The Rapidian

Edelweiss Club of Grand Rapids to usher in Christmas with German heritage concert

The German cultural society Edelweiss Club of GR presents its annual choir concert hosted by St. Mary's Catholic Church.

/Courtesy of St. Mary's Catholic Church

Underwriting support from:

When and Where

St. Mary's

423 First Street NW

Sunday December 22

Begins 3:30 p.m. and lasts approximately 90 minutes.

Cathedral of St. Andrew

301 Sheldon Blvd SE

December 23

7 p.m.

Alpentraum performing for Oktoberfest

Alpentraum performing for Oktoberfest /Courtesy of Edelweiss Club of Grand Rapids

Brass ensemble

Brass ensemble /Courtesy of St. Mary's Catholic Church

On Sunday December 22 from 3:30-5 p.m. St. Mary's Catholic Church will host the the annual Edelweiss Choral Concert organized by the Edelweiss Club of Grand Rapids.

The Christmas themed concert pays homage to the rich cultural heritage of German immigrants that first settled in West Michigan.

Performers include the Edelweiss Choir, the Edelweiss Children's Choir, the Ein Prosit Band and the alphorn group Alpentraum.

"The Edelweiss choir concert is a family event with an old-time European feel. What makes this concert unique is its celebration of the German heritage that gave life to churches like St. Mary's and other parts of our community. While much of the music is sung in German, translations are provided," says Larry Barton, Director of Music and Liturgy at St. Mary's.

Alpentraum is the largest known ensemble in North America. Alphorns are unique to Switzerland and other German dialectic regions of northern Europe.

The afternoon itinerary involves "authentic costumes, a candlelight procession, a band playing carols, choral music, performances by soloists, the communal singing of Stille Nacht/Silent Night and Christmas music played on alphorns," say Barton. "All come together to make a delightful afternoon."

The event, marking its 25th year, has been held at St. Mary's and Emmanuel Lutheran Church on Michigan Street. Both churches were started by German immigrants.

"People who would like to hear something different from the usual tunes heard this time of year should attend this concert," says Andy Koning, Edelweiss Club Treasurer.

For those more inclined to the traditional Christmas tunes, the Cathedral of Saint Andrew will host a brass ensemble on December 23 at 7 p.m. Majestic Brass Christmas, directed by Erich Peterson is comprised of eight professional brass players. St. Andrew's is the mother church of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Grand Rapids. Admission is free and open to the public. Donations are accepted at the door.

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