It all began in January 2002. The parish of St. Konrad was looking for a few good-natured people willing to perform funny skits or sing a few songs during the dance breaks at a carnival ball. A few years previously, while Claus Heikenwälder was working on his doctoral degree in Berlin, he used to sing in a group called “Vokalanästhesie” [Vocal Anaesthesia]. He still had all his song sheets from that time and passed a few out to his WACKER colleagues. After two practice sessions, they had put together an act consisting of two songs. “Er gehört zu mir” [He Belongs to Me] by Marianne Rosenberg and “Küssen verboten” [Kissing Prohibited] by the Prinzen.
The 200 guests attending the ball at the civic center loved it. The following year, they were asked to perform at the pastor’s birthday celebration and at another carnival event. They also gave a performance at the regional garden show. By this time, their success was unbounded. The Konradis have since traded in their country-style waistcoats for bow ties and dark suits. In 2006, they began holding benefit concerts regularly.
These have, in the meantime, expanded into nine concert series featuring 30 a cappella concerts – not only in Burghausen, but also in Berlin and at a local church in Marktl am Inn, the birth place of the former pope. So far, this men’s group has earned roughly €50,000 and donated it to non-profit organizations or for good causes, including the “Wasser für Camargo” [Water for Camargo] project, which supports well drilling in the Bolivian highlands. Of course, the Konradis also perform regularly at WACKER Burghausen for special site anniversaries or events.
“We practice once a week, but more frequently as a concert approaches,” explains Claus Heikenwälder, who works at WACKER as a “REACH service manager” and is responsible for implementing European chemical legislation. The singers also get along very well outside of work, even if they do not always share the same views. Claus Heikenwälder, for example, dreams of performing in a “very large hall in front of hundreds of people.” In addition, the 47-year old would like the group to record a CD, something fans have been requesting for a long time. “But for us, it would be quite a big step – to finally make it into a recording studio,” says Heikenwälder, who adds with a touch of mischief: “We are not only an a cappella choir, we are a sort of self-help group.”
Not all the Konradis’ concerts fall into the “comedy” genre; besides secular music, their program also includes spiritual songs, which they present in their “Mehr als du glaubst” concert series.
If you’re interested in attending a Konradis concert, visit their website and check out their upcoming concert dates at: www.die-konradis.de