From Texas Public Radio:
There aren’t a lot of things that are still going strong 150 years after their inception. I recently spoke with several men who feel their group is something worth singing about. Georg Seidel explains his family’s link to the group.
“My grandparents migrated from Germany in 1922. They landed in Ellis Island, and they came by train to New Braunfels. When they got to Austin, somebody met ’em there, and the New Braunfels German Choir got wind of it, and greeted ’em in song.”
Which is to say they too, a long journey across the ocean, were checked in and became Americans at Ellis Island, then took a train ride across the massive United States, only to be greeted in Austin by a choir singing songs to them in their native language. It must have been overwhelming!
“My grandfather was so impressed that he joined the group the next day, and eventually became director for choirs in New Braunfels.”
The mid-1800s migration of Germans to Texas primarily centered in the Hill Country and San Antonio. As late as 1880 one of every three San Antonians was a German immigrant.
“In New Braunfels at that time everybody spoke German. It was a German town. My grandparents knew very little English at that time; they spoke German at home.”
And one of the ways that these German Americans kept their culture alive was by establishing a place to meet and to sing. They did so, and the place’s name is itself quite musical.