Lebanon’s traditional Pennsylvania German choral group, the Lebanon Deutsche Harmonie Mäennerchor, recently won a statewide choral competition.
The 87th Sängerfest, sponsored by the United Singers’ Federation of Pennsylvania, was held in Lebanon on June 14-16 and featured five German choruses from throughout Pennsylvania. The competition was held at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Lebanon.
The Lebanon Maennerchor Chorus was formed in the early 1900s as an offshoot of the Maennerchor social club. The two organizations are still affiliated.
It is one of the oldest continuously performing choral groups in Lebanon County, and was originally for men only. In a move that was ahead of its time, the chorus and the social club opened to women in 1925, and they have been co-ed since.
The current roster consists of about 25 male and female singers, ranging from 19 to over 75. The longest standing member has been with the chorus for over 50 years.
The Maennerchor’s repertoire is more diverse than its name and strong German roots might suggest. Under the guidance of musical director Kenneth Horst, performances have featured works spanning centuries and genres, from pop tunes by Dolly Parton to African and Eastern European folk songs to Baroque, Madrigal, and Early American works.
“Overall, the key is experimentation,” said chorus president Lee Cessna. “Our musical director . . . is not afraid to experiment with our sound and repertoire. The challenge keeps our chorus constantly striving to better our craft.”
The chorus is always looking for new voices. If you are interested in helping to carry on the tradition you can go to its Facebook page (where you can see and hear the choir perform) or call Lee Cessna at 717-507-2751.