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First state Sängerfest held in New Braunfels


On this day in 1853, the first state Sängerfest, or singers' festival, began in New Braunfels. After a successful Fourth of July celebration in 1853, the New Braunfels Germania male singing society invited similar organizations from Austin, San Antonio, and Sisterdale to a two-day festival held in New Braunfels on October 15 and 16, 1853. Each group sang a cappella separately and joined together for works by Felix Mendelssohn and Heinrich Marschner. At the second Sängerfest, held in San Antonio in May 1854, when the societies formed the Texas State Sängerbund (Deutsch-Texanischer Sängerbund or German Texan Singers' League), participation extended to singers from Coletoville, La Grange, Indianola, and Victoria. Succeeding Sängerfeste were held in New Braunfels and Fredericksburg and brought added members or increased musical sophistication. Despite interruptions caused by the Civil War and World War I, the Sängerfeste survived and continue to this day. Wherever held, the festivals became the impetus for expanded musical activity on the purely local level, while they themselves ceased to be the sole property of the Germans as progressively more outsiders participated in the concerts and attended them.

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