Seven enthusiastic Swiss immigrants - Arnold Rutzer, Arthur Bachmann, Ruedi Peterer, Klaus Zahnd, Fritz Wagner, Hans Bossert and Peter Stapfer - founded the Yodel Club Heimattreu in the kitchen of Arnold Rutzer in Calgary, back in the fall of 1975.
What brought us together was the love of singing, and, we are sure, a dose of home sickness. Creating a bit of Switzerland in the shadow of the Canadian Rocky Mountains played a significant role as well. None of the seven founders, ranging in age from 25 to 50 years old, thought about the profound impact this simple gathering would have on them and to so many others that would join over the years.
Looking back only two of the founders had a good knowledge of music and could read music, not that we had any song sheets. So we learned by listening to tapes and records, which presented some challenges in getting the second tenor and first and second bass voices isolated. But it was fun and we started with songs we knew from the military service as none of us had actually sung in a choir before!
Our Mission was and is to preserve, practice and perform authentic and traditional Swiss Yodel songs. Uphold Swiss culture and language and to encourage other like-minded groups to do so as well.
The Yodel Club Heimattreu was formally registered under the Alberta Societies Act on November 23rd 1977.
The choir performed officially the first time at the renaming ceremony of “Blumenau” to “Stettler” in the summer of 1976.
It was also a momentous event as we were able to perform along with Lisa Ward a very well-known and talented Swiss born yodeller from Portland USA.
The first time we presented ourselves to a Calgary audience was at the Swiss Club Matterhorn’s Fondue evening in the fall of 1976.
The club is a member of the Swiss Yodel Federation allowing us to stay close to the Swiss Yodel scene and measure ourselves. Being allowed to attend the festival and competition is an honor for our choir. It gives us great motivation to practice and to perfect authentic and traditional Swiss Yodels songs.
Our first attendance at a Eidg. Jodlerfest was in Thun 1996. It is hard to describe how excited we were to compete before Swiss judges. This and to experience the cameradery of the "Swiss yodel family" is unforgettable. Thereafter we attended the Yodel Fests in: Frauenfeld 1999, Fribourg 2002, Aarau 2005, Luzern 2008, Interlaken 2011, Davos 2014 and Brig 2017. We look forward to the next Yodel fest taking place in Basel in June 2021.
We are also members of the North American Swiss Singing Alliance (NASSA). We hosted two Festivals, in Calgary 1988 and in Banff 2009, and have attended judged
festivals since 1982.