SPARTANBURG — The Swiss American Society of the Piedmont has been a part of the cultural landscape of Spartanburg for 50 years. To celebrate its 50th Anniversary, the society’s members will be presenting a special collaboration with the Consulate General of Switzerland that will bring a traditional Swiss string music band, Streichmusik Alder Urnäsch, from the Alps to the Piedmont.
The Concert will be held Sunday, Nov 1, 2 p.m., at Chapman Cultural Center’s theater and will be followed by a free reception featuring a traditional fall specialty in Switzerland: roasted chestnuts, also known as Marroni.
Streichmusik Alder Urnäsch was founded in 1884 by two brothers of the Alder family in Urnäsch, Switzerland. More than 100 years later, fourth and fifth generation descendants of the original members are still carrying on the family’s musical traditions. The band’s unique show is inspired by Swiss folklore and the musical traditions of the band’s hometown of Urnäsch. Streichmusik Alder Urnäsch has toured in the United States, South America, Canada, Japan, Indonesia, Singapore, Sarajevo, and the United Arab Emirates.
The band’s traditional instrumental techniques can be traced back to the 13th century to the string techniques used by their home region’s first songwriter: Heinrich von Sax, Lord of Castle Clanx, a 13th century ruler. Later, in the 16th century, the characteristic Swiss yodel was added to the region’s musical culture. In the 17th century, Urnäsch artists added modern instruments such as the drums, pipes, and bagpipes. Today, the band consists of 5 members, each specializing in one of these historic styles, featuring the Accordion, Contrabass, Dulcimer, Violin, yodeling, Talerschwingen, and Cowbells.
“For Swiss-Americans living Spartanburg, this concert is a rare opportunity to connect with one’s home country and spend a few carefree and enjoyable hours surrounded by traditional Swiss folk music,” says Kathy Wofford, president of the Swiss American Society of the Piedmont, “and for Spartans who are not of Swiss ancestry, it’s a one-of-a-kind and engrossing cross-cultural experience.”
Tickets may be purchased at Chapman Cultural Center’s Box Office or online at ChapmanCulturalCenter.org. Tickets are $15 per adult and $5 per child.