The Young Schuhplattlers (1977-1989) – by Leo Kladnik

In 1977 Leo Kladnik and Rudi Painsi started a boys group called “Die Lustigen Holzhacker Buam”. It was comprised of seven and eight year old boys. At the groups inaugural performance they brought the house down, especially since its existence was kept a secret from the other Schuhplattlers. There were tears in many eyes as the new generation of Schuhplattlers was revealed.

The kids group was not immune from memorable moments:

When the boys were 10 years old they traveled with their parents by bus to Edmonton to perform. Their performance was great and the audience loved them. One of the parents suggested that since they did such a great job that they should join their parents for a beer in the member’s lounge. The boys were thrilled, as they drank their beers and left the lounge to celebrate. A few minutes later Darren came running back into the lounge, claiming the Richard had experienced a heart attack!! The parents came running out of the lounge to attend the stricken Schuhplattler. However a closer examination revealed that it was only heartburn. Leo administered some Tums and he made a miraculous recovery.

During the same year it was suggested that girls join in. “What? – Why would you want girls to join?” the boys asked. But the girls were included nevertheless. Leo remarks on just what an amazing change took place in such a short space of time. The boys would suddenly come to practices with the hair carefully combed, dressed to the nines and smelling of cologne. Maybe letting the girls join in wasn’t such a bad idea after all!

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