Frohsinn Singing Society
February 20, 21 and 23, 1914
THE ALTOONA TIMES
1864 - 1914
The Golden Wreath of German Song
THE FROHSINN SINGING SOCIETY is this day celebrating the Fiftieth Anniversary of its founding. Fifty years! A half century; only a drop in the ocean of time - appearing almost endless in the life of man, yet, like the destiny of man, seems to us the origin and growth of the society today. In reflection upon the past the members will remember the ups and downs passed through by the society-they can exclaim with pride and joyful hearts: "IT HAS BEEN ACCOMPLISHED." Though the road from the modest room, where the first rehearsals were held, to the present mansion, has been long and weary, all this has long since been forgotten. After a long journey we rest at the fiftieth milestone - contented, and yet looking back with silent sorrow into the past - but with a cheerful trust and hope can we look into the future. The twelve apostles of German congeniality who fifty years ago proclaimed in Altoona the gospel of German song certainly never anticipated from this small number such a large membership, the object of their founding the society being simply amusement, like in any other place of the earth, for where our Germans settle even in the remotest part of the world, they organize a singing society. This well known tendency of the Germans is often ridiculed; yet the German song - together with the German press - is the strongest factor of Germanic civilization.
The trifle yet remaining in this classical country of Puritanism - of German customs and language - is the German song. The crude materialism of our dear cousins is bearing more luxuriantly its evil fruit, threatening to crowd out German idealism. This noble plant, transplanted to a foreign soil, requires a firm support; thus this tender plant, seeking and finding protection, will romp upon the columns of German song; against the billows of hatred to aliens and hypocrisy the German song still stands like a rock in the sea. The existence and growth of the German song could not be doubted, were it not for the decrease of the German immigration. Our kind mother Germania now has need for all her children at home, and with renewed tenderness she keeps all her sons and daughters on her native soil. With tearful eyes GERMANIA had to see her flaxen-haired sons emigrate by the 100,000 from their native land, never to return again.
We do not grudge Dame Germania, the noble sufferer, for having all her
children around her, but to us this decrease of German immigration is a
great loss, a fact with which the Frohsinn must reckon even at this day.
We have frequently been reproached for having too many non-German members,
but we fear that ere long many other societies will have to share this
reproach. In order to illuminate the course made by this society since its
organization we would be obliged to write a book; such a book, a biography
of the Frohsinn Society, would simultaneously contain the history of our
local German population, which was formerly most closely in touch with our
social life, but we must limit our description to most important dates and
Two years later energetic men revived it, but only after many
disappointments and ten years of battling and struggles these new men
succeeded in building a home of their own. In this home, the old FROHSINN
HALL, they sang, played, danced, laughed and - probably WEPT; for
notwithstanding its merrily sounding name the Frohsinn has likewise seen
gloomy days. In the place dedicated to mirth often Dame Care showed
herself immoderately bold.
Immigration had ceased. Members came and left, some remained, others moved farther away, eternally seeking their fortune. It is the, old song of the heritage of our ancestors, the German WANDERLUST!
There are good and bad people in every society, and the singing society is no exception to it. The Society Frohsinn - alas - suffered much by the only too drastically existing disharmony of the Germans. There were kickers and dissatisfied members; twice these quarrels led to separations of members from the society, but it kept on its march of progress quietly and without malice to others, surmounting all the crises and obstacles, following the order of the day. May it ever flourish and thrive.
The society this day is celebrating its birthday; on this occasion it beseems all members to remember with gratitude and veneration those who fifty years ago founded the society, but the others, too, who were supporting the society twenty and thirty years ago, should be preserved and held in grateful memory - passive members who were ever ready to sacrifices and active members who upheld the German song, but are now silent for ever.
