On 10/17/2015, two tour groups from Toronto and Frankfurt boarded flights and made their way to Sao Paulo. Leaving from Frankfurt there were 50 musicians from all over Germany (mainly from the region between Darmstadt and Gießen). 5 Canadian musicians, who Andreas Möschl had met during his work in Canada, from Brampton, Ontario, 2 American musicians from Phoenix, Arizona and Andreas Möschl himself, left from Toronto, Ontario.
In Sao Paulo, the two groups combined on 10/18/2015 around 5 clock in the morning and flew together to the official starting point of the eighth concert tour by TOURCHESTER, to Curitiba, Brazil. Curitiba has approximately 1.8 million inhabitants (seventh largest in Brazil) and is the capital of the state of Parana (one of 26 states in Brazil). Curitiba is an important cultural, political and economic centre. The city was and still is influenced by the German, Italian, Polish and Ukrainian immigrants.
From here we travelled in two large buses, with footrests and sooo much space for the first Tannenhof in Joinville. Joinville, with its 500,000 inhabitants, mostly of German descent, is the largest city of Santa Catarina. Besides Blumenau and Brusque the city is considered one of the centres of German colonization. Joinville has more than 600 industrial enterprises and more than 15,000 retail and service establishments. In October there is a festival called FENACHOPP (since 1988) which is designed to help preserve the German traditions.
The Hotel Tannenhof is located very close to the city centre. It is an eleven storey building with half-timbering in the top half. We rehearsed on the first night briefly, for an hour, before we went to dinner because this was the first time the whole group was together.
On 10.19.2015, (after extensive sleeping and some shopping) the trip continued to Blumenau in the state of Santa Catarina. This German-Brazilian city was founded in 1850 and is known for its timber-framed buildings and by the largest celebration of Oktoberfest in Brazil. "Vale Europeu", heritage of european immigrants, Blumenau is the epitome of German colonization of Brazil with half-timbered houses and Black Forest cake! The architecture with pointed roofs, the restaurants and landscaped gardens: one could almost forget being in Brazil. The inhabitants of Blumenau are largely descendants of German immigrants who settled in the south of Brazil in the second half of the 19th century. Blue-eyed, fair-haired and fair-skinned; they are proud of their differences to other Brazilians, and the customs, the language and the architecture of their ancestors have been kept alive.
Oktoberfest in Blumenau is, with more than 700,000 visitors a year (!) the second largest festival in Brazil, (after Carnival in Rio de Janeiro) and the second largest Oktoberfest in the world!
The celebration of Oktoberfest originated, due to an unusual initiative. In the years 1983 and 1984 the city of Blumenau was visited twice by major flooding. In order to replenish the city coffers and cheer the minds of its inhabitants, the first Oktoberfest was held based on the Bavarian model. The success exceeded all expectations! Every year, vast amounts of beer are served there as well, following the
German model. Brass bands are flown in specially from Germany to play in various locations, providing a lively atmosphere. (this does not count TOURCHESTER, because we did not want to play for three weeks solid in October and not be able to visit the country.) White sausage, sauerkraut and pork, the visitor finds here also.
We were allowed to play in the beer garden from 19:00 to 21:30 and we initially thought that there would be very few guests. But that was a mistake! 4,500 individuals filled the hall. Guests sang and danced enthusiastically with every selection played for them. All guests wore costumes or what they thought of as costumes. Beer was served there (as in the US) primarily in plastic cups, but guests could also pre-buy a pitcher and refill glasses themselves. Three other halls, which could each accommodate about 15,000 people, were also full from 20:00 clock. Polkas, waltzes and marches comprised the program, but also several other modern pieces were played. 18 guests from another group, Vogeltranz, who had travelled from Germany, came to join in the performance. Especially nice was the visit of the Oktoberfest Queen and her two princesses. Conductor Andreas Möschl, drummer Adi Loho and vice-conductor Tanja Rehde-Ellinghaus had nice pictures taken with them.
The return to the hotel to Joinville was relatively quiet ...
10.20.2015 began with a city tour of Joinville. The city is especially known for its dance culture. Here is the only foreign location of a school of the Russian Bolshoi Ballet. Children, ages 8 – 17 years, from all over South America (primarily Brazil) attend. We were allowed to visit the school and take pictures in the lobby.
Joinville also has a public German wholesale market, where we were able, in addition to German and Brazilian beer, to acquire Cachaca (main ingredient of Caipirinha).
