Oktoberfest Zinzinnati is this weekend, but a group of Cincinnati musicians who specialize in playing German hunting horns are in Munich to participate in the real deal.
The Germania Jagdhornbläsergruppe (pronounced YAHGD-horn BLAY-zuhr GROOP-uh) received a special invitation to march in Sunday's parade and play during the festival. The invitation came after organizers in Germany saw the group perform during a recent visit.
"It was just a real honor," says member Brandon Cordes of the invitation. "And something that you just really don't get to do ever; And if you get to do it once that's going to be about it. So, we're thrilled."
According to Oktoberfest organizers, the Germania group was selected in part because of its traditional background.
Jagdhorns were historically used to send signals while hunting in the German forests. "They identify when there's game out there and where it is, and also what kind of game is involved. They also excite the dogs," Cordes says.
Musicians now tend not to hunt, preferring instead the music and cultural aspects, Cordes reports. The jagdhorn is played in a similar fashion to a brass instrument by buzzing one's lips. Traditionally there were no keys or valves, though some of the more modern instruments do have them.
"All this music you're hearing from jagdhorns is really written with the fact in mind that there's only seven notes that can be combined," Cordes says.
Eight of the group's ten members are making the trip. They'll be playing with other similar groups as they march along the seven kilometer parade route. The parade is the kick-off event held on the first Sunday of September. More than 9,000 people participate. Oktoberfest organizers say the festival attracts roughly six million people each year.
Editor's Note: Oktoberfest organizers tell WVXU 28 foreign groups are marching in the parade, including several from North America.