09 Apr 2015
April 9, 2015

New Info About the Saengerfest

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MGV Lyra Mens ChoirJune 5th, 2015 – Surrey, British Columbia – The Vancouver-based MGV Lyra German Men’s Choir will be hosting the 40th North Pacific Singing Festival in Surrey this year. Eight choirs, with more than 280 singers, will be participating. The choirs include German and Austrian mixed and men’s choirs from British Columbia, Washington and Oregon. The concert will culminate with a mass choir performance involving all participating singers.

Coinciding with this year’s Sängerfest, the hosting Vancouver-based MGV Lyra Choir will be celebrating its 50th anniversary. Their conductor is Ben Ewert, who studied choral music at both Trinity Western and Cambridge University in England.  Ewert’s long-term goal is to revitalize the Canadian choral scene and infuse it with youthful vibrancy.

Events such as the Sängerfest provide entertainment of significant cultural value and seek to uphold the noble tradition of German Song, which is, and will always be, part of the Austrian and German collective heritage. It is also an opportunity to celebrate and share German culture with a broad audience and build new connections within the community. The Lyra Choir is always happy to welcome new singers of all ages, and especially invites young people to be a part of this century old German Tradition.

This year’s program includes songs by well-known classical artists, such as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Franz Joseph Hadyn and Richard Wagner.  The prelude will be performed by local band “Edelweiss Musikanten” under the leadership of Karl Schindler, while the final song will be the famed Hallelujah Chorus by Georg Friedrich Handel.  Audience members will even be able to sing along to a well-known folk song named “Kein Schoener Land in dieser Zeit.”

The first festival was held in 1902 when choirs from the Pacific Northwest met in Seattle. From 1902 on, festivals were held either annually or every other year until 1936. After a pause during the difficult years of WW II, German choirs resumed their activities and reunited in 1952 to celebrate their first post-war and 15th Song Festival in Seattle, Washington. Since then, festivals have been held every two to three years, making the Society over 100 years old.

Media Contact:

Elke Porter
604 828 8788

Open House Westside German School


For those who can’t “see” jpegs on their computers, this Open House event takes place on Tuesday, April 28th, at 4:30 pm at the Carnarvon School on 3400 Balaclava St.


1.  Meet the principal and learn about their program

2. Open class rooms

3.  Kaffee und Kuchen (by donation)

4.  Check out the German media sale (by donation)

Anyone interested in signing their child up to German School is welcome to attend.

Danke Schoen!

Snowman Arts & Crafts

Besides having more money, stringent entrance exams and sometimes excluding children with special needs, which seems to come up in every single conversation about this topic, there are three major reasons why private schools are better: And they wouldn’t cost a lot to implement in public schools.

1.  Code of Conduct:  Private Schools almost always insist on a “Code of Conduct” – Children have to promise to behave, to do their homework, to respect teachers, fellow students and the environment they are in. Of course, it is much easier to teach if the students are actually behaving with discipline and the discipline is enforced.  Now you are perhaps thinking – public schools could not do this!  But I just got a notice home about my child riding on the public school bus and I had to sign a two-page “Code of Bus Conduct”, so it is possible.

2.  Parent Volunteering is Mandatory: Private Schools almost always insist that parents have to volunteer in some way.  And not just to raise the funds that the provincial government has taken out of the education budget.  Parents volunteer in the classroom, with field trips, special projects and donate their time and skills to make the school a better place. They are considered true partners to education.  In public schools whether parents are allowed in the classroom is up to the discretion of teachers and the principal and is often a “hit or miss” situation.

3.  Parent Board – Private schools have a board of parents who also do more than just fundraise (like the PAC’s).  They are also considered important and valid.  Just like in Ontario, where they have developed a parent engagement policy:

“The Ministry of Education, District School Boards and schools benefit not only from the important work parents do to help their children succeed in school, but also by ensuring that parent perspectives are heard and considered in developing policies and programs at the provincial, regional and local levels.”

This policy also points out that:

There is a direct connection between parent engagement and:

• Improved academic achievement
• More positive attitudes about school
• More success with homework
• Higher rates of high school graduation
• More consistent school attendance
• Fewer behaviour problems
• A brighter future for students at school and later in life

In British Columbia, it seems that public schools just want the parents to fundraise and then to keep out of everything else, in spite of what their policies officially say.

This is why public support for private schools, independent schools, charter schools and homeschooling programs continue to grow. Parental choice will soon become mandatory.

