Martin Gross
  • Martin Gross
  • Jim Buchmann
  • Todd Campbell
  • Mark Goldberg
Journal Sentinel
Journal Sentinel
Saturday, Oct. 08, 2005
Oktoberfest with MSO a celebration

The German word Gemütlichkeit may defy easy translation in English, but you know it when you feel it. The comfortable feeling of genial camaraderie and sociability known as Gemütlichkeit for which the Bavarian Oktoberfest is famous - that and a lot of beer - was the theme for the MSO's "Doctoberfest" concert in Uihlein Hall this weekend.

Oktoberfest is the annual, 17-day Munich party, first held in 1818 for the engagement of Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig. The festival, held in enormous, festively decorated beer tents that seat thousands, is an annual tradition for some, a once-in-a-lifetime pilgrimage for others. It is full of food, drink and music - lots of music.

Doc Severinsen and the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra celebrated the event by bringing the music of Oktoberfest to Milwaukee via the Sonnenschein Express, a world-famous Alpine-Oktoberfest show with its roots at Disney World in Florida.

The group - Todd Campbell on tuba, Mark Goldberg on drums, Martin Gross on trumpet, Edi Hadner on guitar, Daven Skrzynski on accordion and Jim Buchmann on clarinet - brought band and traditional instrumentals to the stage, along with vocals in German and English. Their music and polished patter makes a lively show.

The group had the audience singing familiar tunes such as "Edelweiss" and "Ein Prosit, der Gemütlichkeit," as well as clapping along and shouting on cue (Hoi, Hoi, Hoi).

The group added ringing alphorns, a button accordion known as the Steirische harmonica, cowbells played like handbells and a wood saw played with a bow to the evening's festivities - and they could actually make music on all of the above. A yodeling tutorial rounded out the Alpine folk fair.

Doc and the orchestra slipped a bit south of the Bavarian border to add a few Viennese waltzes, marches and polkas, along the lines of Strauss' "Tritsch Tratsch Polka" to the evening's fare. They also accompanied the Sonnenschein Express on much of the program.

A receptive audience gave the show a standing ovation, winning an encore.

Journal Sentinel