In the first week of December 2015, the Oxford Alumni Society Munich Branch kicked off the Christmas season with its annual Christmas Dinner. The esteemed chambers of the Kaufmanns-Casino allowed a smooth transition from a sunny Munich mood to the Oxford Christmas spirit. With crackers, crowns, and mince pie, the evening was reminiscent of the Oxfordian Christmas days, only short of Winter Cidre and the many (dubious) attempts at mulled wine.
After mingling and welcoming over 70 known and new faces, we were spoiled with delicious pumpkin soup, fancy duck, and Lebkuchen ice cream in mulled-wine sauce. Yum. The great pianist Bonny Palm accompanied parts of the dinner, adding just the right cultural twist to the event. To avoid becoming too posh, however, all guests were asked to join in singing “Rudolph the red nose reindeer,” thus disclosing a great variety of singing skills amongst the members and guests.
In his traditionally short but insightful Christmas Speech, Marco enlightened us that increasing work productivity frees up time for wine consumption – perhaps one of the reasons why two of the main drivers of the Society during the last years are now officially in charge: Annemarie Grandke and Caroline Weimann. They introduced the new Alumni Committee and gave us a first taster of the many fun events planned for 2016.
After the dinner and singing joy, the bar opened and was, in true Oxford fashion, well frequented. We happily chatted and mingled until late, and all agreed that the whole evening, which was meticulously organised by Valentina Tulechov and Nils Pfeiffer, was a great success and must happen again in the Kaufmann’s Casino in 2016.
“O zapft is” – every year Munich’s Mayor opens the Oktoberfest with this
traditional cry. This is also the starting sign for 2 weeks of Bavarian
joy and craziness, with the Oxford Alumni Society right in the middle. A
great opportunity to catch up with old friends and meet new alumni.
Oxonians today ranged from those who went to Oxford in the 1970s, to
those who will yet have to start their Freshers week.
As is tradition, the Oxford Alumni Society celebrated in the
Armbrustschützenzelt (lit. crossbowmen’s tent), which boasts a 120-year
history and hosts the German crossbow championships. After a chilly
start in the afternoon with outside temperatures around 12°C, the
atmosphere inside the beer tent quickly got everyone in a livelier mood.
With the Bavarian brass band playing, people simply could not help but
jump up and danced on the benches to the German Schlager classics. And
the whole beer tent joined in…
Beer, Food and the unique Oktoberfest mood kept flowing until late in
the evening, until our tent closed at 10.30pm. The cold weather outside
reminded us that autumn was nearing, but everyone kept the memories of a
great evening to warm us from the inside.
British flair from Windsor Castle in Munich. The Queen’s Six Concert at the Theatinerkirche last Friday was the crowning finale of the British Ensemble’s successful Germany Tour. Oxford Alumni Society Members and their guests were delighted to be there. From the front rows of a spectacularly crowded church, we could fully engage in a both captivating and sophisticated musical performance. The repertoire ranged from Renaissance polyphony to folk songs – each piece with its individual style and yet always impeccably in tune. The pieces were interspersed with announcements giving enlightening background as to the history of the Ensemble and the chosen tunes. Each Q6 member had a say – all in perfect German and perfect British humour. The audience was delighted.
The concert ended with enthusiastic applause and long queues to sign up for ordering the Ensemble’s latest album. The evening was however long not finished. It was our honour to meet the Ensemble for a drinks reception and to jointly celebrate the spectacular end to their 2015 tour. Quite a few beers were drunk that night, but we surely remember the Q6 promise to be back in 2016.
11th of April is Boat Race Day, and not just any year but the first for our Women’s Blue Boat to compete on the tideway, too. Beautiful Munich weather withstanding, almost 50 Alumni gathered to watch the race at the beautiful Café at the University, which kindly prioritized the race over German football and ensured live screening from the BBC. We were very happy to also have our friends from Cambridge with us and they took the heavy double light blue defeat with high spirits. A lot of Lycra, Blazers and College crests were on show and many members exchanged fond memories of early morning outings and bumps racing. We are very proud to see the Women’s race now being an equal part of the annual event and look forward to many more Oxford victories. Thanks to everyone for making this such a memorable and fun day, and we are very excited for our next Oxford Munich Society event: the Alpine Excursion at the end of May.
