As a result of a trip to Scotland to their Partner region Falkirk last year, Schottland Vereinigung initiated and organised a Scottish music project for Odenwald Schools. During a return visit to the Burns Supper and with the support of the Odenwald Foundation and funding Association of the Schools, the Scottish teachers(from Falkirk), Susanne Bell and Gareth Lloyd offered a music workshop in two schools. Overall nearly 60 pupils in the Astrid-Lindgren school sang songs in English accompanied on Accordion, Guitar and Tin Whistle. Moreover, a Gaelic song was rehearsed, devoted to the favourite breakfast of Scottish children, Porridge! (their words but some children will argue about that). Also common to the Scottish tradition is dancing. With practice and rehearsal and the combination of song and dance, much joy was had by the children. By video-message from the Odenwald a "Kartoffel-Rapp" a Potato Rap was demonstrated. Through Susanne and Gareth this will be shown to children in Falkirk.
The First District Deputy and School Department Head Oliver Grobeis and the Guests from Scotland were excited to get to know about culture and language in this lighthearted way and look forward to a continuation in other schools. (translation by Myra-please excuse, but you get the gist hopefully. Words in brackets are mine).
Burns Supper Celebrations in the Odenwald
In the days before and after the Burns Supper, we were able to plan time to meet with friends and explore Michelstadt and the surrounding areas thanks to our friends and members of Schottland Vereinigung (SLV). Lots of time was spent enjoying German hospitality and having fun trying to speak each other’s language, a great learning opportunity. New foods were enjoyed in homes and friendly restaurants with the opportunity to sample the local and special beers.
A surprise treat for us was an invitation to one of the schools where Susanne and Gareth, (music teachers from Falkirk), were working with pupils in 'language through music'. Songs in English and Gaelic which were enjoyed by the pupils impressed teachers and parents.
The tenth anniversary of the Burns Supper held in Beerfelden was attended by 3 members of the Association and Susanne and Gareth, singing and playing instruments and known together as “Saorsa”. The evening had a real Celtic flavour with the addition of dancers from the dance academy at Reinheim who performed a selection of Irish dances.
The evening opened and closed with the Odenwald Pipes and Drums who seem to improve year on year. They piped in the haggis which was carried by a member of the dance group and the “Address to the Haggis” was recited with feeling and humour by Stuart Johnston, a Scot from Grangemouth who has lived in the Odenwald for many years. With the haggis there was the traditional “tatties and neeps” and a vegetarian option of haggis was available also. To wash it down there was a wide selection of whiskies from the Whisky Bar and seemed to be a big attraction!
With Susanne playing the accordion and whistle and Gareth on guitar, the two entertained with instrumentals and songs, encouraging everyone to sing along to catchy choruses. Their “Auld Lang Syne” to end the evening received a great reception with almost everyone in a circle and received a rousing applause.
The hall was filled and it was great to see Horst Schnur, a great friend to members of the Odenwald Association for many years, attending and enjoying the performances.
The new Landrat, Frank Matiaske gave an address and Dr. Michael Reuter recited some of the famous quotes from Burns, remarking on the importance given to friendships and strong ties emphasised in the poetry of Burns. Rüdiger Holschuh, Vice Chairman of SLV, was Master of Ceremonies for the evening and made an excellent job of co-ordinating the programme throughout the evening.
A highlight of the evening was everyone participating in the Scottish dances with the Gay Gordons and a version of a Virginia Reel, the crowd whirled and had great fun. It was great meeting old friends and making new friends. Surely, this is what Twinning is all about.
During the time of the visit a mystery day trip was organised which included, a tour of the winery and wine tasting at Groß Umstadt; entry to Erbach Schloss for a special viewing to see the famous refurbished Gothic Altar, taken from the sanctuary at Schöllenbach and now housed in the Castle. A rare and important piece, well worth seeing.
Then a drive through the dense forests of the Odenwald in the snow from Beerfelden and on to the forests of Würzberg where wild boar are known to roam. We drove by the red stone building of Castle Waldleiningen, built in the British style because of its connection with Queen Victoria’s mother, this stately incongruous building is now a private clinic.
After a 'café Pause' with stunning snow covered views we went on to Michelstadt for an evening meal with members and Board of SLV.
