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Arts, Sports & Culture

For First Time In Nearly 50 Years, National German Singing Festival Comes To Pittsburgh

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About 1,000 singers from 70 choruses across the country have come to Pittsburgh for a celebration of German choral music.

This weekend’s festival marks the 62nd Nationales Sängerfest, which the Nord-Amerikanischer Sängerbund, or the North American Singers Association, holds every three years.

But it’s just the fourth time ever that Pittsburgh has hosted a Sängerfest since German immigrants first began arriving in the Bloomfield and Deutschtown neighborhoods in the mid-1800s.

“We’re singing songs brought over by our great-grandfathers and grandfathers, still in the German language, many of them in a tongue spoken in a valley or an area of Germany,” said Ed Graff, a member of the Teutonia Männerchor in Deutschtown.

The Männerchor will be representing its hometown as part of the festival, along with the Bloomfield Liedertafel and other groups. Ed Liedermann, the vice president of the Bloomfield Liedertafel, will serve as the principal conductor of the festival.

Pittsburgh’s first Sängerfest was held in 1858, with subsequent festivals in 1896 and 1967.

Friday night's free concert begins at 7 p.m. at the Wyndham Grand hotel Downtown, and Saturday's free show starts at 4 p.m. at the A.J. Palumbo Center at Duquesne University.