Will the Brommtopp make a come back?


Brommtopp troupe from the mid 1930’s


The Brommtopp instrument

Sommerfeld MB

Spottschreft has learned that many of the residents in the Southern Manitoba villages of  Sommerfeld, Neubergthal and Gnadenfeld were disappointed  when the Brommtopp troupe once again failed to make an appearance on New Year’s Eve.

Noted Edgar Klippenstein, 89, of  Sommerfeld,  “I think it’s been since 1937 that I last remember the Brommtopp coming around, I was just a kid then”.

The tradition of the Brommtopp which was practiced in many Mennonite Villages on ditsied, saw young men dressed in costumes go from door to door on New Year’s Eve providing entertainment in the form of songs and sometimes skits to entertain homeowners they visited.  In return the performers were given gifts in the form of food and drink including homemade chokecherry wine and brandy.

The center piece for the tradition  was the Brommtopp, a drum-like musical instrument with a horsehair tail attached to one end which when played made a very loud ‘brrrumming’ sound which alerted homeowners that the group had arrived.

Spottschreft was able to interview a man from Gnadenthal, who would only identify himself as ‘Jake’.  He indicated that he thinks he knows why the Brommtopp has not been seen for the past 79 years, stating, “My great grandfather was part of the last group that performed in 1937.  They visited the home of Wilhelm Schmidt in the village of Sommerfeld.  After their performance they were given portselkje and a large jug of Mrs. Schmidt’s homemade chokecherry wine.  The wine was meant to be shared by the entire group but by the time they got to Neubergthal all the wine had been consumed by just three members of the group who were now so drunk that the performance had to be cancelled.  The Brommtopp actually fell out of the sleigh they were riding in and was damaged.”

‘Jake’ indicated that his grandfather and the other members of the Brommtopp troupe came under close scrutiny by Church Elders and were only able to avoid excommunication by agreeing to disband the group and promise to destroy the Brommtopp instrument.

Noting that there is renewed interest in the Brommtopp, ‘Jake’ finished on a tantalizing note, adding that the tradition may be revived in the coming years.


Right to bare arms not supported by all

A recent post by the Daily Bonnet which depicted a young woman with bare arms, claimed that American Mennonites who dress in that manner are simply exercising their right under the 2nd Amendment.

However not all Mennonites are in agreement.

Elder Peter Siemens, head of the Sommerfelder Church in Bolivia was quick to react.  “I think it is shameful, bare arms, no head covering and smiling yet even,” said Siemens.

When asked if he felt that the photo in the Daily Bonnet could have a  potential  negative influence on his congregation in Bolivia Siemens indicated that was unlikely, “We don’t have the Internet here and we are not planning on getting it either so the chances of anyone down here seeing that are remote”.

When asked about his understanding of how the Internet worked Siemens said, “I saw it once when I was in Asuncion, Paraguay  and it was not good, not good.”

Siemens went on to say that he will do whatever he can to protect his congregation from the Internet and other similar modern evil influences.  He concluded with, “We did not leave Canada to go to Mexico, and then on to Paraguay and finally to Bolivia only to let that happen to us.”

The interview with Siemens was conducted via cell phone.

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