Hohner News

"The Pfisterwalk"
Minister hikes from Trossingen to Stuttgart

The story

At the 150th jubilee of Hohner in September 2007 the Minister of economies of Baden Württemberg, Ernst Pfister, bet that if Hohner will succeed in repairing the old siren of the company and if he could hear the sound of it once more, he’ll walk from Trossingen to his office in Stuttgart. Of course the siren got repaired and then the Minister had to walk!

Hohner decided to use this opportunity to set-up a project to promote playing accordions and harmonicas and strengthen the brand image. To walk the whole route of approximately 100 km is too long, it was divided in 5 daily stages. At every start and finish place there’ll be music: orchestras, school classes, artists and associations represented.

This creates an ideal platform for orchestras, to promote themselves. Schools and teachers are also involved and trained in advance. They get a certain amount of special “Pfister” harmonicas for students to learn how to play the specially composed “Pfister Blues”. Besides Ernst Pfister different prominent people, like e.g. local politicians are helping to build the promotion. Local dealers are integrated by Musik-Meyer to exhibit and to sell instruments and sell music lessons. SONOR is also involved by doing a prize competition as an attraction.

1. Stage: 26 April 2008 from Trossingen to Rottweil
2. Stage: 27 April 2008 from Oberndorf Bochingen to Sulz
3. Stage: 08 June 2008 from Gomaringen to Pliezhausen
4. Stage: 28 June 2008 from Bietigheim to Ludwigsburg
5. Stage: 29 June 2008 inside Stuttgart from the castle Solitude to the “Landtag”

Objectives of this project
- Promotion of the music with accordions and harmonicas
- Presentation of the instruments with a young and modern image
- Show people how easy it is to play harmonica
- Support the idea to give every child the opportunity to learn an instrument
- Politically promoted by Mr Pfister and Mr Burgbacher
- Gain of contacts to schools, teachers and associations
Inform, train and equip teachers with harmonicas in order to use this instrument in their lessons, to make the harmonica a school instrument
- Creation of a platform, where accordion orchestras can present themselves
- Generate a pilot project for further educational programmes in cooperation with the DHV

Official start of project
The project started officially on 2nd of April 2008 with the waking up of the Minister with the siren. Therefore the siren was brought to the street where the Minister lives in Trossingen, the press was invited as well as key people of Trossingen. The start signal was given.

The event was very successful even it took place at 6.00 am! Approximately 50 visitors have been in front of the Mr Pfister’s house and have been happy to see the minister coming outside playing his Hohner-Pfister accordion. After an introduction speech of the Hohner Management by Klaus Stetter, Mister Pfister was live interviewed by radio.
Then the whole crowd played together the especially for the Walk composed melody the “Pfister Blues”. Minister Pfister received the official Pfister Harmonica and a Hohner Rucksack.

The first stage from Trossingen over Lauffen to Rottweil
On 26th of April 2008 there was meeting point at 10.00 o’clock in front of the town hall.

Due to the high press response, Mr Pfister was joined by his party friend Ernst Burgbacher, M.P., President BDO and Volker Kauder, M.P., Secretary of the CDU who announced his visit just one day before the start. This helped again to get press articles in newspapers across the country, also several radio stations sent live reports.

It all started again with the siren. A lot of people came to see and hear “The Harmonics”, the “Hohnerklang” orchestra as well as some prepared school classes and of course the minister Ernst Pfister. More than 100 pupils played the “Pfister Blues”.

Highlight was Jérôme Richard with his virtuso and modern accordion playing.
Walter Frevert, a good known radio moderator managed the programme, interviewed different guests and entertained the crowd.
A harmonica workshop showed the people the easy way how to play and learn this instrument. They all together played the Pfister Blues on the Pfister harmonicas.

The prize competition from Hohner and Sonor with helium balloons attracted many children. The winner situation is in the internet and up-dated ongoing. In addition to that the local dealer exhibited and sold Hohner instruments.

Before the group started to hike, the tour guide of the “Schwäbischer Albverein” explained the route and played a song on his historical Hohner accordion.
At 11 o’clock the hiking group around the minister started with approximately 70 people to Lauffen. Among the walkers there’ve also been members of the Hohner management as well as employees.

In Lauffen the local accordion association played for the group and served lunch.
Later the day, after approximately 15 km at 4.00 pm the group reached their finish in Rottweil. The programme, moderated by Walter Frevert was already running to entertain the numerous visitors. Again Jérôme Richard filled the people with enthusiasm with his music.

A local orchestra played and a chorus of young pupils performed. In addition the harmonica workshop animated very successful the whole crowd to play together the Pfister Blues.

The second stage from Oberndorf Bochingen over Sigmarswangen to Sulz
The second stage on 27th of April 2008 started with two specialities: after a visit of the monument of Hermann Schittenhelm – the first conductor of the famous “Hohner Accordion Orchester – the former company orchestra and constitutor of the German accordion movement- the Minister and his walking group went to church.

After that Thomas Schmelze – the man who reached the accordion world record in non stop playing with Hohner support in November 2007 – had organized an event in the vestry of Oberndorf-Bochingen. Musical entertainment was offered by the local accordion orchestra, Jérôme Richard and the harmonica workshop took place.

With about 50 hikers the group walked to Sigmarswangen. In the middle of green fields and trees they had a very pictorial and musical picknick.

Finish of the second stage after 11 km was in Sulz: there the 40 years jubilee event of the accordion group in the music association of Sulz took place. The vestry was already pretty crowded when Pfister and his group came.

Walter Frevert moderated and interviewed guests, Jérôme Richard and a chorus performed and the harmonica workshop took place. The children chorus spontaneously showed big interest in using harmonicas in their music education and the support could be set-up immediately. The prize competition attracted again a lot of children.

The third stage will take place on 8th of June in Gomaringen, Kusterdingen and Pliezhausen.

Many different accordion orchestras will play and Walter Frevert will do the moderation again. Of course our highlights like Jérôme Richard, the prize competition and the harmonica workshop won’t be missing. As well as on the next two stages. Also the press work will continue!

The fourth stage will start in Bietigheim-Bissingen on 28th of June, where an official music festival will be held. It’s a big event with high frequency of Hohner’s target group. The “Landes-Musik-Festival” attracts about 20.000 visitors.

Later that day the walk will lead to another big event, the “Marktplatzfest” in Ludwigsburg. More than 60 associations will participate.
At both events Hohner will do a lot of advertising and animate many people to join the harmonica workshop to show the easy way how to learn this instrument and school classes will learn harmonica playing to support Mr Pfister.

The fifth stage on 29th of June will be at different famous places in Stuttgart, e.g. places were a lot of families and their children spend their day and make weekend excursions.
It’ll start at the castle “Solitude” and end in the middle of Stuttgart at the “Schlossplatz”.

This day will also be the final game of the European Championship of football, a top awareness event. After long negotiation it was managed that the Public Viewing Place in Stuttgart can be used as stage for the final event.