AVC EDELWEISS DANCERS
Since our Group has been around for over 40 years, there are so many stories to tell but we can’t tell them all. Here are a few highlights.
1975 - Fred Kersche started dancing when he was 14 years old. Shortly thereafter, he had his very first performance with his partner who was an old widow, in her 30s. Everything was going fine until she fainted while they were going through the last trio. Poor Fred had to drag a limp partner through the last few notes. He told his mom, Mitzi, that he was going to quit after that but are we lucky that he didn't. He later went on to teach the KinderSchuhplattler group for six years.
2002 – We were lucky enough to have two groups from Austria visit us. The first was at Easter, the MGV Männerchor, Fürstenfeld mit Frauenchor . They hosted one of our shows and a Heuriger evening for us in Austria. Some of us went with them on a boat cruise around Vancouver and then met up at the Club for dinner and casual fun evening. Speeches, speeches, speeches – a lot of them were made that night. We had a show together with them on the Sunday evening which was alot of fun. After the show, Eric, Tony and Brenda joined them at a bar downtown for drinks and nachos. Some of them thought the nachos were very strange food but we were surprised at how quickly they were gobbled up. They left Vancouver on Monday and Brenda met them at their hotel to say good-bye and Eric and Tony went to the airport. We had a couple of great nights together and hope to see them again soon.
The second group was the VTG Kremsbrücke from Kärnten. They were a combined band, dance group and traditional music group and some singers thrown in for variety. Their tour was short and full of events. We got to spend some time with them and hope they enjoyed themselves. Tony, Eric and Tom took some of the guys and a couple of girls for go-cart driving, paintball playing (ouch!) and to a local watering hole. The men dancers taught themselves Schuhplattle because they thought it would be a nice addition to their show. They didn't know that there was Schuhplattle here and were amazed when they saw us. We had a show elsewhere on the Saturday but went back to the Club afterwards to party and dance with them. Things seemed pretty quiet when we got there (many people were already gone as it was a folk entertainment evening and not much dancing) but we tried to liven things up. Their band went back to playing and we did some dancing and they taught us some folkdancing which was lots of fun. Afterwards, we all joined them at their hotel til the wee hours of the morning. The next day, Eric, Tony, Brenda and Tanya went to the airport to say good-bye. Great young group, lots of fun. Prost! Contact!
2005 - In May, a large number of our dancers flew to Calgary to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Schuhplattler Verein Enzian's (SVE). Wow - 50 years, what a terrific milestone. They had a two day event with a sit down meal on Friday and a buffet on Saturday and performances both nights by the SVE and visiting groups (us and Edmonton). They held a raffle to raise money on both nights and had some really great donations. It was neat to see some of their founding members still participate in the group dance. It was a great event and we all enjoyed seeing each other again. For their anniversary gift, we presented them with a hand-made stained glass of their group emblem. There was much debate over who's house it would reside in.
In June, the Seattle Enzian celebrated their 40th Anniversary. Another major milestone! They too had many guests - us and a few from the Calgary group, Portland and San Francisco. They had a nice casual meet and greet on Friday at their club with lots of drinks (alcoholic and non-alchoholic) and platters of sandwiches. Saturday began with a workshop where we all worked on new dances, old dances, some folkdances and the girls worked on their turning. We didn't have much time after that afternoon to get back to our hotel, shower, change and to get back to the Burien Elks Lodge for the event. There were many speeches, Ehrentaenze by the guest groups and group dance with all the old members. We presented them with a hand-painted plaque in commemoration of the event. On the Sunday, they had planned a light brunch at their hall and we all got a chance to try snapping their horse whips. It was a great weekend and our friendships with the different groups grows stronger every time.
2007 – Our friends from the VTG Krems in Austria came over for a 16-day trip to Calgary and Vancouver. After arriving in Vancouver, they did a few touristy events (harbour cruise, Grouse Mountain) and headed to Vancouver Island to Tofino and Long Beach. It was a short trip to the island as the next day they came back to the mainland and proceeded to pick up a few of our members and went camping. Some of us were already at the campsite (Coalmont, BC) and setting up tents and sleeping bags for their late arrival.
They finally arrived at approximately 8pm and we learned their tale of bus hell. On the way to Tofino, their bus broke down on the highway (and it partly blocked the traffic). Their driver had to hitchhike into town, arrange a school bus to pick them up and to order a replacement bus. The next day, they made it back to the mainland and went to pick up our members and were then told that they had to change buses. The new bus turned out to be a lemon. They ended up not being able to go faster than 50km/hour and if they did, the engine shut down. This happened continuously along the highway and they were put in danger as the bus stopped on the side of the highway with no shoulder. They made it almost to the campsite and then the driver didn't want to drive any further. Luckily, they were within walking distance so Tony drove up to load their bags and they all started singing and walking to the site. They were very hungry as they didn't stop to eat for fear that they would never make it! What luck that we had just put some bratwurst on the grill!!
For the next two days, we all enjoyed gorgeous sun (but cold evenings). We had arranged ATV riding in the mountains, walks in the local old mining town, horseback riding and a winery tour. The horseback riding and winery tour were over an hour away and everybody had to board a new replacement bus. As everybody came back later that night, it was told that the driver was very scary and some people had to keep their eyes closed.
The last night was the best night. Lots of drinking around the fire, lots of accordian playing, some dancing and the conga line through the tents. What fun!! The next morning the bus picked them up (with the group saying their prayers). They survived the drive as we saw them later that night at the Austrian Club for the Schuetzenfest where they did a performance. Some of them also participated in the shooting competition and took home top prizes!
Everybody had a great time and we look forward to continuing the friendship with them. They are welcome back any time.
2007 – present - We have been very busy over the last several years. We have performed throughout Metro Vancouver, Port Alberni, and Leavenworth as well as attended:
· Gaufeste in Florida (2011), Ohio (2009 & 2013), and Milwaukee (2015)
· Bavarian Schuhplattlers of Edmonton’s 40th Anniversary (as well as Western Cdn Schuhplattler Workshop held at the same time) (2011)
· Enzian Schuhplattler's (Seattle) Fahnenweihe in September 2013
· West Bezirksfeste in 2014, 2015 and 2016
· Western Cdn Schuhplattler Workshop weekend hosted by the Regina Edelweiss Dancers (2014)
· Enzian Schuhplattler's (Seattle) 50th Anniversary in Leavenworth (2015)
In the fall of 1996, we decided to create an award named the "Woitowitsch" after one of our dancers (see 1996 story). The award is given to a dancer that has caused a mishap to happen against him or herself at a group function. This award was given out for 14 years before it was retired.
March 1998, ABC Movie of the Week, "Crimes of Passion: One Hot Summer Night", starring Erika Eleniak, Barry Bostwick and Christopher Darden.
November 1998, Disney Productions, "I'll Be Home for Christmas", starring Jonathan Taylor Thomas.
Fall 1998, Warrior Productions, "Shadow Warriors II", starring Hulk Hogan, Carl Weathers & Shannon Tweed.