I married a tuba player.
Actually, the correct term is ‘sousaphone’, named after John Phillip Sousa (remember him? King of the ‘March’?). After college, careers have a way of whisking us away, and he just didn’t look for opportunites to play again. Life happens fast, snatching twenty fleeting years. Suddenly, we find ourselves in the rolling hills of Deutschland with him answering a call to come play in the community band. They needed a tuba player. Just in time for Fasching season, something like Mardi Gras.
He worked, went to practice, learned the music, and smiled as he dug up a once forgotten joy. We live in a somewhat remote area of Germany, with agricultural elements rampant. Tractors and animals dot the surrounding fields. Being country folk ourselves has helped our ability to ‘fit in’. We can easily leave city life behind, along with the concrete and traffic. We’ve discovered that we are learning a form of the German language steeped in ‘country-fied’ slang. We’re from Texas, we know about drawls.
So, the last few weeks have been overflowing with Fasching celebrations. If there’s one thing Germans do well, it’s festivals, and really just genuine fun. Here’s an excerpt from Deutscheshaus….
Fasching is Germany’s carnival season. It starts on the 11th day of February at exactly 11 minutes after 11am and ends at the stroke of midnight on Shroud Tuesday – often referred to as Fat Tuesday (the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday). Fasching is more or less a Roman Catholic and Christian Orthodox celebration and most Protestant and non-Christian areas do not celebrate it.
Fasching (also known as Karneval) is a time of festivity and merry making – a time to break the rules, poke fun at those who make them and then to make your own new rules.
In Germany, particularly in the Rhineland area, the tradition can be traced to medieval times where many countries existed under harsh rules. Kings, princes and even smaller potentates maintained their own courts. In doing so, they flaunted before each other their own pomp and splendor at the expense of their population.
During karneval time, the common people took a chance at ‘living it up” and “talking back to their rulers”. They would make a mock government of eleven people, as well as other officials. A prince and princess were selected to rule the country during the Fasching season. Political authorities, high placed persons and sovereigns were the target of ridicule, and featured in humorous and satirical speeches. To avoid persecution and punishment, these antics were played out from behind masks and costumes. Parades, dancing in the streets, masquerade balls and comical skits filled the days and nights.
Karneval festivities have become annual events around the world. Also known as Fasching, Carnival and Mardi Gras, the most famous are located in the following places:
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
New Orleans, Louisiana
Although Carnival in Rio is probably the craziest of all, Germany is undoubtedly the most enthusiastic Karneval center in Europe.
This is Helmut, director of this village’s band, as well as the surrounding communities. The man can play anything. And his heart is as big as Germany. He’s a god.
Two separate village members of their own “Elite Eleven”. Rudi’s on the right.
My youngest found a dancing partner at the party after the parade.
This is Mark, also an American military member. He is a rock star drummer.
So the man played his tuba. He marched in parades. And, we got to know these folks of all ages who share a love of music. They smiled and suffered through our terrible Deutsche…….We fell in love with them.