It is with great sadness that I have to announce that Werner Merlo passed away earlier today. On behalf of the Choir and especially myself I would like to extend our deepest condolences to his spouse Susi, sons Stephan and Daniel and the family.
Werner was a founding member of the ESMC. He would have been 83 in December. Susi and him were also longtime members of the Edmonton Swiss Society. Werner was a first tenor and helped along many new singers when they joined our choir. He’ll be missed and may he RIP. Unfortunately he was dealing with some health issues over the last several months. He was in the hospital for the past 2 weeks and scheduled to go home tomorrow but this wasn’t to be.
There will be a small family funeral and possibly at a later date the family might have a Celebration of Life for Werner.
We wish his family strength, courage and confidence through this sad time and the memories will prevail.
On March 8, Thomas Huwiler of Beaumont, Alberta passed away at the age of 85. He is lovingly remembered by his wife of 57 years, Anne and his daughters: Heidi (Brian Vickstrom), Susy (Dennis Beaudoin), Karen (Andy Berube), grandchildren: Jayden, Amanda, Megan Beaudoin and Ali, Carli, Garrett Berube.
It saddens me to inform you that Paul Ehrler, who was a founding member of the ESS, has passed away. He died one day before his birthday and would have turned 89 today. However sad this news is, he lived a good, long life filled with many great memories. I remember him as a man who always seemed to be smiling and having a good time with his Swiss buddies and he had a certain infectious chuckle that will be greatly missed. May he rest easy and continue to smile, down upon us.
Our hearts go out to all of Paul’s friends and family.
Any additional news or arrangements will follow as we are made aware of them.
Edmonton Swiss Men’s Choir – 40 Years of Music 1980/81- 2020/21
The concept of a Swiss Male Chorus was founded at an annual Landsgemeinde near Stettler, Alberta in June of 1980 by 10 Swiss compatriots, three of whom still sing with the Choir. In June of 1981 the Edmonton Swiss Men’s Choir Association was incorporated in Alberta; founding members were Erwin Baumann, John Buhler, Robert Fierz, Peter Gertsch, Thomas Huwiler, Peter Johner, Hermann Knupp, Werner Merlo, Peter Scholl and Karl Strickler.
In the fall of 1980 rehearsals began at the Edelweiss Club and new members were recruited from the Swiss community. A director, Dan Breda, was hired and music was obtained from Switzerland and so it began.
Fundraising was needed so the Choir held a Springfest and a Winzerfest. With six Swiss chefs in the group, selling tickets for the meal and dance was never difficult. These events were sold out successes and looked forward to by so many.
The Edmonton Swiss Men’s Choir has travelled and performed across Canada, made 6 concert tours of Switzerland and one concert tour of South America. They have also travelled and performed in the United States as members of the North American Swiss Singing Alliance (NASSA) and as regular guests at festivals of the United Swiss Singing Societies of the Pacific Coast (USSSPC). In addition to participating in many national and international events the ESMC has performed throughout Edmonton and Alberta.
There have been 181 singers involved with the choir to date. The ESMC has had only 3 conductors (Dan Breda, Faye Breda, Elizabeth Lesoway-Anderson) during its existence. There have been 4 accompanists and 1 assistant conductor. Elizabeth has led the choir now for some 34 years.
The Edmonton Swiss Men’s Choir has been instrumental in enhancing Swiss Culture locally and internationally and has been proud to represent Switzerland and the Swiss people wherever the choir has travelled. They make one proud to be Swiss.
Daniel Stephan Breda Sr. passed away peacefully on November 22. He is survived by his wife Faye and children Dan (Lisa) grandchildren Helmi and Aili; Alice (Lawrence) grandchildren Martin and Jack; Steve and Bridget, and a large extended family. Dan was a music teacher, the founding conductor of the Edmonton Swiss Men’s Choir and a past conductor of the Edmonton Philharmonic. He found great joy in his years as the music director of Trinity Lutheran Church.
The Winzerfest of 2020 would have been the celebration of the choirs 40th year but due to the Covid-19 pandemic it was cancelled. The original four members: Hans Voegeli, Karl Strickler, Tom Huwiler, and Werner Merlo were the first to meet and propose a choir. Peter Johner joined shortly after. We hope to bring you some archived pictures, music and live concert in the near future.
This annual fundraiser for community choirs in Edmonton and area still proceeded despite Covid. Hans, John and Ron did virtual walks with Margaret and Nathalie. Other members of the choir generously donated to the cause.
The fall Winzerfest of 2020 was to be our 40th anniversary celebration. The choir started in 1980. With the renovation of our website we hope to show you pictures of the people responsible for the development of the special choir. Links to the dynamic posts in Facebook will be shown for all as well as music. We hope to post music in a format so that you can either listen or sing along to your favorite tunes, stay posted.