In the evening, we were able to give a concert in the beautiful 80 year old Opera House, which has 550 seats including a gallery and boxes. Unfortunately, it was a bit disappointing because two local clubs had played before us there, as well as the urban String Orchestra was playing in another hall in the city. The approximately 200 guests definitely had fun, but were reserved and reluctant to join in dancing.
On 10/21/2015 we drove to Canoinhas, the hometown of our Guide Eike Bach. Actually, that means we wanted to drive to Canoinhas! One of the buses with the "Youth" in it, managed as planned. The other had a flat tire after about 1/3 of the distance. Fortunately, about 200 m further there was located a local tire repair service. Some suggested that this had to have been planned! About 45 minutes later, we continued the journey but, about one hour before reaching our destination, the bus had another
blowout. This time, no service was there and we continued (because double axis uncritical) at 60 km / H goes to our destination. By that time, the first bus had already reached the barracks of the military police of Canoinhas and had met commander Colonel Mario Renato Erzinger. There they were entertained with the enthusiastic music of the musicians of the student band, Banda Musica Novo Talentos. The reception continued under the roof of the entrance gate in the rain until the other bus arrived after about 1.5 hours.
The children in the band, playing at this concert-venue, normally could not get a decent education. They receive the support of a joint project of the cultural association and the military police. The children receive a complete education and musical training as long as they maintain a good to very good standing. Some of these children were already demonstrating an astonishing level of competence with their instruments. A lunch for TOURCHESTER was cooked by the children's parents and tasted very good. A welcome gift of the military police, a wooden model of the special tea cups for mate tea from Canoinhas, was presented by Colonel Erzinger to Andreas Möschl.
Then on to the hotel in the city centre that was located about 100 meters from the evening's concert venue.
The concert was to begin at 20:30 clock, so we got there in time to organize and set up. The student orchestra came to set up as well and the decorated hall filled quickly. Initial discussions, sometimes without knowledge of the other language, took place among the musicians as we got to know each other.
The Deputy Mayor, Mrs Viviane, welcomed the audience and both bands. Then the student band played the Brazilian national anthem followed by Tourchester playing the “Song of Germany”.
The actual concert began with the polka "Rosamunde", played by the two orchestras under the direction of Sergeant César Paulo Padilha.
After thunderous applause TOURCHESTER started with Stelldichein in Oberkrain and continued until ending with the bird dance. The audience clapped, danced and swayed enthusiastically. Some musicians and guests took to the dance floor for Vogeltranz and we called for the children and adults in the audience to participate. This is what they did with enthusiasm. Two repetitions were played until most people were involved.
After the next Polka, the conductor of the students stopped our program and pointed out that he and his musicians should now invite us to dance with them which meant of course, a samba. The musicians came on the dance floor and performed not badly at all, specifically, Sonja Loho from Ober-Ramstadt,
showing an amazing lightness despite their advanced age! Towards the middle of the Samba, a group conga line delighted many concertgoers!
The program was over, but not the evening! Many small groups were formed afterwards, photographs were taken and Facebook names and e-mail addresses exchanged. Also, many tried out comparable instruments from the other band and talked shop, partly in English or with the help of Eike Bach or Andy and Bonnie Bunkis from Brampton, who translated into Portuguese.
After the concert, most members of the tour group went to a local restaurant for one or another beer (600 ml bottles) or for a Brazilian caipirinha (cachaça, lime, sugar and crushed ice). In one of the toasts had to even his "neighbor stumpe" to then Cheers or "Priente" (Prien chee) can say. Regardless, it was a nice but short evening.
10/22/2015 began, as almost every other day,with a hearty breakfast at the hotel. Some came somewhat later today! There was a visit to the Erva Mate mill (making tea) and the Cervejaria Canoinhense, a craft brewery of German origin, all in the pouring rain, and then the journey continued to Porto Uniao. A railway line is the dividing line between Porto União and União da Vitória in Paraná. By 1916, there was only one city, but a border declaration, as a result of the Contestado war, divided the city into two, one in Santa Catarina and the other in Paraná. Having the two states is not an obstacle as they both live as sister cities. The city in Santa Catarina has 32,000 inhabitants and the city in Paraná slightly more than 48,000. Together they form an important university centre. The União train station is viewed by both countries as a work of art.
