Concordia Singing Society
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.
August 14th, 2017 - Concordia Celebrates 100 Years in “New Home”
many members in the Civil War, performances resumed on February 12, 1874. Initial rehearsals of the men-only group were held in members’ homes, but as the chorus grew, and added women’s voices, the need arose for a larger rehearsal space.
Sometime in the late 1870’s, property was purchased by the Concordia Singing Society on Ontario Avenue and eventually a small hall was erected to accommodate the now seventy-some member chorus. During this period the organization became a member of the Northwestern National Sängerbund, a league of similar societies of the northwest. Several fests of the Eastern Wisconsin circuit were held in Sheboygan between 1892 and 1913. This structure was eventually sold to the Congregational Church and became known as “Mead Hall.” It later became the YMCA. Once again in need of a new home, in February of 1916 Concordia bought the 46 year old house which was built in 1870 on the corner of North 9th St. and St. Clair Ave., from the Ernst Hildebrand Estate. The members voted to raise sufficient funds to remodel the house to meet the needs of the Society.
One hundred years ago on August 14, 1917, the headline on the front page of the Sheboygan Press read “CONCORDIA SINGING SOCIETY TO HAVE NEW HOME SEPT. 1”. Today, 34 members strong and directed by Frederick Strassburger, Concordia Singing Society is still rehearsing in that “NEW HOME” at
1130 North 9th Street in Sheboygan.
Organized in 1860, only 7 years after the City of Sheboygan was chartered, Concordia set out on a journey to share not only the joy of singing, but also the desire to keep alive a part of the German ethnic heritage and culture through song, to be enjoyed by present and future generations.
As early as October 1861, the first Sängerfest (German singing festival) was held in Sheboygan, hosted by Concordia Singing Society. Other societies attended from the Town of Wilson, and cities of Kiel, New Holstein, Manitowoc, Plymouth, and Two Rivers. After a brief interruption due to the service of
It was about September 1, 1917 that the remodeling was completed and the Society could move in and once again have a place to display their pictures, trophies, documents and records, as well as meeting and rehearsal space. The entire second floor was occupied by a full-time janitor. Over the past 100 years there have been additions and updates to the interior and exterior, while preserving the original German character.
Rehearsals are typically 7:00 to 8:30pm on Tuesday evenings and YES, they are still being held in the “NEW HOME” of 100 years ago!