2019 The shepherd children of the Salzburg Advent Singing rehearse on the Loferer Alm

With passion

The shepherd children of the Salzburg Advent Singing rehearse on the Loferer Alm

New cast of shepherd children

On September 4, 2019, the Hiatamadln and Hiatabuam held their first press conference for the Salzburg Advent Singing in Salzburg’s mountains during rehearsals on the Loferer Alm. This year will see a completely revised revival of “Der Sterngucker” from 2014.

As the work is a completely new cast of shepherd children, the musical and text rehearsals for the children with Hans Köhl (text author), the new drama director Daniela Meschtscherjakov and the support team with Simon Haitzmann (shepherd music), Markus Helminger and Gudrun Köhl-Korbuly were intensive but rewarding.

Five new shepherd children for 2019

We welcome five new shepherd children this year: Julia Burkali (violin, oboe/Bergheim), Johannes Doppler (trumpet, trombone/Anif), Anna Lechner (flute/Anthering), Elisa Oberkofler (harp/Golling) and Magdalena Öschlberger, (flute/Seekirchen) were warmly welcomed by the 14 experienced shepherds and the whole team.

“The boys played a lot of cards this year – Watten – just like in the pub,” says Gudrun Köhl-Korbuly with a laugh. “The girls also had a lot of fun – as always, we had a few homesick children with us, but that wasn’t really worth mentioning this year.”

We welcome five new shepherd children this year: Preparations for the big festival theater

Markus Helminger and the support team have 13 girls and 6 boys to prepare for this year’s performances at the Großes Festspielhaus. He attributes the fact that the girls are so strongly represented to the fact that “the boys are very busy with sport. Girls now also have a more pronounced approach to music. We have a group of children between the ages of 8 and 14. Between two and five of them outgrow their pastoral existence every year. This year, there was again a casting of around 20 pre-selected children. Not only young people from the city of Salzburg, but also from all districts were represented. And yes, we were spoiled for choice.” Markus has been involved in the Salzburg Advent Singing for an incredible 49 years.

With empathy, everyone gets the right task

Simon Haitzmann has to find the right task for each child with empathy so that it is challenging, but not over- or underchallenging. “I also have to have all the instruments under control, from the dulcimer, zither, harp, violin, double bass and flute to the trumpet. The first musical rehearsals took place here on the Alm. This year, the children are grouped in such a way that the stargazer alternately has a small accompanist. The “Bettlmandl Jåggerl” has three shepherd children with him. And then there is the large group of shepherd children, who this year perform a Goiserer Landler with Schleunigem.”

Words of the beggar

Edwin Hochmuth (Bettlmandl Jåggerl): “In the play, I’m a gluttonous freeloader who scrounges his way through life likeably. The smallest of the three shepherds, Fabian, wants to set the tone as the man of the trio with the big girls and I challenge him for the alpha role. The little one reminds me of myself as a child: I was always the smallest, but the cheekiest and challenged everyone else.” “It’s great to see how much the children have developed in just one year. I enjoy working with the children in a playful way towards the play and getting them out of their shells,” says the Tyrolean actor, who played his way into the hearts of the audience last year as the shepherd Capo.

What the star gazer says

Wolfgang Hundegger (Sterngucker): “It’s great to be part of an Advent carol production again. The huge stage and many of the team are still familiar to me from 2017, even if all the shepherd children are new to me. Funnily enough, I’ve known Edwin Hochmuth from Tyrol since time immemorial. More than 10 years ago, we played together in Shakespeare’s “Tempest” and now we’re meeting again at the Salzburg Advent Singing.” The self-confessed fan of the stars says of himself: “I can easily find myself in the role of the stargazer, as I’m rather introverted. But for me, that’s not a contradiction to the acting profession.”

Praise from the theater director

Daniela Meschtscherjakov (drama director): “I’m thrilled with the children’s diligence. They are almost unstoppable and don’t want to take a break. Here on the Alm, I’ve had more pure rehearsals than ever before, but there’s still plenty of time to relax. What you can do here in four days with the children on the mountain pasture, you can otherwise only manage in two to three weeks of rehearsals. Here we can build up the relationship more immediately and much better and everyone throws themselves happily into the rehearsals because the energy here is so good. As the story of the play also takes place mainly on the mountain pasture, we find the perfect environment here. The rehearsals are supported by a huge amount of mutual sympathy, with the musical and acting rehearsals going hand in hand.”

Everyone gets mindful costumes

Costume designer Hellmut Hölzl has been involved since 1982: “For me, it’s still the first time every year.” He is praised by Hans Köhl, who is fascinated by Hölzl’s passion, masterful skill and attention to detail. “Everyone involved deserves attentive costumes,” says the head of costume modestly.

We are thankful

A big thank you goes to the Friends of the Salzburg Advent Singing Association, which supports the children’s activities, and to Georg Dürnberger and his family, who always warmly welcome the shepherd children to the rehearsals at their Soderkaser and provide them with excellent food.

Salzburg shepherd children

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