On the 14th of February 2015 we visited the exhibition of the Christoph Heilmann Foundation at Lenbachhaus. Christoph Heilmann himself gave us a tour through his exhibition, which focusses on European landscape painting from the first half of the 19th century. During this period painters were fascinated by a genuinely sensual approach to nature and a subjective understanding of art. Christoph Heilmann introduced us to this aesthetic mindset both from an intellectual and an experiencial point of view. We were fascinated by Christoph Heilmann’s very personal and stimulating insight into the collection of his foundation!
This was undoubtedly one our most British Christmas Dinners to date. Over 90 Oxonians gathered at the Kaufmanns-Casino on 8th December for the annual Christmas Dinner of the Oxford Alumni Society in Munich. After the drinks reception, happy reunions and the first lively discussions, the doors were opened onto the beautifully decorated dinner room, which indeed resembled more a festive College Hall at Christmas time than a Bavarian restaurant or club.
This year, we were lucky to have the British concert pianist Bonny Palm with us, who played some wonderful English Christmas songs and eventually invited everybody to sing along. The blend of Christmas carols, Christmas crackers and silly crowns was reminiscent for some of their time at Oxford, when the last essays were just about to be handed in, the last bars to be “drunk dry” and the bags to be packed for the Christmas break ahead. Everybody at the dinner for sure started getting into the mood for Christmas and we joyfully rounded off the evening at the bar with the mandatory port and mince pies.
As one of our members from England said: “I actually felt a little bit homesick in this pre-Christmas time. But this evening, I really felt like I was at home.”
Last Wednesday, 24 September, the Oxford Alumni of Bavaria and their guests once more gathered for a joint Oktoberfest Outing. The record number of four big Oktoberfest tables was fully booked by members in no time and the crew was happy that quite a few new members and guests from Oxford made it also.
The Armbrustschützenzelt (lit. crossbowmen’s tent) is one of the most traditional tents, in which a part the German crossbow championships is held every year. As one might have expected, the alumni opted for somewhat more peaceful and less dangerous (in particular after a few Mass) pastimes, and made liberal use of the nigh on endless supply of Märzen beer, balancing their intake with hearty portions of Bavarian fare.
A lot of fun was had by all involved, and after a few hours, remaining seated was simply not an option, as the brass band played classics of questionable musical, but certainly considerable entertainment value. When our tent closed at 10:30pm, we were greeted with torrential rain showers more reminiscent of England than of Bavaria, but that did little to reduce the experience.
The 18th anniversary of the Oxford Society of Munich took place at Kaufmanns-Casino by Odeonsplatz.
Over 100 Oxonians joined the “Coming of Age Party” to celebrate with Pimms and nibbles at the club’s terrace overlooking the beautiful Hofgarten. What a perfect fusion of Oxford and Munich atmospheres!
The evening was rounded off by Bonny Palm’s piano play and the amusing speech of Marco Janezic, the President of the Oxford Society of Munich.
A special thank you also goes to Achim Bahnen who has shared his wonderful photos of the evening on a gallery for you to enjoy: View here.
We thank our friends from Cambridge, LSE and Harvard for also joining us on this great summer event and look forward to our traditional visit of the Munich Oktoberfest on September 23rd. Save the date!
On the eve of June 5th Anno 2014, over a hundred alumni from the Oxford Society of Munich and our partner clubs at Harvard and LSE gathered for the premiere concert of Piano Particles new album “Blue”.
Piano Particles combine elements of classical, pop and electronic music with visual installations. Indeed, we were enchanted by a universe of sounds and colours. At the heart was the piano played by Steffen Wick, but many “particles” were added including a string quartet and the accordion. The event was held in the beautiful Allerheiligen-Hofkirche of the Residenz, and Wick and his fellow artist Simon Detel made the most of this amazing location.
The artists have received multiple awards as individuals and for their joint work including the “Kreativpiloten Deutschland” awarded by the German government. We look forward to see their career prosper, and if you did not have the chance to see them live with us, have a look at their trailer: www.youtube.com/watch?v=pMIWMSK_o5A
After the event we gathered for a private reception with the artists in the Kabinettsgarden of the Residenz (thanks to great weather). Over drinks & nibbles and much laughter the evening was rounded off in a relaxed atmosphere.
We thank our friends from LSE and Harvard for joining us on this great occasion. Further, we thank all helpers for what turned out to be a truly amazing evening and look forward to our “Coming Of Age” party (18thClub anniversary) in July!