Hailing from the Black Forest region of Germany, Talback Musikanten will perform at St. John's Parish Hall in Glandorf.
Hailing from the Black Forest region of Germany, Talback Musikanten will perform at St. John's Parish Hall in Glandorf. (photo submitted)

GLANDORF — Years ago, Father Hank Albietz was attending a family reunion in the Black Forest region of Germany. While there, he observed the rehearsal of a band that performs traditional German music, and asked if they had ever thought about performing in America. And so a tradition began, one that has continued for over 40 years.

Throughout that time, the band, Talback Musikanten (rough translation: Valley Creek Musicians) has regularly performed during Fort Loramie’s annual German Heritage Days. During the same visit, the band would also perform at the parish Father Albietz was then serving.

“Wherever I was stationed at, that would be their first stop,” Father Albietz relates. “And so, they would play at the party that we would have, and then at mass. After that, for a week, they travel. And then, they end up in Fort Loramie the following weekend for German Heritage Days.”

“I knew they needed a place to play the first weekend. So, it was just kind of a natural fit,” he continues. “They needed a place to play, and wherever I was, was very happy to host them.”

“I happened to be in Fort Loramie, when they came the first time,” he added a short time later. “I was the assistant at the parish. And, it just fit right into their German Heritage Days. Because they were bringing in German bands from all over the place. That’s how it started.”

Father Albietz has now retired, and is no longer assigned to a specific parish. As such, he’s unable to offer his parish as a performance opportunity for the band. This is where his former roommate, Harold Gerten of Columbus Grove, comes in.

“He came to me,” Mr. Gerten says, speaking of Father Albietz, “And he said, ‘Would we be interested in hosting the German band?’ And then, we could do a benefit, and help the local school out. And so, I said, ‘That sounds like a great opportunity here.’”

Mr. Gerten consulted with St. Anthony’s Parish in Columbus Grove, and the church soon agreed. However, it lacks much in the way of a performance space (the band requests that it include a dance floor). And so, St. John’s Parish in Glandorf was contacted, which agreed to host the event at no cost.

On Saturday, September 14, all in the community are welcome to St. John’s Parish Hall for “Unsere Deutsch-Amerikanische Feier,” or, “Our German-American Celebration.” The evening promises a traditional German supper, including traditional German desserts, and, of course, traditional German music courtesy of Talback Musikanten. The music will consist primarily of German waltzes and polkas.

The cost is $20 per person, pre-sale, or $25 at the door. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m., and the meal will begin serving at 5:45 p.m. To purchase tickets, call St. Anthony’s Parish Office at: 419-659-2263. Country Flowers has donated all flowers needed for the event. The Knights of Columbus will be preparing the meal that evening. The K of C will also prepare a breakfast following Mass the next day at St. Anthony’s church in Columbus Grove. All proceeds from the event will benefit St. Anthony of Padua School.

Attendees should not be surprised to find folks dressed in traditional German attire as well. Band members are unlikely to be the only men wearing lederhosen, and some women will be wearing dirndl dresses. Those who also own traditional German clothing are encouraged to wear their outfits too.

This is not to claim that only those with German heritage will enjoy the evening. The diocese regularly moves priests such as Father Albietz between parishes. As a result, Talback Musikanten has performed for a variety of different audiences.

At each parish he served, the band and its music has always been welcomed, as Father Albietz explains, “I was in Bellefontaine for nine years. And, Bellefontaine is a mix of everything. After that, I went to Wapak for six years. You’ve got some Germans, and some other people. After that, the last nine years, I was down Brown County, OH. Fayetteville is Irish and French, and Mt. Orab is, again, a whole mix of people. But it was okay. They accepted these guys and it went well.”