Germania of Poughkeepsie inc.

Poughkeepsie Germania Singers

37 Old Degarmo Road Poughkeepsie NY 12603-2062 – (845) 471-0609

New York State Sängerbund Inc.
Deutscher Chorverband

Celebrating 168 Years!

Germania Singers President

Helga Nowak-Razey

Ms Nowak-Razey, the Präsidentin since 2013 is also a Poughkeepsie Germania Trustee, a member of the Steuben Society, and the New York State Sängerbund 1st Vice President. She is an accomplished Radio Hostess, a wonderful soprano, a mother, Oma, organizer, mentor, baker, chef, even waitress when necessary, and friend of Placido Domingo!
Although she may seem like a whirling dervish please take a moment to say hello to our Energizer Bunny, she always has a smile and time for a friendly chat.

Germania Singers Dirigent

George Calabrese

Mr. George Calabrese has been our Music Director since 2010. A professional engineer, George is also an accomplished violinist. He and his lovely wife Elizabeth are renowned members of the Greater Newburgh Symphony Orchestra and the Cortlandt Chamber Orchestra and perform often throughout the Hudson Valley. George’s thoughtful, patient, and understanding manner encourages his chorus to attain their utmost performance within their limits, abilities, and talent. He is dedicated to help us enjoy our music while maintaining a pleasant atmosphere of friendship and camaraderie.

Newburgh Symphony Orchestra

Cortlandt Chamber Orchestra


We at the Poughkeepsie Germania Singers Inc., the German language men’s and ladies’ chorus in Dutchess County, New York, are the oldest, continuously active, German-American chorus in upstate New York since our beginnings in 1850. The principal purpose and mission of our society is the preservation and promotion of German culture and heritage through music and song. Our many activities throughout the year are designed to help educate our members and community in German history, heritage and tradition.

Each time we perform in concert we renew our commitment to German choral singing brought to this country so long ago. We believe that whenever we perform we rejuvenate our determination to foster and encourage the continuation of our German heritage and tradition in music and song.

Our respect for tradition in our community is carried on in our concert performances of German songs, old and new. For some, the music is a reminder of childhood; for others the music connects them to a part of their heritage, which had been forgotten in the many generations since their ancestors arrived in the new country. For still others, the music introduces them to German heritage, history, and tradition rich in melody and with stories of love, heartfelt longing, happiness, sorrow, nature, humor, and good times.


At age 18 Adolph Kühn had recently arrived in Amerika and loving the songs of his homeland, gathered other German men singers; on 1 May 1850, he founded the Germania Singing Society. On 27 April 1871, it was incorporated as “Germania of Poughkeepsie”. Our constitution was ratified on 18 December 1872 by vote of the membership present at the general meeting. The constitution states our purpose as “the promotion of artistic taste in general and vocal music in particular”.

In 1865, under the direction of Adolph Kuehn, Germania marched in the parade to honor Abraham Lincoln as his funeral was being conducted in Washington, DC. In 1868, Germania held the first Sängerfest in Poughkeepsie. During the 1870’s and 1880’s, Germania held many concerts in and around Poughkeepsie.

In 1910, the Ladies Auxiliary (Frauen-Verein) was formed which was to become the Ladies Singers (Damenchor) in 1929 through the efforts of Mrs. Emelie Stauderman.

In 1925, the 75th anniversary was hugely celebrated; the banquet was set for 500 people. Many of the societies of the New York State Sängerbund sent representatives, over 150 in all. The Frauen-Verein presented Germania with a banner similar to the faded one that had been presented 75 years earlier by the wives and mothers of the original group of singers.

In 1941, Julius Hochmuth became Music Director and continued in this position until 1983 when he retired. In the late 1940s Mr. Hochmuth began a children’s chorus and orchestra. Some of these children are still very active in Germania to this day.

The 1950 celebration of our 100th Anniversary was directed by Julius Hochmuth with Dr. Charles Gilbert Spross as accompanist. Mr. Hochmuth was also the Dirigent at the Kingston Männerchor and Damenchor and directed numerous “Two City” concerts with the Poughkeepsie and Kingston choruses over his long tenure.

The original youth chorus continued until the mid 1950’s and was revised again in the early 1960’s. With the help of Janett Frank, Patricia Kemmerer and Katherine Ulrich this chorus grew to be one of the largest non-school sponsored youth choruses in the area. This chorus continued for a period of ten years under their guidance. At the same time the children’s orchestra begun 1948 grew to combine with the adult orchestra and continued until Mr. Hochmuth retired in 1983.

After many years of devoted service, Pat Kemmerer retired as President in 2013. Helga Nowak-Razey took over the reins and has helped guide our chorus ever since.

At the 2000 Sängerfest in Buffalo our singers heard the Buffalo Schwaben children’s chorus and were inspired to reinitiate the Germania Kinderchor. Music Director Helga Baker, Carol Reichert, and Susan Reichert set up Saturday rehearsals.

Our chorus has a proud history of singing in many choral venues and winning numerous competitions; many trophies attest to their efforts. Throughout the history of Germania our music directors’ able leadership has made our successes possible.

Starting with only three children, the Kinderchor grew to fourteen, performing at the Spring and Fall concerts and at the German Heritage Days at the Poughkeepsie Galleria.

Today’s singers are women and men who love to sing German and American songs. The group may be small, but we’re huge in friendship, camaraderie, and Gemütlichkeit. We are an active member of the New York State Sängerbund and the Deutscher Chorverband; in 2009 we were honored to host a state-wide Sängerfest. Our own Herman Koelmel is the New York State Sängerbund President, Helga Nowak-Razey is the New York State Sängerbund 1st Vice President, and Liz Calabrese is their Bundes Music Committee Secretary.


Helga Nowak-Razey


Ulrike Englehard

Vice President

Elizabeth Calabrese


Katherine Ulrich



Our current Dirigent, George Calabrese, continues the work of his predecessors admirably. The Ladies and Men’s Chorus of the Germania Singers present two formal concerts annually. In addition, we perform at our Christmas and Good Friday Church services, local Oktoberfests, Nursing Homes, and as part of the German Heritage Days at the Poughkeepsie Galleria.

Our chorus sings for the joy and comradeship of creating music with and for our friends and neighbors; we are always looking for new singers. Our Music Director, George Calabrese and the Music Committee choose the concert themes and music based on the abilities of our singers and the desires of our audience. Knowledge of the German language is not required, if you’ve enjoyed listening and tapping your toes with us in the past, come join in and sing with us.

We meet for rehearsals Mondays at 7:30pm. If you would like to add your voice, call the club phone and leave a message. (845)471-0609


Barbel & RoyUtica Sängerfest 2015Utica Sängerfest 2015Utica Sängerfest 2015Utica Sängerfest 2015Singer Outing 2014Rosemary & HelmutPrositPhil & HansPat & RoniOktoberfest 2015NYSSB Oct 2015