On March 1, 1911, a small group of nine music loving Germans met in the rooms of the Concordia Society in Danbury for the purpose of forming a male chorus. Most of these men had belonged to similar organizations in their old “Vaterland”, which enabled them to conduct the business of that first meeting in a swift and orderly manner. The name “Maenner-Gesangverein Arion” was chosen for the new society. When it was registered with the state of Connecticut on August 23, 1915, the title “The Danbury Arion Singing Society, Inc.“ was used. The Arion is affiliated with the Federal Clubs of Connecticut and has been a member of the Connecticut Saengerbund since September 8, 1913. And, it was the next year, on October 16, that the women formed the Ladies Auxiliary of the Arion Singing Society.
The Arion members made their home in what is today the Omaha Beef Company on the corner of Maple Avenue and Crosby Street in Danbury between 1929 and 1980. That year, the Arion temporarily relocated to the Elks Lodge on Main Street. The Elks quarters served the Arion’s purposes for five years; however, conditions became such that a new, more suitable facility was needed. The Arion was lucky enough to locate the building on 411 Danbury Road in New Milford and remained there until August, 2018.
In 1992, the first Christkindlmarkt was held and, in both 1998 and 2007, the Arion hosted the annual Saengerfest. The first Oktoberfest made its debut in 1998 and was a success every year afterwards until 2017 when the Arion hosted its final and most noteable festival. In June 2018, the Arion Singing Society closed its doors at 411 Danbury Road in New Milford and returned to its 'roots' in Danbury. The Danbury Museum and Historical Society will be the new setting where the Arion will continue in the choral tradition.
The Arion has been under the leadership of Gunther Bohnsack and Karla Roder for many years. Let us hope that the Arion Singing Society will carry out the noble intentions that the original organizers envisioned and continues to raise voices in song!