NEW ULM - Making their first visit to Bavarian Blast Saturday, the Chicago-based band Paloma performed a number of audience-participation songs towards the end of their 90-minute performance in the August Schell tent.
"We love audience participation songs," said Paloma lead guitarist Art Heppner. "One of the neatest gigs we do is a big German festival hosted by Gustav's Restaurant in Portland, Ore. where the entire audience immediately participates. The event drew about 80,000 people to this big park, but got so big, they stopped it for a while. Now it's coming back."
Next weekend, Paloma will perform at the Milwaukee Germanfest.
Staff photo by Steve Muscatello
People dance to the sounds of the band Paloma, of Chicago Illinois, Saturday under the August Schell Tent at Bavarian Blast in New Ulm.
"For decades, we entertained the largest German festivals, club parties and weddings in and around Chicago," Heppner said. "Three years ago, we began going to German festivals across the country."
Using two guitars, Heppner said the band tries to customize its shows with traditional attire, cowbell performances and yodeling on waltzes, polkas, tangos, slow dances, rock and roll oldies, disco, Conga and Country line dances, sing-a-longs and what it called the Bavarian national anthem - Ein Prosit.
Throw in Edelweiss with vocals and bells, I Don't Want Her, You Can Have Her, She's Too Fat For Me; and In Heaven There Is No Beer for good measure.
The band was just what Ben Schatz and Lorae Hilgers of Anoka wanted to see and hear.
"Where else can you go and see so many fun-loving people?" Schatz said. "This is great. This band is really traditional."
He said the couple just returned from a St. Croix River polka cruise with the Minnesota Polka Association and enjoys going to other ethnic music festivals in in Sobieski, New Prague, Rochester and Norwood-Young America.
The music keeps on coming Sunday at Bavarian Blast with the Einhausen Musik Corps Band from Germany at 11 a.m. in the August Schell tent. After the Grand Parade from 12:30 to 2 p.m., Herborn Sellbach of Germany performs at 2 p.m. Alex Meixner at 3:30 p.m., the Concord Singers at 5 p.m., the Grand Finale at 6 p.m. and back by popular demand, Sandra Lee & The Velvets, 7 to 8:30 p.m.
Schell's Hobo Band performs on the KNUJ stage at 2 p.m. and the New Ulm Municipal Band at 4 p.m.
Fritz Busch can be e-mailed at email@example.com.