Last year was the revival of a Cincinnati tradition that began in 1849. My interest in the Saengerfest Choir festival first began after taking the Spirit of Christmas Tour that highlighted beautiful historic churches in Over The Rhine.
The tour shares stories about how each of the churches were central to community. The tour also lets you hear from various ministers and priests and parishioners who are still dedicated to serving the community. (you can read more about it here)
I LOVED the Spirit of Christmas Tour and my husband and I LOVED Saengerfest last year!!!! The experience was absolutely beautiful in every way. The choirs, music, venues and atmosphere create an incredible memory to share with loved ones.
Here is a little more about how Saengerfest started. As someone who grew up in the Cincinnati area, I had no idea that our city had such an incredible tradition for so many years.
Cincinnati is known as the birthplace of Saengerfest, a German tradition that celebrated choir singing groups, or “Saengerbunds.” The North American Saengerbund was developed by German immigrants, and originally only consisted of choirs from Cincinnati, Louisville, and Indiana. The newly formed Saengerbund decided to carry on the German tradition of Saengerfests in the United States, and held the first-ever Saengerfest in Cincinnati in 1849.Saengerfest grew quickly, and in merely three years the size of the group more than doubled. By 1870, Saengerfest consisted of almost two thousand singers and over 60 choirs. Cincinnati was bringing thousands of people into the area to witness these celebrations and even attracting national attention.
A 1879 article in the New York Times detailed the event in Over-the-Rhine and described it as “worthy of comparison with the Mardisgras of Southern cities.”Saengerfest not only involved the German immigrants and constituents of the area, but it attracted thousands of people from across the U.S. The event continued to grow and return to Cincinnati regularly, eventually becoming a huge tradition of the area. However, this began to change with the introduction of the May Festival in 1873. A lot of people dismissed the festival and were resistant to embracing it for fear of taking attention away from Saengerfest. Eventually, the May Festival gained a great amount of attention and detracted support from Saengerfest. Despite the resistance efforts, many talented singers and supporters broke away from Saengerfest to perform in the May Festival. The popularity of the May Festival continued to grow, and the attention surrounding the traditional Saengerfests slowly died down. Though Saengerfests are still a part of the North American Sangerbund tradition, Cincinnati has not hosted Saengerfest since 1952 and the support has greatly dwindled. It is time to bring this Festival Back.
I love the heart behind the organizers of Saengerfest.
Two years ago, during the Spirit of Christmas Tour American Legacy Tours came across two revelations. First, that people love the churches and sacred spaces of Over-The-Rhine. Second, that these places need exposure. With the current renaissance in the community everyone from business owners, community non-profits, and developers have received assistance. The religious community has not, and we wanted to help generate exposure for the work these groups do. In some cases churches have membership of just 20 people, but serve the needs of over 300 people from GED training to soup kitchens.
During Saengerfest there are multiple choirs performing at multiple churches each hour. This gives attendees the option to chose their own adventure and experience the diverse beauty and talent offered. There are 9 choirs and 5 venues that will host the event.
*Washington Park has a parking garage that is central to all of the churches.
I’ve been given tickets (6) pairs to giveaway to Saengerfest for Friday or Saturday night!!