Der Haahne Greht —2007

Through a generous gift by C. Thomas Work, the Reading Musical Foundation commissioned Der Haahne Greht (The Rooster Crows) for the Berks County Children’s Chorus. Jennifer Adam conducted the world premiere at Kutztown University. The poems are sung in the original Pennsylvania German by Peter V. Fritsch.

Program Note

These song settings of poetry by Peter V. Fritsch of Berks County, Pennsylvania, were commissioned by the Reading Musical Foundation through a gift by C. Thomas Work to celebrate the language, practices and humor of the Pennsylvania Germans, who were responsible for much of the region’s rich musical heritage. C. Thomas Work commissioned the work in honor of childhood mentors who valued music — the late Orion and Hazel Wertley and Alma Shollenberger of Hamburg.


  1. Alde Gedanke
  2. Der Draam
  3. Golli Golli Gwack Gwack
  4. Elmer, Der Fimf Sent Mann
  5. Der Gross Jug
  6. Wie Willie Weckel
  7. Drunne in der Wiss


Beginning with a reflective piece, “Alde Gedanke,” or “Old Thoughts,” they sang of Pennsylvania German sayings and beliefs, such as that setting shoes on the kitchen table is bad luck, and when the cat washes its ears you can expect company.

“Wie Willie Weckel,” which stirred the audience to quiet laughter, told of a bad boy who pulled a cow’s tail, upset wine casks and knocked down wash-line props. Wie Willie’s wayward ways earned him a trip to the woodshed, from which he emerged as a “well behaved boy.”

Flowing from the music, played by accompanist Mary Bishop, were images of foxes jumping over broom handles, a man buying junk at an auction and the medicinal properties of elderberry wine.

In the final piece, “Drunne in der Wiss,” or “Down in the Meadow,” Maggio created a dreamy aura around a place where bluebirds fly and the prettiest flowers grow along a zig-zag rail fence.

Ronald Devlin, The Reading Eagle, May  7, 2008