German-Texan singing societies helped preserve German culture and language and strengthened community at a time when surviving on the frontier could be difficult. As German-Texan men returned to San Antonio from fighting in the Civil War, Beethoven Maennerchor was founded in 1867 – an offshoot of an earlier singing society, Maennergesang-Verein. Poet and musician Sidney Lanier visited a practice that first year, exclaiming that “Great pipes were all afire… they all swung into such a noble old full-voice lied [song] that imperious tears rushed to my eyes.”
The society’s first performance space was built in 1894 on South Alamo Street, but it was later destroyed in a fire. The pipes of the Maennerchor – which now features choirs for women and children – are still afire today in their dozens of performances every year, performed in their current venue on Pereida Street.
Watch our Saengerfests and Singing Societies video to learn more about German Texan cultural heritage in Texas. This videos was produced for inclusion in our German Texans mobile tour found in our Texas Time Travel Tours mobile app. Download the app for more videos and travel information:
Tuesday – Saturday, 5 p.m. – midnight
Check website for program and performance information