The names of members no longer dwelling amongst us are: Christian
Hauser, Sr., Jacob Rink, --- Olmes, L. Plack, C. Stahl, J. B. Hickey, Sr.,
Gust Klemmert, Martin Hoelle, Phillip Wolf, Ed. Zemsch, Stephan Raible,
Jacob Faist, David Koch, Carl Metzger, Leopold Ingold, Albert Schult,
Reinhold Schimminger, Lawrence Epple, Jacob Oeffinger, Adam Seitenspinner,
Jeremiah Laubs, Wolfgang Huber, Ernest Ibsen, Emil Thieme, E. Pietsch,
Herman Siegel, Jacob Gruhler, Ignaz Brunner. They all rest in the
hospitable soil of the county which had become their second home, far away
from the forests and haunts of their native land - where they had spent
their early life.
Then it is the place of our young generation to preserve and continue rearing what the father's had accomplished, and when some day immigration will be revived, there might be a possibility of the Frohsinn celebrating its hundredth anniversary; then would be brought to light once more all the events attending this day's festivity; then would a coming generation remember us with veneration, just as we think today of those who were the supports of the society.
The Frohsinn Singing Society was founded on the 22nd day of February, 1864. The names of the founders are: Rev. Father Kirchner, Carl Hauschel, John Stehle, Casimir Riegel, Albert F. Hess, Conrad Kiesel, Paul Hurm, Peter Vetter, Magnus Bender, Michael Fischer, Fr. Flach, Phillip Faddle.
In the year 1864 the society numbered twelve members - today - after 50 years, it has 650.
The society was incorporated in 1883, the charter being signed by the following officers:
President - Oscar W. Hanson.
The first president of the society was Rev. Father Kirchner - his successors in office were Louis Kiefer, C. J. Stahl, E. Zemsch, M. Schlegel, O. W. Hanson, H. Sabathne, H. Kunzig, Stephan Raible, Jacob Faist, H. Sabathne, Chas. Wiesingsr, John Marx, H. Sabathne, Albert Pietsch, H. Kunzig, H. Sabathne, J. Marx, William Reifsteck, John Steindel, the present incumbent.
The first director (vocal) was Carl Hauschel - his successors were Joseph Knoellinger, E. Bauer, Fr. Falkenstein, Fred. Maeder, A. Fasolt, Fred. Ehredt, O. W. Nelson, Julius A. Tetsch, H. Faber, William Schoeb, Fr. Herkert, C. W. Clouck, O. W. Nelson, O. Kochenbach, Christ. Clemens, William Schoeb, F. Gipprich, Gottleib Baer, J. Baer, Alfred Koller.
The first secretary of the society was the president, Rev. Father Kirchner - his successors were: A. F. Heess, Max Schlegel, George Lehrsch, Fr. Maeder, H. Runzig, G. Hausser, C. Wolfsberger, C. Glock, And. Gruhler, H. Sabathne, Max Schlegel, J. Marx, L. Epple, Leonard Gieg, John Schimminger, Karl Kaltschmitt, J. Marx, Clemens Mauch, Fr. Schlatter, Clemens Mauch, the present incumbent.
The treasurers of the society were: Rev. Father Kirchner, John Stehle,
C. Riegel, Jacob Rink, C. J. Stahl, L. Ingold, Jacob Gerhardt, A.
Stolzenfels, Reinhold Schimminger, M. Furrer, A. Pietsch, Math. Stehle and
John Marx, the present incumbent.
1. Overture, Lucia di Lammermoor by DONIZETTI
TEN MINUTES INTERMISSION
9. Overture Il'Travatore by VERDI
Frohsinn Society Singers.
Conrad, A. M.
Koller, Alf, Jr.
Dangel, Carles A.
Wertzberger, W. Ludg.
Frohsinn Aid Society
Founded July, 1884 with 100 members
Benefits Paid $10,526.00
In Treasury $475.00
N. S Schuh, President
C. Schmauder, Vice-President
O. W. Hanson, Secretary
M. Schlegel, Treasurer
Officers of the Society
John A. Steindel, President
Phillip Klobetanz, 1st Vice-President
August Schillig, 2nd Vice-President
John Marx, Treasurer
Photos are presented in alphabetical order by last name, not as they appear in the book.
Return to top of page
Contributed for use in the USGenWeb Archives by Judy Banja
Copyright 2002. All Rights Reserved.
Blair County USGenWeb Archives - Area History
Blair County PA USGenWeb Archives
USGenWeb Archives Project: Pennsylvania