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... promoting German culture in the Peoria, Illinois area through song, sport, food, drink and fellowship!

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Alphorn Players

Al Hedemann

Todd Meier

Merv Rennich

Tom Howard

Chad Rutschke

Dick Hanson

About the Alphorn

The Alphorn is a centuries old instrument. Archaeological records in Central Europe date the Alphorn back nearly two thousand years and 9th century church records in what is now Germany describe an Alphorn used for morning and evening prayers. A 16th century church located in the alps has a Alphorn pictured in its stained glass window. Early instruments in the mountainous regions of the alps were used for signaling and to announce daily activities. It was used to calm the dairy cows at milking time and it was the twilight signal for the flocks of sheep to settle in for the night as the shepherds exchanged rustic melodies across the valleys. From high above, the Alphorn was used to signal those below that all was well or in rare cases that help was needed.

Today the Alphorn is primarily used by musicians. The horn is about twelve feet long and is carved from a single tree and overwound with birch bark or caning. The Alphorn sound is produced by the player “buzzing” his lips much like that done with a brass instrument. The horn is conical and this shape produces a mellow and reverberant sound that can carry for long distances. It has a four-octave range, but since it has no keys, finger holes, valves, or slides, it is not a chromatic instrument. This means that it can only produce the pitches in its overtone series (about 15 out of a possible 48 in four octaves) and cannot sound those pitches in between.

The Lindenhof Echos

In 2005 Al Hedeman and Todd Meier started playing the two horns mounted on the wall at the Peoria German Club’s facility, the Lindenhof. The two horns (both in the key of F) were bought by the club to be used by bands that came from Germany for the local Oktoberfest. They played the horns for a few events for about a year when a club member, Tom Stanesa donated a horn to the club he had acquired and decided he didn’t want to play. Merv Rennich was asked to join the group and an Alphorn trio was formed. They called themselves the Lindenhof Echoes and began playing for local fests and events.

A year later in 2007, Merv acquired his own Alphorn made in Germany and Tom Howard joined the group to make up an Alphorn Quartet. They entertained at Oktoberfests, Club fests at Hickory Grove, Worldfests at the Civic Center, church events, and some private parties. The audiences applauded them as far away as St. Louis.

In 2010 two more horns were acquired from Germany. Chad Rutschke and Dick Hanson joined the Echoes and the group became a sextet. Listeners are captivated by the rich tones of the resonant instruments. The ensemble continues in popularity and has increasing requests to play not only in Peoria and Central Illinois, but also out of state.

To book or contact the Lindenhof Echoes
email Al Hedeman at:



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For Lindenhof Alphorn Echos or Peoria German American Society information email -