26 June 2017

Eintracht Gesängverein

On November 22, 1868, at 242 South Pearl Street- the Lokale of John Wass, Albany’s newest Gesängvereine or singing society came into existence as the Eintracht Singing Society.  Eintracht had eighteen founding members.  The group strove to cultivate German song and music becoming the largest and most respected singing society in Albany.  They met every Wednesday evening at 371 South Pearl Street, known as Andes’ Halle circa 1875 and later the location became known as Eintracht Halle.  
Eintracht also participated in numerous singing competitions in Albany and in surrounding locales.  They won first prize at many music festivals, including the gala sponsored by the Utica Maenner Chor in July 1874, at the event promoted by the Schenectady, New York Quartett Club in 1879, and also at the June 21, 1880 competition of the Troy Maenner Chor held at Troy Music Hall.  The Troy Männerchor welcomed and escorted the visiting societies to the music hall, and then treated them to a picnic at Young’s Grove.  Professor Peter Schneider, organist for the Irish Saint Mary’s Church in Albany, was one of the judges. Eintracht took third prize on August 24, 1880 at the Sängerfest of the Rondout, New York Social Maenner Chor.  Notably, in July 1882 Eintracht took home a prize at the Thirteenth National Sängerfest in Philadelphia.  Before leaving for the Sängerfest, Eintracht made a short parade through the streets, preceded by the Albany City Band to the steamboat landing where they embarked.  After the singing competition, Eintracht headed a grand parade of visiting societies and proceeded to Schuetzenpark in Philadelphia where judges awarded prizes.  
The society arranged and held a successful Saengerfest in Albany in 1878, and again on June 25, 1883 with a Grand Sängerfest held in Colling’s Grove.  Visiting societies came from Rondout, Schenectady, Hudson, and Troy.  There was no competition or awards surprisingly but much singing with “the woods r[i]ng[ing] with the merry shouts as the numerous tales of the Fatherland were related over beer glasses and pretzels.”[i]  Before the affair the Albany Argus reported- “the event is being looked forward to with much pleasurable anticipation, and will, no doubt, be one of an extreme social nature.”[ii]  
On July 23, 1883, both Eintracht and Cäcilia traveled to Rondout to attend the festival of its sister society.  The Twentieth Anniversary of the Beethoven Männerchor from New York City brought seventy-five members of Eintracht, the Rochester Männerchor, and the Utica Männerchor to the metropolis by train on July 20, 1884.  The Albany Argus detailed the return of the Eintrachts as royally received and banqueted by sister societies when,
At 7:45, last night, the Eintracht Singing society [sic] returned from their trip to New York city [sic].  They were met at the depot by the Mozart society and the Albany Maenner Quartette, headed by the Albany City band and escorted to Eintracht hall, on South Pearl street [sic].  …The Mozart club …and the MaennerQuartette … turned out about fifty members each.  The entire route of march was illuminated by colored fires, Roman candles and other pyrotechnic display, in honor of the old and favorite society.  …All three societies then sat down to an elaborate banquet and several hours were spent in a pleasant manner.[iii]

Eintracht sent seventy-nine singers to Syracuse for the Seventh Sängerfest of the Central New York Sängerbund in 1913.  
Aside from hosting and participating in singing competitions, Eintracht also held annual summer picnics complete with parades to the picnic grounds.  In 1886, Eintracht had 38 active, 175 passive, and 4 honorary members.  Eleven years later, the group numbered 32 active and 160 passive members. [iv]

[i] Albany Argus, June 26, 1883, 6:2.
[ii] Albany Argus, June 21, 1883, 8:4.
[iii] Albany Argus, July 25, 1884, 8:4.
[iv] Albany Argus, June 23, 1880, 8:4; June 29, 1882, 8:4; July 4, 1884, 8:4. Howell and Tenney, eds., History of the County of Albany, N. Y., pp. 744-745. Albany Täglicher Herold, Geschichte der Deutschen in Albany und Troy, pp. 77, 167.