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On the occasion of your ninetieth birthday  Helmuth Droz: “I look back on my life with great gratitude”

On the occasion of your ninetieth birthday Helmuth Droz: “I look back on my life with great gratitude”

“A lot of things in my life have happened happily. I am very grateful for that and that I am still in good shape,” says Helmuth Droz on the occasion of his 90th birthday, which he will celebrate on January 25. He is known in Spittal and Carinthia as the founder Porcia singing circleas co-founder of International Choral Competition In Porsia Castle, as a former mayor, high school principal, and author of many famous Carinthian songs. A full and lively life, where, according to Druze, “everything got along well.” He will celebrate with about 130 guests on January 27 in the hall of the Spittal University of Applied Sciences. It will be celebrated by the singing group under the direction of Bernhard Wolfsgruber, former choir members, friends and family.

Choir director, 16 years old

His highly musical father Werner Droz, who was a Protestant minister in Unterhaus near Seeboden, paved his way as a musician and choral singer. At the age of sixteen he was conducting a choir in the House of Commons. While training as a primary school teacher in Innsbruck, he sang in the “Walther von der Vogelweide” choir in 1954. His first teaching position was in Bussarnitz. They were followed by Radenthen, Gmund, Linde M. Drautal, Steinfeld, Baldrumsdorf and Spittal before taking over HS 3 in Spittal in 1976 after training as a secondary school teacher. His topics: German, English, how could it be otherwise, music.

günter Mittergradnegger, Founder of the Madrigal ChoirHe brought it to Klagenfurt in the mid-1950s as a singer and later became deputy choir director. His future wife Gerlinde, whom he had known since high school, also sang there. “We married in 1958, and on December 27 we celebrated our 65th wedding anniversary in the House of Commons with our children and grandchildren,” Droz says, hoping his wife will remain by his side for many years to come.

1956 was a formative year. The first rehearsal of the Spittal mixed choir took place in the spring. “After two years, we said goodbye to the name and called it the Borsia Singing Circle,” says its founder. After 50 years, it was time to hand over management to Bernhard Wolfsgruber.

Droz was the leader of the Borsia singing group for 50 years

Droz was the leader of the Borsia singing group for 50 years

© KK/Singchris

Mittergradnegger had the idea of ​​holding an international choral competition in Carinthia. “In his opinion, the most beautiful place for it was the inner courtyard of Porcia Castle,” Droz recalled in 1963. The competition, for which the then cultural advisor Michael Lubtowicz opened many doors, developed into a success story that was the beginning. Spittal July still exudes a cosmopolitan feel to this day. The long-time director of the Federal Choir of the Carinthian Singers Association also handed over artistic direction to Wolfsgruber in 2016.

Droz, who received the €14,500 Carinthian State Prize for Culture in 2009 for his extraordinary achievements in the field of popular culture, has always received great applause from the singing group members Heiner Koppensteiner, Karl Waltel and Richard Bertl as a legendary spiritual and gospel quartet.

Richard Bertel, Karl Walthill, Helmuth Droz and Heiner Koppensteiner

Richard Bertel, Karl Walthill, Helmuth Droz and Heiner Koppensteiner

© KK/Singchris

In collaboration with the poet Joseph Hopfgartner, Spittaler created Carinthian Masses and Carinthian songs such as “Auf da Frat'n”, “Dås Jåhr is lei a Wind” or “Immert amål so mittn im Winter”. The Nockalm song cycle was created with his wife Gerlinde. If his life as a high school principal, committed cultural worker and father to Barbara and Walter wasn't already enough, he also moved into local politics in 1978, initially as a cultural officer and from 1983 to 1997 as mayor of the SPÖ. During this 14-year era, he looks back with pride on the fact that “there were relatively few political disagreements”, that he managed not to abuse his “absolute majority in the local council” and that it worked, according to the University of Applied Sciences in 1997 To go to the hospital.

Anniversary celebration ceremony on April 27

“The city bought the Spittl from the federal government and donated it to the Technical College. “This has resulted in a prime example of the successful renovation of a Renaissance building,” says grandfather of Stefan, Konstantin, Martin and Carla, who will not miss the celebration in the Spittle Hall. Just like Bernhard Wolfsgruber, who appreciates “Druz’s openness towards his fellow human beings, regardless of their opinions, and his openness to new things.” “That brought him to where he is today, to the top of the Carinthian choral scene, and to the minds and hearts of many people,” says his successor.

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Singkreis im Spittl is organizing a concert to celebrate the anniversary on April 27 at 7 p.m. Wolfgruber commissioned several composers to handle Drew's pieces. “His well-known vocal language will gain new colors through different approaches from the genres of jazz, folk, world music and contemporary music,” says Wolfsgruber.

“Physical and mental health”

“It's an honor for me to have composers respond to my songs,” says Droz, looking forward to the festival's concert in the spring. What does he want in the nineties? “Physical and mental health and having a good time with my family and friends.”