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Thursday, 3 July 2014

Waldkirch - part 2

Waldkirch orgelfest continued (see also part 1): On Sunday morning we visited the organ workshop of Achim Schnieder who makes incredible instruments - lovely street organs and musical boxes. We had a tour of his workshop and looked at the collection of strange automata type instruments built from scrap with a group of local school children as part of an education / engineering project.  The instruments were mainly for sound effects as part of a musical performance later that day, however visitors could try them out.  DollMum's younger daughter, Laura and Reuben tried out this pedal barrel operated guitar and drum playing combination (you pedalled and operated a lever to change the 'finger position' on the guitar which was strummed by a barrel pinned with brushes and could at the same time pull a cord to make the green drummer above hit the drum).
Laura, Reuben & DollMum's daughter try out the music machine
The guitar and drum machine
At the organ workshop of Jäger und Brommer Laura and Reuben encountered a small colourful street organ which a perspex case which made it possible to see how the organ works inside.

Colourful street organ (busker organ)
side view of the colourful street organ
There was an unclothed barrel organ monkey hanging from a shelf, showing how its body is constructed.

Barrel organ monkey at Jäger und Brommer
Some of the street organs were being demonstrated in the workshop.  This little street organ has dancing couples which turn with the music.

Reuben and Laura enjoy the dancing figures street organ
Watching and listening to a small street organ at Jäger und Brommer
Laura, Reuben and DollMum's daughter at Jäger und Brommer
Listening to the dancing figures street organ
In the rain we walked to the Eltzalmuseum of Organs, which is a museum at the heart of the town filled with the history of Waldkirch including a sizeable collection of instruments built in the town in the past 150 years. The museum was very busy, with regular tours, and especially so in the rain!  15 years ago this special organ was commissioned as a joint project built by all the organ builders in the town and launched at the 1999 Orgelfest - it was designed with children in mind and is called 'Altobella Furiosa', with the visual design by Otmar Alt.  It is a firm favourite in our family.  During the festival it is brought out of the museum (down a ramp on the main steps) to play outside however they also play it indoors (it is quite loud).  Laura and Reuben decided to pose in front of it (not playing at the time).  You can watch a video of Altobella Furiosa playing an amazing Blues Brothers arrangement at
Laura and Reuben with Altobella Furiosa
Laura and Reuben with Altobella Furiosa
They also posed with Altobella Furiosa's little companion street organ.
Laura and Reuben with the companion street organ
Laura and Reuben with the companion street organ
In the museum the public can play some of the instruments.  This Jäger and Brommer street organ has paper roll music and anyone can hand turn it to play it.
Watching the Jäger und Brommer street organ being turned in the museum
Watching the paper roll being rewound to be replayed
Laura and Reuben help DollMum's daughter turn the street organ
In the museum basement are several of the larger organs in the collection.  The Swiss Alpen horns were meant to be playing outside however it was very wet so they played indoors instead.
Swiss Alpen horns being played in the Elztal museum
Outside on the stage beside the museum was the newly built organ with a 'pop art' style facade designed by Otmar Alt.  This instrument had been demonstrated for the first time on the Friday evening, however it isn't yet complete and the stage was used by other performers throughout the weekend.  Organo Caribe are a German group who specialise in playing Caribbean style music with their little street organ, we have a CD of theirs which is a favourite for long car journeys.  See and hear a short video of Organo Caribe at
Organo Caribe play outside the museum in the rain
Sadly all festivals come to an end and most organs on display stopped playing after 5:30 pm.  We returned to our hotel and had dinner with a group of visitors from the USA who always come to our hotel for their last night meal at the festival.  After dinner Laura and Reuben sneaked out to stand in the same spot where Peter and Matroshka had stood three years before.

Laura and Reuben pose outside Altersbach hotel
Laura and Reuben pose outside Altersbach hotel
The hotel owners have a street organ which they had used to welcome the American party.  In their display cabinet was a lovely little Bavarian doll, Reuben and Laura greeted her through the glass.
Reuben and Laura greet the little Bavarian girl in the display cabinet at Altersbach
The little Bavarian doll at Altersbach
On Monday we drove all the way back to the ferry.  It is a very long way (to Strasbourg then on the north French motorways).  We are always sad to leave the organ town of Waldkirch and the lovely people at the hotel.