Instead of traditional learning and parental support, public schools seem to trying to encourage politics, progressive rapid-fire changes and more focus on learning that involves no report cards, core courses or accountability.  This is nothing directly to do with money or fundraising, but clashing world views and clashing ideologies.  More tax payers dollars will not help.  Private schools are better because they haven’t forgotten one of the major stakeholders – parents.

According to my Facebook Page: Germans in Vancouver

As page manager, I am constantly trying to share relevant, interesting stories with my subscribers. Then, I can see how many people it reaches, who liked it and who shared it. It constantly fascinates me, which articles or topics get popular, and which ones don’t. It is a great way to learn more about the German Community here in Vancouver.

I have learned that the most popular items seem to be:
a. German bread
b. German Beer
c. German restaurants

BratwurstIn other words, food and drink!

Ok, that takes care of the top 3 most popular post topics. I guess the best way to the German Communities heart is through their tummies!

The only other popular post on my page was: “How to Parent Like a German.”

Now, other post that are popular are German-related events with topics, such as passive house, music, German holidays (Fasching, St. Martins Festival, Nikolausfest etc.), festivals, German cars, soccer, FIFA, Olympics, German language learning etc. Politics don’t seem that popular, which makes sense as when you live here, what happens in Germany isn’t as relevant and some people are still in the position where they can’t vote here yet anyways.

Finally, job postings are popular. Among students, travellers, work & travel visa holders. newcomers, immigrants, ex-pats and spouses of someone who is now working here in the consulate or as a professor at UBC etc.

People are always asking me how to either reach the German Community or how to sell to the German Community, and my advice would be to offer German food and drink, especially if you can get a hold of something that is not readily available in Vancouver or British Columbia. Or, you might want to offer a German related event, such as a festival, a puppet show, a concert or holiday celebration that brings the community together. Finally, you could offer useful information for job seekers and students.

At least that is what my Facebook Statistics seem to say!

Questions for readers:
a. What do you like to read about on Facebook or on blogs?
b. Are you trying to sell or promote your product/service to the German Community?
c. What are some posts you do not want to see on social media?

40th Anniversary Sängerfest of the Nord Pacific Sängerbund to be held this spring in Surrey, British Columbia

Nord Pacific SaengerbundJune 5th, 2015 – Surrey, British Columbia – The Vancouver-based MGV Lyra German Men’s Choir will be hosting the 40th Anniversary of the North Pacific Sängerbund in June 2015. Eight choirs, with more than 280 singers, will be participating in this exciting event. The individual performing choirs include German and Austrian mixed and male choirs from British Columbia, Washington and Oregon. The concert will culminate with a mass choir performance consisting of all participating singers.

The event will be held on June 5th, 2015 at the Chandos Pattison Auditorium in Surrey, British Columbia. Tickets can be purchased by contacting Rudy Milz at (604) 987-2838. The cost is twenty dollars.

The Sängerfest has a very long history and is proud to be celebrating its 40th anniversary. The first festival was held in 1902 when choirs from the Pacific Northwest gathered in Seattle. From 1902 on, festivals were held either annually or every other year until 1936. After a pause during the difficult years of WW II, German choirs resumed their activities and reunited in 1952 to celebrate their first post-war and 15th Song Festival in Seattle, Washington. Since then, festivals have been held every two to three years.

Coinciding with this year’s Sängerfest, the hosting Vancouver-based choir (MGV Lyra) will be celebrating its 50th anniversary. Under the guidance of very dedicated conductors, the powerful voices of the Lyra Men’s Choir have resounded in many communities throughout British Columbia and the United States. The four extended concert tours through Germany are also highlights of the choir’s fifty-year existence.

Events such as this year’s Sängerfest provides enjoyable entertainment of significant cultural value and seeks to uphold the noble tradition of German Song, which is, and will always be, part of our collective heritage. It is also an opportunity to celebrate and share German culture with a broad audience and build new connections within the community.

Quotes “MGV Lyra is proud to be hosting this year’s Sängerfest. It is an opportunity to jointly celebrate our club’s 50th anniversary and the 40th Sängerfest in the Pacific Northwest. We look forward to celebrating German culture and language through this festival and sharing our love of choral singing with the community at large.”

Horst Zimmermann, Chairman of the Event Committee

“I am honoured that MGV Lyra will be hosting this year’s Sängerfest. Singing in the choir has influenced my life greatly. Our club is more than a social group; it is a family. I am very excited that our choir can share its love for German singing and culture with the broader community.”

