On Wednesday, march 7th, we went to Alverno College for "An Evening in Deutschland" dinner and performance. Alverno is a smaller Catholic, women's college on south side of Milwaukee. Georgie worked in their library for a couple of years, and we are still on their mailing list for cultural and outreach events. About once each year, the "extension" program has an ethnic dinner evening, and this year's choice was Germany. Having the taste of Austria still figuratively in our mouths, we thought it would be good to try their German cuisine.
Alverno sets up for the dinners in a "ballroom" space in one of their newer buildings, which is a pleasant venue. Diners are seated eight to a table, and we did our usual thing of finding an otherwise empty table and seeing who would choose to sit with us. We were fortunate in our dinner companions, in particular a well-traveled couple who had a good store of pleasant chat. The buffet dinner included a very tasty beef rouladen, chicken marinated in dark beer, spatzle, red cabbage, braised root vegetables, cucumber salad, and apple strudel, with coffee, iced tea, or milk for beverages. (The lack of alcoholic beverage, beer or wine, was the only un-German thing.) All the food was quite good.
The after dinner program was introduced by a mamber of the Alverno staff, who gave a capsule review of German history and culture in ten minutes, a feat which would have been more impressive had she not managed to mangle all the names of more than two syllables. The performing group was the DANK (Deutsch Amerkanischer National Kongress) Choir and Folk Dancers. The DANK Choir is one of five German-language choral groups in Southeastern Wisconsin and the only mixed choir. (There are three "mannerchor" and one "damenchor".) There were about three women to every man in this group, and I was rathr uncharitably thinking that the men must be solely husbands dragged along for the ride, since during the early part of the performance the men's voices were hardly present and marked by mumbling when discernible. However, once the chorus got to "Drink, Drink, Drink!", men warmed up and began to pull their weight.
The vocal program was a choral "tour" of German lands, starting from Hamburg in the north, and ending up in the Tyrol in the south. We heard a lot of songs that were new to us, plus some very familiar, like "Edelweiss", "Lili Marlene," and "Du, Du, Leibst Mir in Hertzen." Songs were introduced by choir members with brief descriptions of the region and what the song was about, which made for a very informative as well as entertaining time. The program was ended with four folkdances (five were scheduled, but the CD player refused to play the music for the "naughty" Window Dance) including an impressively complcated Maypole dance which both wound and UNwound the ribbons.
A good time was had by all. We've attended a number of Alverno's ethnic evenings over the years, and expect to continue in the future.