Arion Gesangverein -FOUNDED: 21 October 1850; PURPOSE:To promote the cultivation of German music, song and culture in the United States through concerts, song festivals and Liederabende. ARION GESANGVEREIN is a non-profit, educational society. Membership is open to those persons having a love for singing and for the language and traditions of Germany. New singers are always welcome; an ability to speak German is not required as help is given on both music and speech. Rehearsals are held at Zion Lutheran Church on City Hall Plaza in downtown Baltimore. The Arion Gesangverein is one of the few remaining Singing Socieites. History
In the early 1900s to the mid 1900s, the group met at their Arion Hall on Frederick Avenue. At one time, the club owned its own clubhouse and a small park, where the members would picnic, sing and of course, drink bier. They are gone, but the road, Arion Park Road, still exists.
ARION, one of the oldest singing societies in the United States, was named after the Greek poet-musician who is considered the mythical founder of choral singing. This Society has been continuously active since the time of its founding. It was the second singing society founded in Baltimore. The first was the Baltimore Liederkranz, which was founded in 1836.
Within two years of ARION'S founding, this outstanding choral group had captured the heart of Baltimore to such an extent that it was invited to sing at a reception honoring the touring Hungarian Freedom Fighter, Ludwig Kossuth.
In 1888, 1889, 1910, 1941, 1963 and 1988, by invitations from the State of Pennsylvania, the Grand Army of the Republic and, later, from the Sons of Union Veterans, the ARION again performed at celebrations marking the Anniversaries of the original dedication of the National Military Cemetery; they also performed at the dedication of Pennsylvania's Monument to that State's War Dead.
On its 100th Anniversary, ARION was awarded the prestigious Zelter-Plakette, a distinguished honor presented by the Deutscher Saengerbund in recognition of the high regard in Germany for ARION'S accomplishments. Karl Friedrich Zelter, after whom this award is named, was Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's friend and also wrote the music for Goethe's poems.
ARION gives concerts in the Baltimore and Washington Areas, has sung throughout Maryland and the adjacent States, and has been heard in Germany over the facilities of Sud-Deutscher Rundfunk (the Bavarian radio network). It has performed in the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall and for the "Festival of Trees", a Christmas celebration held in Baltimore's Convention Center.
Since 1857, ARION has participated in the National Song Festivals that are held every three years in various cities along the East Coast.