Dieter Momeyer, Past President of MGV Lyra For more information:

Horst Zimmermann Chairman of the Event Committee
Phone: (604) 371-2409
Email: horst.zimmermann@nordpacificsaengerbund.com
Website: www.nordpacificsaengerbund.com

Beautiful Vancouver CityThe au Pair movements were first authorized between Canada, France and Germany in March, 1970 as a result of requests from the German Government, a private placement agency in France and a private placement agency in Toronto. They were subsequently expanded to include movements between Canada, Switzerland and Australia; however, the latter movement did not become operational due to delays in deciding upon placement responsibility.

While young women in France, Germany and Switzerland availed themselves of the opportunities offered as Au Pair in Canada, there was a lack of interest on the part of Canadian women. There was a strong demand for Au Pair in urban areas; however, this service was provided almost exclusively in the Toronto area by one private placement agency, which charged a fee for its services.

In 1975, it was decided to end the original program. Then, in 1990, an Au Pair Study Canada Program pilot project was established by External Affairs and the Canadian Coalition of In-Home Care, The pilot was based in Toronto and Ottawa and was administered by the Canadian Federation of Students. The coalition was not given this role due to its association with profit-making placement agencies. Because the pilot was a social-cultural exchange, it did not compete with the Foreign Domestic Movement. Pilot participants aged 18 to 28 learned about Canada and its culture by attending school and living with a Canadian family. In exchange for room and board and $80 a week, youth did light housekeeping and childcare not exceedingly a week maximum of 24 hours. External Affairs invested approximately $40,000 in start-up funding.
After one-year of operation, the pilot was discontinued. Only 100 youth had participated in the project. Failure was attributed to several things, including employers wanting more help than the 24 hour-weekly maximum and the lack of capacity on the part o the Canadian Federation of Students to recruit foreign youth.
Since then, there have been some representations to support an Au Pair Program in Canada. Further proposals would need to address issues that have arisen in the part, such as:

  • What type of protection against abuse and exploitation could be offered to participants in view of the lack of protection offered under provincial employment standards legislation for part-time domestic workers?
  • How and where would participants be chosen and by whom?
  • How would the problems which arose during the previous pilot project be avoided?
  • What fees would be charged to the youth participants and the Canadian families?
  • What costs would be covered by the federal government, by the Canadian families and by the participants?
  • How would an Au Pair program differ from the current live-in Caregiver Program?

    As the idea behind an Au Pair program is a cultural exchange, it requires other countries who would be willing to reciprocate and Canadians who are willing to go abroad and do this type of temporary part-time work. As noted above, this was the major downfall of the previous programs. However, should you wish to submit a proposal for an Au Pair Program, please send it to:

    Temporary Resident Policy and Programs
    300 Slater Street, 7th Floor
    Ottowa, Ontario
    K1A 1L1

    09 Mar 2015
    March 9, 2015

    Volunteer for Germany this May

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    European Festival Has a German Table that Needs Volunteers

    Germany TentThe European Festival, found at www.europeanfestival.ca has around 30 countries participating on May 30th and 31st, 2015 (Saturday/Sunday).

    Each country receives one culture table that needs volunteers. So far, we have around 4 people willing to help out Saturday, but need people to help out on Sunday.

    If we have two people each taking 2 hour shifts, we need 4 more for Saturday and 8 for Sunday.

    If you are interested in participating, or have great ideas on how to decorate/set up the Germany Table – FIFA World Cup memorabilia? Beerstein Collections? Classic German Authors? Knowledge about the local German Community in BC? – please respond to this blog post.

    You can also share this with your friends and family.

    Each volunteer will receive free entry to the Festival. Gates open at 11 am on both days.

    Tickets will be $10 for a weekend pass at the gate ($8 online)
    Children under the age of 12 are free

    $1 will be charged per activity for children at the Festival. A booklet with activity vouchers will be available at the gates.

    Kecia has been representing Germany at the monthly meetings and we are grateful for all of her hard work and hope to support her at the German Table at the Festival this year.

    German News from the West Coast of Canada & the US

    April CoverWestcoast German News started as a newsletter originally called “German Voices Vancouver”. I felt that changing it to add “news” to the title would instantly let people know what my newsletter was about. With a more generic name like “German Voices”, I had people who imagined we were a singing group or a closed group that wasn’t meant for the general public. For a couple of years I published a monthly newsletter, then I changed the format to a digital magazine and now I am just blogging as topics and events come up.

