The “Gesangverein Virginia” – (GV VA)
The “Gesangverein Virginia” (German for “Singing Association of Virginia”) is one of the oldest German clubs in the United States, having been founded as a men’s singing society by German immigrants in Richmond, Virginia, on July 2, 1852. Today it is a men’s social organization, which promotes good German and American relations, knowledge of Germany and other German language countries, and German culture and language. Today its membership consists of German immigrants, American born men of German descent and men without a drop of German blood, all of whom enjoy the “Gemütlichkeit” of club functions.
The club members meet regularly on the second Wednesday of every month. “Happy hour”, which is when we tap the keg, begins at 7pm. The meeting starts at 8:00pm at
We typically have a speaker before meetings that covers topics related to German culture or language or are otherwise of local interest. The short business portion of the meetings includes singing “Ein Prosit” as a toast to a club member who has done something for the club or who is celebrating a birthday. The night ends with a meal, conversation, and beer. After the food is gone and the beer keg is empty, everyone slowly departs for home saying “auf Wiedersehen”.
Besides the monthly business meetings, there are other Gesangverein events held throughout the year. There is the annual dinner complete with appetizers, open bar, a full meal, and live music for dancing. There are the fish fry and the Sommernachtsfest during the summer, the Richmond Oktoberfest in the fall, and a Christmas party in December. Occasionally there is even a day or evening trip to some German related event or a brewery.
While Gesangverein is now a social organization, we still sing the club hymn, practice the German national anthem, and have traditionally had a “Männerchor,” a men’s chorus.
The Gesangverein, in joint cooperation with the Deutscher Sportclub, helps to bring the largest, most authentic, German Bavarian Oktoberfest to Virginia. The Richmond Oktoberfest has been held every October since 1968.