The Flachau Silent Night Brass Band – has been an atmospheric musical tradition for over 70 years now.
It's Christmas Eve, just after 4.00 pm, and dusk is setting in. Time for the brass band ensemble of the Flachau Village Band to make their way to the end of the valley in Flachauwinkl.
Here, at the Jagdhaus Kiener, the ensemble run by Peter Schnell plays "Silent Night, Holy Night," for the first time this evening - probably the most famous and most touching Christmas carol in the world.
The ensemble consisting of two flugelhorns, two tenors and a tuba performs to create a Christmas atmosphere at more than twenty stations between Flachauwinkl and Reitdorf. The musicians defy wind and weather, and should it be particularly cold, the tuba will be lovingly warmed with a hot-water bottle, as Peter Schnell, who has been a member of the "Silent Night Music" for more than 50 years, tells me.
The giving of presents always takes place a little later in the Schnell family than in other families. However, everyone is used to it, especially since daughter Bernadette was also a member of the brass band for a while. In the winter of 1949/50, the Silent Night brass band toured the Flachau valley for the first time. The idea for this came from former bandmaster Michael Huber, who at the time, together with the sons of the "Vorderrohr" Rupert and Rudi Kaml, went from farm to farm, first by horse-drawn sleigh and later by tractor to deliver musical Christmas wishes.
Today, as in the past, waiting for the Silent Night brass band is a social event in the whole village.
It brings people together. People meet at the stations, chat, and often toast Christmas with a little tipple. The performance of the Silent Night brass band has become a cherished tradition for many regular guests too.