Saengerfest 2018 is hosted by The Toledo Swiss Singers, one of the area’s oldest singing groups.
Currently under the direction of Micah Graber, the choir has been a cultural staple in the Toledo area since 1869 — that’s 150 years of celebrating Swiss culture in the area in 2018. The chorus in its current form has been around since 1924. Its aim is to retain and preserve the culture and songs of Switzerland, to live up to the singers’ ancestors’ tenets of faith and behavior, help others, and to be good citizens.
The Singers perform two concerts annually, including a wide variety of traditional Swiss, Broadway, Gospel and American music, as well as a special performance in February.
The nonprofit organization is part of the larger German American Festival (GAF) Society, which most people associate with the festival held annually in August. The society consists of seven German-speaking societies. During the festival, the Singers set up and operate the Swiss Cheese Haus, along with the Stein Stossen contest. The GAF Festival draws more than 30,000 people on an average weekend and is the largest ethnic festival in this part of the country.
They are also are part of North American Swiss Singing Alliance (NASSA), made up of 14 choirs from Canada and the U.S. The Singers compete internationally every three years; the most recent competition was held in June 2015 in New Glarus, Wis., where the group was awarded gold and silver prizes. The next competition will be held in June 2018 in Toledo.
The Swiss Singers practice Wednesday evenings at 7:30 at Oak Shade Grove from September to May.