street.||24: The Bartenders. The first night of the bar, Susie and Martin, friends of Fredu's took care of the bar. The second Saturday, it was me and these two guys - Herbert and Fredu.|
|25: The Crowd. The bar stayed very busy for us all evening (and until early morning.) That's me on the left behind the bar, standing next to one of our friends from the village, Felix.||26: Happy Customers. One group who didn't mind having their photo taken.||27: Herbert and Lorella. Lorella is still in her tracht and happy, as she always is. Herbert also looks happy and I was grateful to him for all of his help and support of my dancing group.|