A Soulful Sound; the Latest in Honoring the Heritage of the Germans From Russia; a Report From the United States

A Soulful Sound Gefuehlvoller Klang; die Neueste Ehrung des Erbes der Russlanddeutschen; ein Bericht aus den Vereingten Staaten

Winkjer, Andrea. "A Soulful Sound; the Latest in Honoring the Heritage of the Germans From Russia; a Report From the United States." Volk auf dem Weg, July, 31.

Translation from the original German-language text to American English by Alex Herzog, Boulder, Colorado

The Germans from Russia Choir of the Lutheran Church of St. Andrew's during taping of the film "A Soulful Sound"

Thanks to successful collaboration between an association dedicated to the heritage of Germans from Russia and the public television station of North Dakota, the fascinating story of a very distinctive ethnic group has been brought closer to a national audience for the past six years.

"A Soulful Sound: Music of the Germans from Russia" celebrated its premier showing in April 2006 via "Prairie Public Television." This, a fourth documentary, may be aired by as many as forty television stations around the entire country during this year's Christmas season.

The program combines commentary with performances of traditional music. It reports on the musical tradition of the Germans who two hundred or more years ago first settled in the Volga region and later on the Black Sea and in Bessarabia. Many of them emigrated to North and South America and preserved their traditional music, their religious and folk songs and lullabies.

The other three documentaries are as follows:

"The Germans from Russia: Children of the Steppe, Children of the Prairie" tells the story of the Germans from Russia in their role as agricultural pioneers on various continents.

"Schmeckfest: Food Traditions of the Germans from Russia" reports on the culinary traditions of the Germans from Russia. This documentary has been combined on a new DVD along with the earlier "Recipes from Grandmother's Kitchen, volumes I and II, which is now available. This DVD, called "Germans from Russia Food Pantry," offers additional material that depicts cooks at their work, plus complete recipes for several of the dishes.

"Prairie Crosses, Prairie Voices: Ion Crosses of the Great Plains" reports on the art of crafting iron crosses, which the immigrants brought with them as they moved overseas.

The driving forces behind these documentaries are Prof. Michael Miller, bibliographer of the "Germans from Russia Heritage Collection" (GRHC), who works in the Libraries of North Dakota State University, and Bob Dambach, TV director and producer with "Prairie Public Broadcasting." Their efforts were supported finanically and in other ways by individuals, organizations and foundations.

Miller, whose ancestors originate in Strassburg/Odessa and who was brought up bilingual (English and German), has dedicated the greater part of his professional life to the preservation and documentation of the German-Russian ethnic group in North America.

He has been directing GRHC since its founding in 1978.

You may learn more about GRHC at the organization's homepage: http://library.ndsu.edu/grhc or at the following address:
Germans from Russia Heritage Collection,
NDSU Libraries,
P.O. Box 5599,
Fargo, ND 58105-5599;
via telephone at 701-231-8416 or 701-231-6596.

There you will also find further information on the documentaries described above.

Andrea Winkjer Collin (with translation excerpts from VadW)

Our appreciation is extended to Alex Herzog for translation of this article.

Permission to use any images from the GRHC website may be requested by contacting Michael M. Miller