A perfect end to a perfect day and a week of stored memories of friendships and fun!
Our Sister organisation, The Schottland Vereinigung, has advertised the coming Burns Supper Celebration Evening which will take place in the old gymnasium Beerfelden on Saturday, 20 February 2016, starting at 7.00 p.m.
The evening will include a traditional Burns Supper with "the address to the haggis", a variety of music and Ceilidh dances.
Visitors can look forward to traditional Scottish live music provided by artists from the Falkirk area, known as "Saorsa". The group "Celtic Rocks" will perform Irish Dancing and Scottish and Irish dances will be demonstrated as part of the Ceilidh.
The "Odenwald Pipes and Drums" will open and close the event with their lively pipe tunes.
No Burns Night would be complete without "a wee dram" and a wide selection of whiskies will be available at the bar.
There will also be the opportunity to win a bottle of whisky in the prize draw. Food to match the occasion will be available.
Members from the Odenwald Association look forward to attending.
On Tuesday 12th January, members of The Odenwald Association started their new year programme in the traditional manner by having the annual dinner get together, this year being held in The Cladhan Hotel, Falkirk. Individual members and Corporate members representing their organisations attended with new members experiencing the event for the first time. There was a great turn out and, from the volume and buzz of conversation, people were enjoying catching up with each other. It was a great night and as the evening drew to a close, some members were sore to leave and stayed on chatting in the bar!!!
Programme for the Year
A provisional programme for the year has been planned and is brought to you under the section, "Dates for Your Diary". These will be reviewed and updated as necessary on a monthly basis.
New Members Welcome
If you are interested in finding out more about The Odenwald Association and the joys of twinning, please come along to one of our meetings which take place on the second Tuesday of the month, in The Municipal Buildings, Falkirk and start at 7.00 p.m. Twinning can open many doors to new experiences.
The Odenwald - Germany
The Odenwald Area is a mainly rural area in the South-west of Germany within easy reach of Frankfurt to the North and Heidelberg to the South. It is an area of outstanding beauty with dense forests, lakes and rivers. World famous monuments and Roman remains are to be found throughout the area and its castles range from the Romanesque to the Baroque. For lovers of good food the Odenwald is ideal with traditional dishes being offered throughout the year and you won't want to miss out on tasting the locally brewed beer!
There are many attractions on offer all year round to suit the needs of all ages, whether you want to go hiking or walking in the surrounding countryside, or visit the Castles and historic monuments.
The Odenwald is proud of its history of crafts ranging from pottery, famous wood carvers and basket makers to its gingerbread bakers and its modern chocolatiers.
The 'Potato Festival' in Michelstadt is unique with its Potato Steamer "Kartoffeldaempfer" promoted by former Landrat Horst Schnur and potatoes cooked in this way cannot be compared!
Some information about The Odenwald.
Michelstadt lies in south-eastern part of the Odenwald in the middle of the Hessian Bergstrasse-Odenwald Nature Park. It lies at the crossroads of the ancient trade route from Frankfurt to Stuttgart and from Worms to Würzburg. It boasts some of the oldest buildings in Germany.
The famous late Gothic Town Hall, the Rathaus, is a perfect example of the ‘fachwerk’ half-timber buildings famous throughout the area. It is interesting that the carving of the date of its construction in 1484 is written in Arabic numerals using a half eight as a four.
The Renaissance-style fountain decorated with wrought iron, is said to date from 1575. Around the Market Place are examples of the fine half-timbered houses for which the area is famous.
Erbach is where you find the “Landratsamt”, the seat of regional government. Visitors are enchanted by the gardens of The Orangery, the magnificence of The Schloss, the National Ivory Museum and the River Mümling which runs through the town. Here you find an abundance of crafts including pottery, wood carving, basket making and the modern choclatier. In July residents and visitors alike enjoy the annual Wiesenmarkt when, for a period of 10 days, the atmosphere is carnival.
Neighbouring towns and villages Bad König, Beerfelden, Breuberg, Höchst and Lüzelbach all have much to offer, but you must go and see for yourself.
One thing is sure – you'll never run out of ideas of what to do in the Odenwald and you'll be sure of a friendly welcome!