The concert venue that evening was located in Porto União while the hotel was in União da Vitória A former theatre was rebuilt with a bigger stage that created a very nice concert venue, but without a real dance floor. The audience was not as exciting for TOURCHESTER becasue of the concert the night before in Canoinhas. Nevertheless, we did our best. The approximately 300 spectators listened carefully, clapped and shouted a little, but that was about it....
On 10.23.2015 we went to Entre Rios, in the Brazilian village of Danube Swabians. "Entre Rios" means "between the rivers" - and that was probably named by the first 500 families who moved there and recalled Schwaben / Germany. The Danube Swabians came from Croatia, Romania, Hungary and Serbia, but left there after WW2 because of persecution. It is reported that 500 families of these were the first to emigrate to Brazil. Near Toronto (Kitchener), there is another group, that we want to visit in 2018. Both in Entre Rios and in Kitchener, the landscapes are similar to those in Germany; good and fertile soils allow agriculture.
Immediately after arriving in the spacious grounds of the colony (I wanted to write kolkhoz) we were invited to lunch at a local restaurant. Then Thomas Ellinghaus and Andreas Möschl organized the chairs for the evening concert. Tanja and Andreas invited the citizens of Entre Rios to the concert by doing a radio interview.
Following this, the tour group went to the new (not prearranged) Hotel in Guarapuava, about 20 km north of Entre Rios.
In the evening we went back to the concert in the great cultural center. Viviane Schüssler, the person in charge of Public Relations at the cooperative AGRARIA greeted us and wished the visitors present a wonderful evening. The mixed program with the "Bohemian Dream", many other old and new Polka Hits, some waltzes (Udo Watz from Rechtenbach said that he had never played 3 waltz in one round) and marches, but also with a few modern pieces as "Sing Sing Sing" and "Happy Polka" was well received. Viviane Schüssler presented a few small gifts to the whole orchestra.
On 10/24/2015 the group had the longest driving distance (410 km) from Guarapuava to Foz-do-Iguasso on the program. One bus already had had the 2 blowouts, but the driver had to have another repaired since it lost air. Fortunately it was fixed before the tire burst. We took advantage of the pause for a 2nd breakfast in a bar off the highway. Once in Foz-do-Iguasso we immediately, before checking into the hotel, went to visit the world's largest hydroelectric power plant (based on performance) ITAIPU. The visitor's centre was kept open just for us a little longer than usual. Stefan Loho and Andreas Möschl have indirectly helped to build this dam, since both of their companies have products involved in its construction and operation. There are 20 turbines and generators supplying 20% of the power for Brazil and 80% for Paraguay.
Because of the time we could not go into the interior of the power station, but we were assured that it would have huge proportions.
If the wall would break, so the guide reported, 90% of Argentina would be under water. Comments said, that most Brasilians would like that ...
On 25.10. the group parted. The Canadians visited the Brazilian side of the falls of Iguasso because they would have to pay an extra $100 for a visa for Argentina. The Germans and the two Americans drove by special bus with 2 separate guides to Argentina and visited the platforms where it is possible to walk very close to the falls. Gilnei Ebert (the younger of the two guides) rapidly had many fans among the female participants. "What a Hottie ..."
The views of the imposing waterfalls are absolutely fantastic. However, the river was more than twice as full as normal, hence many small individual falls were not individually seen but joined together into several large waterfalls. The colour of the water was originally very clear, but, due to progressive erosion, it is now brown.
The Canadians went for a jetboat ride under the falls on the Brazilian side while the Germans and Americans explored the Argentinian side.
Many animals were visible, ususally available for us only in the zoo.
In the evening we went to either a Churrascaria (BBQ meats) downtown (that was recommended by the guides with percentages corresponding) or the restaurant or snack bar in the hotel. These experiences were quite different and partly the basis for very good service on the following day!
On 10.26.2015 the German participants visited the Brazilian side and made a jet boat ride under the falls (we were wet through and through ...) while the Canadians visited a bird park. From the boat tour, there is a video, but it cannot be printed here.
The conclusion of the trip to the waterfalls was, for some, a helicopter flight. Most managed this without problems, but the last group of 4 members started already in the rain. During the flight the rain go so bad that the machine could not continue flying and had to make an emergency landing. This meant that the tour group had to drive to the airport without these four (only 4 minutes' drive) and started to check in. Then, when our NOTLAENDERER the jubilation was huge, but their relief was also.
