Concordia Singing Society
March 4th, 2014 - Passing the Baton
Gesangverein Concordia, Sheboygan’s German singing group, had a bittersweet moment this March. Donald Guske has decided to retire after 35 years as Music Director of the group, although he will continue to sing with Concordia. Don has been succeeded by Frederick Strassburger, who brings a wealth of experience and talent to the chorus.
Don Guske directed six Germanfest church services presented at the Marcus Amphitheater during his long and distinguished tenure as Concordia’s director. The highlight of his career came in 2010 when he directed the National Saengerfest concert with 1500 singers in San Antonio, Texas. He plays piano, organ, and trombone and has performed with various bands and orchestras throughout the area. Don enjoys arranging songs and sings with three local choirs.
Frederick Strassburger, the new director, was born in Peoria, Illinois, to a family rich in the German tradition. Frederick began playing the piano at the age of 10 and received his Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education at Benedictine University in Lisle, Illinois. He taught choir and band at St. Bede Academy in Peru, Illinois, for several years. He received a Master’s Degree in Music and Liturgy in 1987 from the University of Notre Dame. Frederick moved to Sheboygan in 2007 where he accepted the position of Director of Music and Liturgy at Saint Peter Claver Catholic Church. He is a private music teacher and an accomplished composer and arranger, having composed a Mass published by Liturgical Press. Frederick additionally sings with the Sheboygan Symphony Chorus.
October 17th, 2015 - Television Presentation by Mike Short
Mike Short, a member of Gesangverein Concordia, Sheboygan’s German singing group, gave a presentation on October 17th, 2015 about our chorus at the Sheboygan County History Museum. It was shown as part of a larger program on WSCS, the Sheboygan local access television station. Mike provided a great deal of information, including historical and current photos, descriptions, explanations of our goals and missions, along with other entertaining and informative tidbits.
June 20th, 2017 - Concordia Celebrates Singer's 105th Birthday
Doctors say singing increases life expectancy and good looks (Frances Vincell, September 2012). Emma Balde is living proof of that theory. On Tuesday, June 20, 2017, Emma Balde celebrated her 105th birthday with the singers of Gesangverein Concordia. While her soprano voice isn't what it used to be, (she quipped, “when I come back next year I'll sing bass”), she enjoyed singing all her old favorites and did so completely from memory.
Emma was born in 1912 in Pleasant Prairie, WI and was the ninth out of ten children. Her family moved to Sheboygan when she was two-years-old. She came from a musical family, where her father played the pump organ by ear, and they all sang together as a family. Since there was no radio, this was their entertainment. While raising her family Emma sang in a church choir and, after her husband's death, became a charter member of the Golden Chordaliers. She sang with them for thirty-four years. In 2003 she joined the Concordia Singing Society which she loved since the songs and the singers reconnected her to her childhood. Emma came from German ancestry, loves the German music and, until about 2 years ago, rarely missed a rehearsal or a concert. She still enjoys time with her family, keeping up to date on current events by reading the Sheboygan Press, chatting with old friends, and reminiscing about driving her '64 Buick Wildcat.