My husband Dave has been singing in the Men of Song choir at Bethel Mennonite Church this past year. On Sunday they took part in a Saengerfest to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Mennonite Heritage Village Museum in Steinbach. A Saengerfest is a singing festival and the tradition of these festivals goes back to the Mennonite settlements in Ukraine where choirs from many different villages would get together to perform for one another and sing together.
The Evangeliums Christen Gemeinde of Steinbach choir sang next. Their first pieces were performed by a men’s only choir. They opened with a Russian song. The members of the choir belong to families who lived in Russia, immigrated to Germany and have now settled in Steinbach. The final group was directed by Leona Hildebrand and included members from several Mennonite churches in the Steinbach area.
Then the three choirs joined forces for three beautiful numbers- How Can I Keep From Singing- Gott ist die Liebe arranged by Esther Wiebe and O God Our Help in Ages Past. Music has always played a very important role in Mennonite churches and communities so it was fitting to celebrate the 50th anniversary of a Mennonite Museum with a song festival. I enjoyed my chance to hear my husband sing and also appreciated the opportunity it provided to visit with many of my Steinbach acquaintances.
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