The adjoining flight to Rio de Janeiro (River of January) was like all other flights without incident. Paula and Hermann (our new Guides for Rio) welcomed us and took us by bus to the city centre to our hotel (200 meters from Copacabana and Ipanema 1200 m). Paula particularly made many fans quickly as she had Bus 2, the youth bus, singing a little samba and bossa nova between announcements.
10/27/2015 started very early, since the departure to the Corcovado, the mountain with the famous statue of Christ, was scheduled for 8:30 a.m. The trip was very short because we were staying in the central location, so we could quickly get inline for the cog railway up the mountain. Even the view from below was excellent.
From the top, a variety of perspectives were enjoyed. Many pictures were taken and messages sent to loved ones at home! It was awesome!
"Yes I will" is on one of the pictures Andreas Möschl took kneeling before Susanne Meub from upper Mockstadt. What was meant by this, only she and her friend Tom, who unfortunately could not join us, will know.
After a short tour of the downtown city near the Corcovado, it was back to the hotel and then, for most, immediately to Copacabana beach and into the water. Some underestimated the power of the waves, fell down and picked up muscle strain and some bruises! In the evening we went to a samba bar, ate or went to bed early.
10/28/2015, or better the penultimate day in Rio, Sugar Loaf was on the program. Unfortunately when we went up the cable car it was mostly in the clouds. Sometimes you could look down through the mist, but mostly we saw only white on white.
After we came down from the sky, we drove to a place where we could see this emblem of Rio well again. We saw where we could take a picture of the whole group...at least most of the group who did not start walking independently ...
Following this, we had the second part of the city tour where we visited the famous cathedral, where the Popes John Paul II. and Benedict XVI. had held Mass. For those interested, as a specially paid side trip, there was the great Maracanã stadium where Germany had become the 2012 football World Cup champions (1: 0 Goetze against Argentina) on the program. Udo Watz from Rechtenbach could almost touch the hallowed turf while Michael Thate could conduct an interview with Kirch Goens. The guide was very interesting, beginning on the 5th floor at the press bleachers, continuing on the 1st floor to the VIP seats, then into the locker rooms (unfortunately in C, at the World Cup, the Germans were in A) where we saw the relaxation pool, the actual lockers and the warm-up room. We then saw a short film about the Selecao, the Brazilian national team.
Here repeatedly fell a ridiculous number combination! 7: 1?
For the evening, Paula had again organized a visit to a churrascaria and after that, an original samba dance bar with live music. About 35 participants of the tour group joined this event.
On 10.29.2015 at 14:30 p.m. we had to get on the buses to go to the airport. The time until then was used in many different ways; cycling along the famous beaches, a visit to the forts of Copacabana or another dip in the Atlantic Ocean at the Copacabana - each sought what he wanted to keep in mind.
One of the points that have been discussed during the check out from the hotel, is the program of the upcoming concert tour in the fall of 2018 to Canada and the USA. This looks so far that:
- Flight to Toronto (about 2 concerts)
- Quebec City
- New York City (with Steuben Parade and Oktoberfest)
- Washington DC. with Annapolis and JV's Restaurant
Applications (for expressions of interest send an email to Andreas Möschl) Details are always displayed under
Check in here went, just as it did in Frankfurt, Sao Paulo and Foz-do-Iguasso, thanks to coordination by Tanja Rehde-Ellinghaus, smoothly and without payment of extra baggage costs and most participants were then glad to be back at home.
Thanks for a great tour to all the participants of the tour, especially to the musicians and the CD team.
Thanks for translating to Bonnie.
Thank you !
Michael, Andreas, Michel, Mona, Tanja, Hubert, Magggo, Stefan, Klaus, Gabi, Martina, Udo, Roland, Don, Andreas, Karl, Martin, Roland, Marcus, Steffi, Steffi, Barbara, Frances, Carol, Susanne, Rebekka, Sonja, Ruth, Claudia, Berthold, Andrejs, Otmar, Stefan, Gundi, Schorsch, Guenter, DrumAdi, Herbert, Bonnie, Ken, Astrid, Mechthild, Steffen, Tabea, Bjoern, Edith, Dany, Jan, Hermann, Ilona, Michi, Dani, Gabi, Achim, Connie, Simone, Ulrike, Jutta, Thomas.
Gruss an Sandra, Jo-Anne und Norm, die leider wegen Krankheit trotz Anmeldung nicht mitkommen konnten.