Freising folk musician celebrates his 90th birthday today
The folk music scene would not be so rich if it were not for the Freising family musician Meindl. The head is Theo Meindl sen. The celebrates 90th birthday.
With four siblings, Theo Meindl grew up in the town to which he has remained loyal all his life. The love of folk music was already implanted in him by his mother. It was she who encouraged him to learn the zither – a passion that has accompanied him throughout his life. At the tender age of 18, he also met his present wife Anna (born in 1933) during zither lessons. In 1956 the wedding bells rang for the two of them, and they have been married for 65 years – the foundation stone for the Meindl family music. Together they have four sons: Theodor junior, Klaus, Bernhard and Robert. All of them started their folk music careers with the flute, the two older ones then learned the clarinet, Bernhard the accordion and Robert the double bass. As soon as the quartet of Meindl offspring was big enough, the foundation of the family music came about.
For 52 years now, the Meindl family music has stood for genuine customs, for true folk music. And this was and still is appreciated: For example, in 1980 the family music played for Prince Luitpold of Bavaria on the occasion of the launch of the dark “King Ludwig Beer”. For the appearance at folk music competitions one applied – and was successful. Twice the group won the “Zwieseler Fink”, finished with “excellent” at the International Innsbruck Folk Music Competition three times.
Even today, Meindl considers it a special honor to have been invited to the New Year’s reception of the Federal President in 1981 – as one of 25 citizens nationwide. And even though Theo Meindl has received many awards for his services to folk music – from the cultural prize of the district to the Federal Cross of Merit: The profession that Meindl learned after the war has nothing at all to do with music. At the Schlüter company in Freising, he did an apprenticeship as a technical draftsman and later trained as a plant engineer. He remained loyal to the company until his retirement.
And all other areas of Theo Meindl’s life are also characterized by continuity: for example, he has been involved with the Alpine Club for 62 years – he is now even an honorary member. “For 33 years I was a tour guide and organized six hikes every year,” he recalls. It was also at the association’s “Freisinger Hütte” that his enthusiasm for singing was awakened. The consequence: 35 years ago, Theo Meindl founded the Alpine Club Choir. About himself, the jubilarian once said, “I like any music where you can sing along.”
Theo Meindl and his family music have received awards and honors time and again: Anna and Theo Meindl have been recipients of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany since 1982, the Silver Citizen’s Medal of the City of Freising, and in 1982 they received the Culture Prize of the Freising District, which was awarded for the first time at that time. Theo Meindl’s look back on many decades of love and devotion to folk music: “In the many years of our musical life we have matured. I have recorded all the performances in what are now 22 photo albums. We still sing and play today and hope it will continue for a while.”
The recipe for success
The secret of success was once described by Theo Meindl as follows: “Luck and a lot of hard work were necessary for it.”
“My drive never goes like this,” is how Theo Meindl describes his state of health in his typically Boarian way. He regrets that he cannot and must not celebrate his 90th birthday because of the Corona situation. But Theo Meindl would not be Theo Meindl if he did not look to the future with optimism and trust in God: In August, he and his Anna will celebrate their iron wedding anniversary. And by then, he hopes, it will be possible to meet again in a larger circle. “That’s when we’ll catch up on everything.”
Of course, Theo Meindl is still musically active. But even there, apart from a few concerts at Christmas in churches, for which they have freshened up the ensemble playing a bit and practiced playing at a distance, performances by the Meindl family music are not possible at the moment. Meindl’s greatest wish for his 90th birthday? “That the health does not get worse.” After all: vaccinated against Covid-19 he is: “I am immune.” Immune to Corona, but not immune to his love of folk music.