Former Czech teacher sets the rhythm for Swiss people

I always like to read success stories. That is the stories of those who have succeeded in an area where it seemed almost impossible at first sight. This is the story of Pavlína Fighter, a former Czech teacher who became a respected conductor of the traditional local choir in Switzerland. You can read her story in today’s interview.

Why did you decide to move to Switzerland?

For me it was always tempting to get to know another country and another language. My husband is Swiss and found an interesting engagement in his home country. Contributed to the decision that our children were not yet of school age.

What did your professional life in the Czech Republic look like?

I taught music and Czech language at high school and at primary school. For five years I led a children’s choir. Since my childhood I have sung in a choir. Singing is a very important part of my life.

Did you already have an idea about your professional career after you moved to Switzerland?

I wanted to continue teaching music. That’s my job. It has always been my desire to teach children how to play the piano, to lead a choir or to teach again in a school.

I would assume that you had no language barrier after moving to Switzerland because your husband was Swiss?

On the contrary, at home, we spoke Czech and to Schwyzerdütsch (Swiss German) I came here actively only after I completed courses in High German and mastered High German. I first learned Schwyzerdütsch thanks to the daily contact with the people, without them I would never have been able to do it. Only after two years was I in a position to try to find a job.

How did you get your present-day job?

It was all a combination of circumstances. Friends asked me why I don’t teach when I’m a teacher. They made me think that I could teach piano playing. Their children were my first pupils.

What’s your class like?

The piano lessons take place at our home. I see an advantage in this because the children feel more relaxed in the home environment. The lessons can also be made up individually.

If you take lessons at home, this will also bring certain demands for your family. What do your children do when a lesson takes place?

They are used to doing their own activities during the lessons so that they do not disturb the lessons.

How many children are you currently teaching?

At the moment there are 6 children, but I could teach up to 10.

One cannot overlook the fact that you have also become the conductor of the local choir “Trachtengruppe”. How did you come to this engagement?

Everyone in our house knows that music and singing mean a lot to me. Through one of our neighbors, I got in touch with the local choir, who were looking for a new conductor.

It is very unusual for someone who is not native to conduct a traditional Swiss choir. How long did the selection process last?

That was a pretty long procedure. From the point of view of a Czech person and with certain misunderstandings about Swiss culture, you would give it up after the first telephone calls. After a few meetings, rehearsals and conversations, the decision between an unknown Czech and an older experienced conductor from Switzerland was too strong. The decision was made at a general meeting of the association. Despite Swiss conservatism, they gave a new unknown the chance. Of course, I also had a bit of luck.

Let’s stay with the Swiss clubs for a moment. Do they have a great tradition?

Switzerland is a country of associations and clubs. Unfortunately, the contemporary members are slowly growing old and there are few young people who would be attracted to the clubs. Some find it too boring, for some it is another compulsory burden.

That is why our traditional “Trachtegruppe” tries to lure families with children. Since spring I have been leading a children’s dance group. In this way we try to pass on the traditions to the youngest generation and expand the repertoire with modern songs.

This is also more attractive and fun for the older members.

The reaction from the audience is fabulous. Proof to us that we are on the right track. We are already looking forward to the next concert!

Is there a difference between leading a children’s choir and leading an adult choir?

Not really, I have the same approach to both groups.

That’s a lot of activity. How do you manage all this?

Above all, I find strong support in the family, otherwise, this would not be possible at all. The rehearsals take place in the evening when my husband can look after the children. From time to time the grandmother and grandfather also help, and I am very grateful to them for that.

What awaits you in the near future?

January is an important month for us. You can listen to the result of our year-round work on three dates at the Heimatabend 2019 in the Saalbau Kirchberg:

16.1.2019 20:00

19.1.2019 20:00

20.1.2019 13:30

We are looking forward to your visit and hope that you will enjoy the evening with us!

Pavlina Kämpfer

She was born more than 30 years ago in the North Bohemian town of Děčín. She is a proud mother of two children and a musician heart and soul.

She dedicates her whole life actively to music, especially solo and choral singing.

She obtained her master degree in music, literature, psychology and pedagogy at the Pedagogical Faculty of the University of J.A. Purkyně.

In Switzerland she teaches piano playing and conducts the choir of the traditional “Trachtengruppe”.

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