Winkler’s rich history of music and choral directors are also on display at the museum, including prominent 1940’s era composer and conductor Dr. K.H. Neufeld. His instruments and compositions have been donated to the Heritage Society and are on display to the public.
Mr. K. H. Neufeld, B.A., B. Sc., Mus. Doc., was born December 10, 1892, at Nikolajewka, South Russia, and received his elementary, high school, college and university education in the old country before coming to Canada in 1923. He was married to Miss Susie Neufeld on September 15, 1919. Mr. and Mrs. Neufeld had a family of four children one of which died in infancy and their only son Cornie died accidentally as a teenager.
K.H. Neufeld moved to Winkler from Russia in 1924 and by 1927 was hired as the choir director of the Winkler Bergthaler Church and held that position until 1947. His music ministry was very much appreciated.
He was the prime inspiration for many musical activities, one of the foremost was the Musical Festival started by him in 1932. From 1938 to 1943 the Winkler Male Voice Choir, conducted by K.H. Neufeld, managed the festival. In 1944 the choir ceased existing and Mr. Neufeld came up with the idea of setting up an organization that would have as its sole objective the promotion of the festival. He frequently almost single-handedly organized festival events. He rented halls and hired adjudicators, selected test pieces, and as an editor and printer, he printed the annual festival syllabus.
K.H. Neufeld received his degree of Doctor of Music from the St. John’s University in Ambur, India in 1953.
Many young people were influenced to develop their musical talents. Some of those from the Winkler Bergthaler Church who made it their career are Phil Ens Jr., Bill Janzen Jr., Shirley Elias and Reynold Siemens.
For 18 years (1929-47), he was the director of the Winkler Bergthaler Church Choir. He died at Winkler on January 12, 1957, at the age of 64 years.
Heritage Highlights, supplied by the Winkler Heritage Society, introduces readers to the people, places and things that still impact us today. The Winkler Heritage Museum is located in the Southland Mall and is open Tuesday to Friday, 12 to 4 p.m., Saturdays 10 am – 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. on Thursday evenings. The Archives located in the Winkler Centennial Library are open Wednesdays from 3 to 5 p.m.. For appointments call archivist Ed Falk at 204-325-8929. The Stones and Stories binders are on display at both locations. Come for a visit! One way of showing support for the Winkler Heritage Society (Archives, Stones & Stories and Museum) is by becoming a member of the Society. Forms may be picked up at both the Archives and Museum.