Social event at Davos meeting held at Schatzalp

Authored by: Niels Kuster, and Janie Page

Published on: Jul 01, 2009

Local culinary and musical treasures highlighted the social event of the joint meeting of the BEMS and EBEA (European Bioelctromagnetics Association) in Davos, Switzerland June 14-19, 2009. It was held at the Schatzalp, a hotel and restaurant located 300 meters above Davos just above the tree line. Schatzalp is well-known from the Thomas Mann’s novel “The Magic Mountain”. Attendees reached the location via a short (four minutes) ride on a funicular from the center of Davos or by hiking up from the conference center

Following speeches by presidents of both the BEMS and EBEA societies, awards were presented to thank sponsoring agencies. Next, Bernard Veyret gave short oration highlighting the twentieth anniversary of EBEA. It is reprinted in this issue of the newsletter.

Due to the weather, members then went inside the Schatzalp to enjoy a menu featuring local delicacies, including carpaccio of dried Grisons meat (Grisons refers to the canton in which Davos is situated), hay soup, braised beef with pizokels, and wild berries in a sour cream pudding.

The social event at the Schatzalp entertained guests with music spanning a wide musical range from rock-n-roll to yodeling with bells.

Appenzeller-Chläuse

As part of the festivities, participants were treated to a special performance by the Silvesterchläuse. This group presented part of on old custom in the village of Urnäsch in the canton of Appenzell Ausserhoden (hinterland) in which masked performers who go from house to house in small groups called ‘Schuppeln’ with big cow bells, masks, ornate headdresses and costumes yodeling wordless songs called ‘Zauren’ to wish the families blessings and happiness and to drive away evil spirits.

Although the masks represent both men and women, this is a purely male custom. There are three types of Chläuse: the ugly ones, the beautiful ones and the woodland and nature ones. They sing the so-called Zäuerli of Appenzell or improvised, polyphonic yodels without words. A solo singer often starts a slow natural yodel, while the others
search for a corresponding tone, which they sing or hum like a bourdon to accompany the melody.

The origin and meaning of this ancient custom are the subject of speculation, because few written documents exist. The Chläuse are probably based on a demon cult that apparently merged with vegetation and fertility cults near Urnäsch. They typically perform only on January 13, the old Silvester (New Year’s Eve according to the old Julian calendar). Old New Year’s Eve, January 13, can be traced back to a conflict about the calendar that broke out in the 16th century, when Pope Gregory II improved the Julian calendar by moving New Year’s Eve ahead thirteen days. The  the old calendar.

Ringing their bells and yodeling, the Chläuse wish everyone happiness and prosperity for the New Year, but perhaps a fruitful and stimulating meeting in our case.

Tin Soldiers

Before and after dinner, the Tin Soldiers brought down the Schatzalp until 1am with all the energy and excitement of a live open-air rock concert. Five charismatic young men, including one of IT’IS’ very own, Jonathan Gubler who works part-time as a graphic designer, constructed nothing less than a dynamic act with a lush mix of energetic and soulful songs that spanned the last 50 years from Otis Redding to Willie Nelson to the Verve. Their vast experience, natural talent and obvious camaraderie made for a festive and light-hearted evening, After putting on their best moves for this rockin’ band, the somewhat bleary-eyed BEMS and EBEA partygoers were left with an extra spring in their steps for the rest of the meeting.

Renato Frischknecht ~ lead vocals
Jonathan Gubler ~ guitar & vocals
Raffael Meyer ~ guitar
Clemens Schepperle ~ bass & vocals
Sandro Erne ~ drums

For more information about the band, please visit http://www.tinsoldiers.ch/