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Waldkirch Orgelfest 2005

Waldkirch, Germany

Terry and his wife attended the 2005 Orgelfest in Waldkirch, Germany. From the ruins of a castle we look down on a town famous for its history of street organ builders. Owners of organs large and small, old and new, brought their instruments to the festival.
There were organs on carts all over the downtown area. Often several members of a family were there, in costume, to entertain. There is a tradition of singing along with the organ, and these folks even handed out the words. The crowd joined in with gusto. But, alas, you had to be a local German to understand the regional German text and humor.

There were old barrel organs that sounded as good as new, and many newer organs playing with punched paper. A troup from Chile included an organ grinder and two dancers with bass drums on their backs
Many large organs were positioned throughout the town. These organs played with folding cardboard books. This one has Norwegian owners. Another one was trucked from England. Elaborate decorations are part of the tradition of the old organs.
Another tradition is the singing of “moritaten” or stories. These tend to be a bit gruesome, with their historical basis being the news of the day. Even with the pictures to assist with the story, you really have to be a local German to fully appreciate them.
A unique feature this year was a jazz band playing dixieland style along with a street organ. The drummer had headphones so he could hear the organ’s woodblock for tempo to keep the band and organ playing together. When the organ started varying its tempo, it got a little scary, but they ended, triumphfully, together!