Cincinnati is known as the birthplace of Saengerfest, a German tradition that celebrated choir singing groups, or “Saengerbunds.” The North American Saengerbund was developed by German immigrants, and originally only consisted of choirs from Cincinnati, Louisville, and Indiana. The newly formed Saengerbund decided to carry on the German tradition of Saengerfests in the United States, and held the first-ever Saengerfest in Cincinnati in 1849.Saengerfest grew quickly, and in merely three years the size of the group more than doubled. By 1870, Saengerfest consisted of almost two thousand singers and over 60 choirs. Cincinnati was bringing thousands of people into the area to witness these celebrations and even attracting national attention. A 1879 article in the New York Times detailed the event in Over-the-Rhine and described it as “worthy of comparison with the Mardisgras of Southern cities.”Saengerfest not only involved the German immigrants and constituents of the area, but it attracted thousands of people from across the U.S. The event continued to grow and return to Cincinnati regularly, eventually becoming a huge tradition of the area. However, this began to change with the introduction of the May Festival in 1873. A lot of people dismissed the festival and were resistant to embracing it for fear of taking attention away from Saengerfest. Eventually, the May Festival gained a great amount of attention and detracted support from Saengerfest. Despite the resistance efforts, many talented singers and supporters broke away from Saengerfest to perform in the May Festival. The popularity of the May Festival continued to grow, and the attention surrounding the traditional Saengerfests slowly died down. Though Saengerfests are still a part of the North American Sangerbund tradition, Cincinnati has not hosted Saengerfest since 1952 and the support has greatly dwindled. It is time to bring this Festival Back. Based on the results of the World Choir Games, the Christmas Saengerfest promises to be one of biggest annual choral festival in the region in years to come.
Buy tickets online, tickets are $25 per day. Enjoy 14 choirs at 4 amazing historical venues.
FRIDAY DECEMBER 4
SATURDAY DECEMBER 5