North Bergen , New Jersey



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History of our Chorus - Page 6

For many years the RSB had met in Manhattan on East 86th Street at the Mozart Hall. With a continuing parking problem, the Mozart Hall, after two fires, two reconstructions, and a change of ownership, ceased to be a convenient and reliable Vereinslokal. In 1975 the RSB moved its meeting place just beyond the Lincoln Tunnel to North Bergen, NJ. Because of this move, the club lost some members but gained others. Since then, Proben (rehearsals) have taken place on Friday nights from September to June in comfortable quarters at Schuetzen Park. Talented members of the chorus undertook to furnish the "new" meeting room as a Bauernstuberl (cozy rustic bar); the rehearsal room was embellished with half timbered walls and paintings of German landscapes. With the rehearsal room adjoining the inviting Senator Lounge, Proben have been consistently cheerful evenings.

The past quarter century has taken its toll on the German choral tradition in America. A number of choruses have disappeared, but the RSB has endured thanks to the devotion of its members and the dedication of its leadership. In 1973, Heinz-Werner Heinrich was first elected president, beginning his many years of service in that position. He was president for almost 13 years of the past 25 years; he continues ably in that office today. The presidency has also been held by others: Fred Hoefer, Sr., in 1975-76, Heinz Kellermann (for the third time) in 1979-80, and Walter Kattwinkel in 1983-84, and again in 1989-93. The chorus has also fortunately had the services of fine musical directors: Alfred Heberer in 1967-75, Wayne Fenstermacher in 1975-77 and Heinrich Geiger in 1977-85. Experienced, patient and skillful, Mr. Leo Alfassy has been the Dirigent since 1985. At impromptu gatherings, Bernard Bartsch, who has a fine ear for music, also conducts as does the current Liedervater, Sigi Fuchslocher.

The RSB has provided the choral music at many church services. Every August the chorus sings at the Sunday service of the Plattdeutsche Volksfest at Schuetzen Park. In 1978, the chorus sang at St. Matthew's Lutheran Church in Kitchener, Ontario, and in 1979 at the German language service at St. Matthew's Lutheran Church in White Plains. In 1983 and again in 1992, the RSB sang at St. Pauls Kirche on 22nd Street in Manhattan. In Germany in 1984, the chorus sang at the the St. Peter Dom an der Bergstraße in Heppenheim. With Dirigent Leo Alfassy, the chorus performed in 1989 at the Pfarrkirche in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. In New York City on the morning of the Steubenparade in 1990, and again in 1997, the Rheinische sang at St. Patrick's Cathedral.

The RSB has also made public appearances. Notably, when the COSMOS soccer team played the Hamburger Sport Verein at the Meadowlands, the RSB was there. Standing centerfield, the chorus proudly sang both the American and German national anthems to an audience of 40,000. Celebrating 300 years of German immigration in America, four choruses presented a stirring concert in 1983 at East Rutherford, NJ. There, under the


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