Laura and Reuben wave goodbye to France
DollMum's younger daughter
drew this picture of Laura and Reuben on the ferry
Just in case you're wondering about their clothes, you may recognise Laura's outfit as the Autumn Swap pinafore set sent to me by Anne in Germany who has the Sasha Comoneo crew.  She knows the Black Forest well, so it was appropriate to bring this outfit with us.  Reuben's outfit is actually his Pinehurst school outfit without the blazer and with the addition of brightly coloured braces which I constructed on the Sunday morning from some ribbon I had brought with me.


Dee said...

What a wonderful trip Laura and Reuben had.I'm surprised they did not bring back an Organ of their own! Some were very small!
Laura wearing the lovely swap outfit from Anne in Germany was a lovely touch and Reuben's braces perfect!
Everyone must have been sad to leave but with great memories of a wonderful visit.

DollMum said...

Wait and see - another blog post to follow about Waldkirch though it involves taking some more photos back home and I'm not sure when that will happen. I was really pleased with the fact that I had the outfit from Anne as I hadn't the time to make a dirndl dress for Laura. Reuben's braces were stitched to his shorts, I would have liked to have used press-studs but time didn't allow. We LOVE going to the festival (this was my 6th of the 11) and even with all that driving the girls are determined we'll go again in 3 years time.

Ginger said...

Another great post! I did notice Laura's dress and beautiful pinny! What a great swap gift from Anne--so bright and cheery--love it! Also, I am learning that braces are suspenders??? How clever that you made them from ribbons while you were there--wonderful to help Reuben to fit in with the town.

I really enjoyed the musical photos of the organs and the doll in wonderful displays. So colorful and pleasing to the eye. The parting photo from the ferry was very touching too. Another trip to look forward to in the future :) xx

Sharon said...

This trip was really great....and that is even as an armchair traveller reading your blog! I've enjoyed seeing the kids, (flesh and vinyl) enjoying the organs and the well as hearing all about how they're made etc. Also it was very nice seeing them in their outfits!
I particularly liked seeing the organ grinders monkey, he's very cute and it was great seeing how he is constructed.
Hugs Sharon x

Rosie said...

Not surprised you return to this festival - it looks wonderful.
So interesting to see the insides of the instruments and the monkey.
The sound of the horns must have been amazing - same volume as bag pipes I guess.
looking forward to the next part.

DollMum said...

The alpen horns sound much cleaner than bagpipes, it is more like french horns.

DollMum said...

I have updated the post with some links to videos of some of the organs playing (not at this festival but previous ones) just in case you're interested.

Rosie said...

Thanks for the links to youtube - they were amazing ! Most unexpected, I never heard organ music like this before.

Theodora said...

Wow, what an adventure! Very interesting post. So much to learn about. Is Waldkirch in Bavaria? Must check it out. Great that your lovely daughter was able to take her Sashas. Wonderful photographs. She will enjoy looking back at those when she is older. xxx

Theodora said...

One Question: do you play the organ yourself? xxx

DollMum said...

I play flute and piano, I can play the organ without the pedals (I'm not an organist).

Kendal said...

Until seeing and reading this post I must admit that I have ever really given organs a second thought other than them being played in our Churches and occasionally seeing them with the monkeys being played outside in the streets in films.... BUT this post has certainly alerted my attention and interest.

What a wonderful variety shown here.... big, small, colourful, transparent (so showing the insides in action) and even some with working additional dancing figures.
No wonder you're already planning your next visit in three years time!

Was also impressed with the children's 'music machine maker' made from re-cycled materials. A great invention!

Do your daughters play any musical instrument? I'm sure that they must do with having such a talkented musical mother.
My daughter used to play the flute too at school but unfortunately gave it up after leaving there and starting to go to work and then getting married... just no time.

Off now to click on the youtube links!

DollMum said...

both my girls play violin and piano, music runs in our veins, they're more talented musicians than me.