    The German language and the German community is dying out in Vancouver, and it is also made of out of two distinct groups: those who left Germany after World I and II with a backpack to make a better life for themselves and those who moved here with “containers” of their households and who have jobs as professors at UBC, or scientists, or as consultants or who are running their own business with products from Germany. The ones who came here in the 1940’s to 1960’s often entered the “trades” and many made a great life for themselves, also, but they are now in their 70’s, 80’s or 90’s and soon the German Community will no longer have these reminders of the way things were. In short, we are in a time of true transition with multiculturalism shaping the direction everything is moving towards.

    So what can you expect from Westcoast German News? Here are some frequently asked questions:

    1. Who is my audience? Germans living on the west coast of Canada and US are the primary target market, but I also have people selling to the German market, selling German products or producing German-related events, although not German themselves. A new aspect of my blog is to promote people making movies, creating works of art or performing as bands/singers, whether they live locally or in Germany, Austria or Switzerland. It is a shrinking world, after all!

    2. What is my goal? Westcoast German News is there to share news about German-related activity on the west coast, as most German businesses or non-profits still seem centered in Ontario or Quebec. Yet, it seems that everywhere I go, I hear Germans, meet Swiss or run across Austrians. And I live in Vancouver! It seems that many people have made a success for themselves without seeming to need help from the German community, so people don’t always connect and bond like other communities. It is also a lot of work to continuously monitor what others are doing, rather than having one place that connects everyone. That can be a fulltime job.

    3. Where do I get my stories? I try to connect with everyone and every group, but am constantly surprised to find new articles or events, thanks to social media. I myself have a Facebook Page called “Germans in Vancouver”. Then, I am a director of the German Canadian Business Association and manage that Facebook Page. I also have a “Westcoast German News” page and a page called Vancouver Tourists. I subscribe to every media outlet in town, I follow passive house groups, FIFA World Cup Groups, German Consulate Vancouver, German-Canadian Care Home, St. Mark’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, the Vancouver Alpenclub, the Christmas Market, Harvest Haus etc.

    4. How do I support businesses? I have a page for entrepreneurs and business owners, where they can advertise their business for only $5 a month. The advertisement also includes a link to their website, mention on Facebook and, if wanted, a blog post on Westcoast German News.

    5. How do I support non-profits and charities? I have a new businesses directory that will hopefully include all the basic German information in Vancouver and/or British Columbia by the time it is done. Want to know where to find the Artisan Bakery? Check out the directory. Want to know where to sign your children up to German classes? Check the directory.

    6. How do I support Evevents? Either I blog about them, share pictures about them, or you can also use the advertising page at $5 a month.

    7. To Sum it All Up – Finally, the Westcoast German News blog is there to strengthen the ties of the German Community. One of the often-heard remarks is that the community is quite splintered. Different German groups often have overlapping events, rather than spreading them out over the year. If everything is contained in one blog, then people can see what the availability in the calendar for German-speakers is like. Repeating events are the “Tag der Deutschen Einheit”, Sankt Martins Tag, Nikolausfest/Weihnachtsfest, Silvester (Neu Jahr), Fasching, Maifest, European Festival, Saengerfest (every 3 years) and then one-time events, such as Olympics, FIFA World Cup and now the FIFA Women’s World Cup.

    So, in short, please read this blog, share your events, advertise your business or services and keep the German community, language and culture alive in Vancouver and beyond.

    04 Mar 2015
    March 4, 2015

    “We are Germany” Initiative

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    Tolerance and diversity are integral values of German society. With “We are Germany,” Deutsche Welle (DW) is taking action to defend these values and speak out against social prejudice.

    Meike und ElizabethFamous personalities from German society have banded together to support tolerance and diversity for DW’s new photo campaign, “We are Germany.” Each segment will portray two famous faces from German public life.

    Participants will include World Cup champion Jérôme Boateng, double Olympic champion Katarina Witt, conductor Daniel Barenboim, comedians Hape Kerkeling and Kaya Yanar as well as violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter. Also participating are journalists representing all of DW’s 30 editorial languages.

    The goal of this initiative is to play a proactive role in the current debate on immigration in Europe through applying DW’s strengths in intercultural expertise and international awareness. As a central part of its legal mandate, DW provides the world a comprehensive view of life in Germany while simultaneously promoting intercultural dialogue.

