18 November, 2014


Stand vom Montag

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Erwin Rauschendorfer

Erwin Rauschendorfer was born on June 27, 1959 to Erwin and Annemarie Rauschendorfer of Rochester, Michigan.  Erwin has a brother Karl and sister Ingrid.  He grew up on Longview in Detroit until 1970 when his parents built a house and moved to Rochester.  Erwin wanted to play the accordion.  An accordion was the cost of a year’s salary at the time, but his parents bought him one anyway.  His parents indulged him by letting him participate in many accordion competitions.  This took them to many places throughout the U.S.  He attended Adams High School and played the bass drum in marching band.  He attended G.T.E.V. “Edelweiss” events with his parents and his great aunt and uncle Caroline and Zeno Schaefer.  He spent many an hour at these events watching Herb Langegger play button accordion.  Erwin joined the club in 1979 and became the accordionist for the Plattlergruppe.  In 1980, on a trip to Germany, he tracked down the factory that made button boxes in the Bavarian town of Freilassing.  The owner took a shine to Erwin and gave him a tour of the factory.  Upon leaving, Erwin had managed to win the owner’s heart so that his name was moved up on the waiting list.  He would be able to pick his brand new instrument up when he left in two weeks.   He had no clue as to how he was going to pay for this new acquisition.  Oma in Bavaria took care of this first problem just fine!  The second problem was how to get said button box back to America. When he boarded the plane, the box would not fit under the seat or in the overhead bin.  The stewardess said the box had to be checked.  He put up such a fuss that the pilot came out and asked what was going on (before the days of TSA obviously).  The box flew home behind the pilot’s seat! 

His love of the accordion would lead to forming a band called “the Echos” with George Schleis, Eric Schulz and Rob Schwalbe.  In 1983, Erwin and Rob Schwalbe formed “Music by Festival” with Babe Murmyluk and Martin Kramer.   The band produced one record in 1984 called “Am Wendelstein”.  Erwin played with “Die Rheinlanders” on a regular basis after Big Frank’s death.  Erwin’s natural musical talent and versatility made him a much sought after substitute for many Detroit area musicians over the years.  He has a strong conviction for preservation so he has also recorded and produced other CDs to document the talents of other musicians.  Erwin has earned the designation of Thespian Sponsor from his community service to Eisenhower High School for being Sound and Video Master and producing the last six spring musicals.  He became president of G.T.E.V. “Edelweiss” in 1999.  Erwin retains this post to the present day, making him the second longest serving president in the club’s 80 year history!  Erwin devotes a large part of his time to one of his greatest passions:  the preservation and promotion of authentic Bavarian-Alpine folk music. Collaboration with Rick Michels produced a children’s Christmas CD in 1999 called “Kloanes Kindl, Grosser Gott”.  This CD emphasized the musical talent of the children of G.T.E.V. “Edelweiss.” They continued to mature musically, due in large part to “Uncle” Erwin’s sound advice and encouragement.  He has been known to lend his instruments or even pick up a new one to allow the kids to showcase their talent, all the while taking a “musical back seat” himself. He does love to collect instruments, though!  Erwin’s musical aptitude is reflected in his ability to play the following list of instruments:  piano accordion, button box, upright string bass, various forms of the tuba, baritone, French horn, Hackbrett, bass drum, guitar, piano, Okarina, and keyboard.  He also owns at least one version of most of these instruments!    He co-founded a Tanzlmusi, or dance band, within “Edelweiss” for the express purpose of fostering authentic alpine dance music.  Erwin has been married to Barb for the past 25 years.  Their marriage produced a daughter, Caroline who recently graduated from Michigan State University.  Erwin has worked at Wayne State University for the past 25 years and is currently the Chief Information Officer for Wayne State University School of Medicine and University Physicians Group. 

Erwin would probably rather remain the silent man in the rhythm section behind the “Edelweiss” singers and musicians, providing the sound and technical assistance necessary to promote the Bavarian traditions he treasures so dearly.  His friends and  family, however, are convinced it’s precisely because of his devotion to the Bavarian-Alpine folk music that Erwin Rauschendorfer is most deserving of this state’s highest honor!



Last modified on:02/23/2014

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