For over 20 years, Jourdanton resident Gerry Klumb has performed with the internationally-known San Antonio Liederkranz.
Dating back to 1892, the Liederkranz is the largest mens German-language choir of its type in the United States. The group was formed by Father Henry Pfefferkorn as the choir of St. Josephs Catholic Church in downtown San Antonio.
The choir will celebrate its 125th anniversary with a free concert on June 25 at 3 p.m. at the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts in San Antonio.
Klumb is a San Antonio native and the son of German immigrants who were very involved in singing. His mother was a member of a Hermann Sons womens singing group in San Antonio. Klumb was pleased to tag along with her.
In the early 1960s, Klumb moved to Jourdanton to join his father in the familys business, Benz & Klumb.
Most of Liederkranz has its roots in German heritage and song, Klumb said.
The group of more than 50 singers represent a variety of ethnic and religious backgrounds from all walks of life: retired military, accountants, lawyers, etc. They practice once a week and are known for performing both sacred and popular music.
We sing in all kinds of languages: English, German, Spanish and Latin. We have quite a repertoire, Klumb said.
The choir is in high demand, performing for weddings, funerals and Masses. They are scheduled to perform in Boerne the latter part of June. Along with their upcoming concert, SA Liederkranz also performs a spring concert and Christmas concert each year which draws thousands. The choir sings the fourth Sunday 11 a.m. Mass at St. Josephs.
The melody is usually in the top voices, unlike barbershop and other American arrangements, giving our pieces a distinctive tenor shimmer, said Tom Ewing, Liederkranz choir director since 2000.
Klumb loves the fellowship and camaraderie that the Liederkranz offers him.
I enjoy the companionship. We all look forward to seeing each other, said Klumb. We are mainly an older group- all in their 60s, 70s and beyond. We are always recruiting, because we need the younger ones to pass it on. We are always looking for new talent and people who like to sing. We have a lot of fun.
The June 25 concert will feature German songs, as well as a broad spectrum of pop, opera, highly-regarded Broadway show tunes and patriotic numbers. The choir will be joined by piano accompanist Rob Jenkins and the New Braunfels Village Brass Band. Translations of all German and Latin songs will be provided.
Tickets are going fast and it is a popular venue. The acoustics are mind-boggling, said Klumb.
Although the anniversary concert is free to the public with general seating, you must order tickets to attend. Tickets can be ordered on the Tobin Center website at www.tobincenter.org. Doors will open at 2 p.m. with food and drink for sale. The concert is scheduled to last approximately two hours, with an intermission.
Men interested in singing with the Liederkranz are invited to come to their rehearsals on Monday nights at St. Josephs Hall, at 420 East Cesar Chavez Blvd. in San Antonio at 7:30 p.m.