    “We want to show the world that there is a positive social climate in Germany for everyone who wishes to live here,” says DW Director General Peter Limbourg. “The diversity of our population presents us with a distinct advantage. Those who have immigrated and now call Germany home only help to enrich the society – whether that be in sports, business or culture.”

    As a society, Germany has worked hard to establish a global reputation for tolerance and cosmopolitanism. “Germany has something to lose,” said Limbourg. “Germany is respected as a free society in the heart of Europe and German perspectives are sought after around the globe. We cannot allow a few individuals to divide our society. We must continue to take pride in our diversity and we have show the world what is really important – tolerance and open-mindedness.”

    “We are Germany” will be featured primarily on DW’s various social media platforms, relying on its 10 million Facebook fans and Twitter followers as well as its 150 million monthly active users to help spread the word. DW is hopeful that this initiative will help start a global discussion and invites people from around the world to participate by uploading tandem portraits, which will be featured on a special website.

    28 Feb 2015
    February 28, 2015

    German Canadian Care Home March Events

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    24.Februar 2015

    Liebe Freunde und Mitglieder des
    Deutsch- Kanadischen Hilfswerkes von BC,

    Zur Freundlichern Erinnerung:

    Programm für den Monat März:

    14. März Vortrag: “Heimat” – Was und wo ist das?“

    Eine sehr persönliche Frage im Angesicht der Globalisierung unseres Lebens.

    Pastor Hardo Ermisch
    “Ich lade zu einem zwanglosen Erfahrungsaustausch zu dem komplexen Thema “Heimat” ein. Jeder hat eine Heimat und ist deshalb auch kompetent mitzureden. Die Beziehung zur Heimat ist eine sehr persönliche Angelegenheit und deshalb für viele auch ein emotionales Thema. Uns wird die Frage beschäftigen, wie wir Heimat definieren. In diesem Zusammenhang werden wir auch der Frage nachgehen, ob der Begriff Heimat eventuell nur eine Utopie ist, wie der Jurist und Schriftsteller Bernhard Schlink in seinem Essay “Heimat als Utopie” zu bedenken gibt. Auch werden wir darüber ins Gespräch kommen, ob sich der Begriff Heimat u.U. für junge Menschen verändert hat, die sich als Europäer oder Global Citizen verstehen.

    Mein Ziel ist die Vielschichtigkeit dessen aufzuzeigen, was mit dem Begriff Heimat angesprochen wird, der ja durchaus auch ein politischer Begriff ist und in Vergangenheit und Gegenwart nicht nur die Gemüter bewegt hat sondern auch missbraucht worden ist und zu Auseinandersetzungen geführt hat.“

    14. März Film: Die Bücherdiebin

    Das Original erschien 2005 in Australien als Roman für junge Erwachsene und wurde sehr schnell zum Welt-Bestseller in über 40 Sprachen.Die Dreharbeiten fanden in Potsdamm statt. Am 13. März 2014 kam der Film bundesweit in die Kinos. Die Hauptrollen spielen Geoffrey Rush, Emily Watson, Sophie Nélisse und Heike Makatsch.

    Die Handlung spielt in Deutschland, vor und während des Zweiten Weltkriegs. Der Erzähler ist der Tod, der die Seelen der Menschen mitnimmt und dem sein Beruf zutiefst zuwider ist. Der Roman beginnt 1939 bei München mit dem neunjährigen Mädchen Liesel Meminger. Aus kindlicher Perspektive werden ihre entscheidenden Erlebnisse während der Zeit des Nationalsozialismus geschildert. Eine zentrale Rolle spielen die – zumeist fiktiven – Bücher, die Liesel entweder geschenkt bekommt, mitgehen lässt oder heimlich ausleiht: Aus all diesen Büchern steht das Buch düster über allen Geschehnissen.

    Wie immer servieren wir um 14.00 Uhr Kaffee, Tee und Kuchen.

    Das Programm (Vortrag oder Film) folgt um 14:30 Uhr.

    Gäste und Interessenten sind stets willkommen.

    Wir freuen uns über Ihre Spende, die die Kosten für Kaffee, Kuchen und sonstige Auslagen tragen hilft.

    Mit freundlichen Grüßen

    Waltraud Custer

    Outreach Coordinator
    German Canadian Benevolent Society of BC
    2010 Harrison Drive
    Vancouver, BC, V5P 2P6
    604-713-6562 cell 604-263-4232