Friday, August 6, 2010

It’s already Saturday! Our time this week has flown past too quickly. Research, bookstore and library visits, SOAR, tours and workshops have kept us busy during the convention. If you haven’t already purchased your quilt raffle ticket or bid on the silent auction items, make that a priority this morning.

Dutch Hop Symposium
Session I: Dutch Hop: The Leap from the Old World to the New
Dr. Timothy J. Kloberdanz

Dutch hop music is close to the heart and soul of Germans from Russia and one of the great symbols of the German Russian culture.
Where did the Dutch Hop begin? Thousands of Germans from Russian participate in this tradition however not all share this art form. The Dutch Hop represents a leap from some Volga German villages to cities of the central plains states to the Rocky Mountains.

Rosalinda Kloberdanz and Timothy J. Kloberdanz

The Dutch Hop was practiced at a vast array of celebrations from weddings to anniversaries yet:
· It has nothing to do with Dutch culture
· It is not a hop. Dutch hoppers don’t hop, they stroll but with oomph.
· It does share spontaneity since there are no written arrangements, no prepared steps.
· And some of these customs were picked up from the Ukrainians.
Some of the Traditions include:
· Wedding march on dance floor
· Special honor dances for parents
· Special dance for wedding cooks includes breaking a dish on the floor
· Theft and ransom of bride’s shoe
· Women dress like men, men dress like women
· Carrying the bride and groom in chairs around the dance floor
How did the term Dutch Hop get started? Adolph Lesser claimed the term originated as a cover term. Before World War II these events were called German dances. Anti German sentiments caused the transition to the term Dutch hop yet he does not know who originally coined the phrase.
Today the ten thousand mile leap of the Dutch Hop continues to thrive with the next generation as new musicians learn the music and perform with us today.
Dutch Hop Symposium
Session II: Dutch Hop: Polka with Attitude! A Conversation with Musicians
Gwen K. Meister

The River Boys Dutch Hop Band members are:
· Robert Schmer, accordion and band leader
· Steve Deines, bass and vocals
· Jerry Hergenreder, trombone and vocals
· Joe Herman, hammered dulcimer
Each member shared how they got involved with Dutch Hop music. Most of them were born into the Dutch Hop tradition, and one was already on the dance floor when his mother was pregnant with him.
The band performs regularly at wedding and dances. They enjoy being at conventions like this to share the music with those who may not be familiar with the sounds of the dulcimer, accordion, bass, and trombone. One of their most memorable shows was performing at the Kennedy Arts Center and the Folk Art Center at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. yet every show evokes specific and vivid memories for the musicians.
The River Boys: Steve Deines, Joe Herman, Robert Schmer and Jerry Hergenreder

It’s interesting to note that the Dutch hop musicians do not refer to sheet music to play. They have picked up the songs by ear and play without reading music and this makes the music fun for them. The band works together to go with the flow and they enjoy the crowd as much as the crowd enjoys them. If the band gets distracted by the dancers and forget where they are in the song, they will always find their way back to it. Most of the musicians learned to play by on to job training.

Dutch hop bands don’t play concerts per se. It’s the dancing that makes the music and the songs more adaptable. If the dancers are enjoying it, the band will play the long version or play the song again. If the mood shifts, they will play a shorter version.

While the musicians carry on the Dutch Hop tradition, the number of dancers was dwindled. The band hopes for more dancers to help carry on the interaction which is critical to the success of this music.

Dutch Hop Symposium
Session III: Dutch Hop: Dance with a Bounce! A Conversation with Dancers
Georgia Wier and Anne Hatch, Facilitators

Dancers Dorothy Richard, Stan Schilling, Al Kukus, Marol (Klein) Goodwin, Lila Ellard, Wally Schmidt, Tim and Mary Trostel and Gene Wilkens shared their stories of how Dutch Hop has been and remains a part of their lives. From two day weddings to dancing on their parents’ shoulders to learning the dance only recently, these dancers clearly showed their joy when it comes to the Dutch Hop. The dance is not choreographed and since there are no costumes or uniforms, this tradition is truly by and for the people.

Food Demonstration-German Sausage
Paul Loos at Immanuel Lutheran Church
Photos Courtesy of Donald Riemer

It’s All Earth and Sky is the sixth documentary in the Prairie Public’s series about the legacy of the German from Russia.

This collaborative effort was written by Dona Reeves-Marquardt and Lewis R. Marquardt, produced by Bob Dambach, and edited by Ryan Sailer. Executive producers were Bob Dambach and Michael M. Miller.
Major funding produced by Arthur E. and Cleora (Reutscher) Flegel, North Dakota State University Libraries’ German from Russia Heritage Collection and the members of Prairie Public.

The documentary revolves around interviews of five representative Germans from Russia, who have attained success and stability. They share their insights on becoming American and assimilation.

Everyone enjoyed the presentation as clearly evidenced by the lines in the bookstore to purchase the DVD immediately after the show. The video is ideal to share with our children, grandchildren and as a program for our chapter meetings. The documentary is dedicated to Margaret Aman Freeman.
More photos from the entire convention will be added as time permits over the next week. See you next year in Salt Lake City!

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