New Braunfels Gemischter Chor Harmonie
The New Braunfels Gemischter Chor Harmonie was established on November 13, 1937. The mixed-voice group of singers was the last German choir organized in Comal County and is the only remaining German singing group in the county today. German singing groups in Texas were formed early on, starting with the founding of the city of New Braunfels in 1845. The first German singing society in New Braunfels, “Germania”, was established in New Braunfels on March 2, 1850. In 1853, the first German singing festival was held in New Braunfels on the banks of the Guadalupe River.
On March 2, 1850, on the anniversary of the birth of the Republic of Texas, the singing society Germania was organized in New Braunfels. Under the direction of Gottfried Joseph Petmecky (1809-1871) the group sponsored their first singing event at the 4th of July celebration in 1850 on the banks of the Comal River. The celebration was opened by firing the two cannons that Prince Carl had brought along for the protection of New Braunfels. Soon after the Germania was organized, other communities throughout Texas began organizing singing societies, such as Sisterdale, Austin, San Antonio, Boerne, Fredericksburg and LaGrange. Fourth of July celebrations followed in 1851 and 1852 in New Braunfels. At the 1851 Fourth of July celebration, the Rifle Company and Germania marched through the streets while singing jolly songs. In 1853, the Fourth of July celebration in New Braunfels was again sponsored by the Germania. On Friedrich Herman Seele’s (1823-1902) farm, “Elisenruhe”, on the Guadalupe River, the group stomped the clay soil, roofed it over with tarpaulins and erected an adjoining roof of tree branches under which tables and seats were arranged. The festivities lasted until dawn the next morning, and there it was decided to sponsor the first singing festival “Saengerfest” that same year.