Artistic Biography of Herbert and Carol Traxler

Herbert Traxler was born in Vienna, Austria. As an active singer with the celebrated Vienna Boys' Choir for over 4 years, Herbert toured several countries and continents as a child in Europe, North and South America, and lastly (as a soloist) South Africa.

He attended school and university in Vienna (after military service, ending as a lieutenant in the reserves), earning the degrees Diplomkaufman (1967) and Magister (1968) from Vienna's Economics University (when it was the Hochschule fuer Welthandel, now Wirtschaftsuniversitaet). As a university student he participated in the opening committees for many Viennese balls, including the elegant Philharmonikerball. Herbert then received a Fulbright Scholarship to study international relations at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) Bologna Center in Italy (1968/69). While in Bologna he was offered and accepted a teaching assistantship at Florida State University (FSU). He eventually earned a Ph.D. in economics (1968) from FSU, while working in the Planning and Evaluation unit of the Florida Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services (1972-79), the last few years as a branch chief.

In 1979 Herbert was offered a federal position with the U.S. Public Health Service (PHS). He moved to the Washington, DC, area, and had a 22+ year career with the (now defunct) Bureau of Health Planning, then the National Center for Health Services Research (the later Agency for Health Care Policy and Research), and the last 12+ years as a branch chief and finally as a Senior Health Economist for the PHS Bureau of Health Professions, from which he took early retirement in 2002

Carol Bloomquist Traxler was born and grew up in Ashland, Wisconsin. Her Austrian and Swedish immigrant grandparents and her artistic and musical parents strongly influenced Carol's interest in music, dance, and German language and culture.

Carol earned a B.A. in German (1967) from the University of Wisconsin in Madison. She studied at several universities in Germany – Freiburg, Munich, and Nuremberg – and lived in Germany for several years before returning to the U.S. She earned an M.S. in educational psychology (1977) at the University of Wisconsin - Madison, and Ph.D. in educational research methods at UCLA (1984).

Early in her career Carol taught German and English and chaired test development efforts for the U.S. military in Germany. While in the doctoral program at UCLA, Carol worked in educational test development and taught brief courses in statistics at the UCLA Extension in Puerto Rico and in educational testing at the American University in Cairo. She also consulted in educational test analysis for the Egyptian Ministry of Education. In 1984 Carol took a position as research scientist at the Gallaudet Research Institute in Washington, DC, from which she took early retirement in 2005.

An avid proponent of the Internet, Carol developed web pages for the Gallaudet Research Institute, the National Task Force on Equity in Testing Deaf Persons, and the American Educational Research Association's SIG on deaf research as well as for many organizations, including the Alpine Dancers & Singers, the American-Austrian Society, the Washington Saengerbund, the Association of German-American Societies, the Arminius Social Club, and the German World Alliance (a human rights organization), as well as a calendar of cultural events and list of DC- and Baltimore-area cultural organizations. She established and moderates many email groups for communicating with the members of many of these organizations and for other interest groups such as Austrian, German and Swiss cultural events and Viennese waltzing.

In October 2005 Carol was awarded the Federal Republic of Germany Friendship Award. In November 2005, Carol was the 2005 honoree of the German Society of Maryland and the recipient of a Citation by the Governor of Maryland.

In Washington, both Herbert and Carol followed their interests to sing the German music they love. They each joined the Washington Saengerbund (WSB, founded in1851), where they met in 1987. Many Saengerbund friends were singing and dancing at their wedding in 1988. This began their ongoing cultural collaboration and was the beginning of what has become a very active cultural life for Herbert and Carol, for which they have been honored by the governments of Austria and Germany. They each served as music chair of the WSB and collaborated on composer biographies for the newsletter and web site. In 2002 Carol became the first female president of the Washington Saengerbund.

The Traxlers are well known in Washington's extensive Austrian-American, German-American and dance communities as the founders and leaders of the Alpine Dancers, a performing and teaching folk dance group that performs Austrian, German and Swiss folk dances throughout the mid-Atlantic region (www.alpinedancers.org). Founded in 1991, the Alpine Dancers frequently are engaged to appear at the Austrian and German embassies and many other Washington area venues in conjunction with cultural events and festivals, especially Oktoberfests. Since the beginning of their folk dance teaching and performance, they encountered an enthusiastic reception – especially by young people – of the dancing and the music at Oktoberfests and other special events.

In 1996, after a talented group of musicians joined the Alpine Dancers, they founded the Alpine Singers. This enabled them to enjoy the beautiful Alpine folk music repertoire – some in dialect – that is so suited to small groups like this. They have performed their Austrian and German folk music repertoire sung a capella or accompanied by recorders and an Austrian folk harp at the Smithsonian, the Austrian Embassy, and the Heurich House Museum. In 2009 the Alpine Singers completed a CD, available on www.alpinedancers.org/cd.

In 1997, when the Austrian Embassy was planning to hold a Viennese Opera Ball in Washington, the Traxlers became the embassy’s Viennese waltz teachers, with some 700 students that year at the embassy, and another 12 students – including Chelsea Clinton and some of her friends – at the White House. The embassy was again packed with their waltz students the following year, and for both Viennese Opera Balls in Washington they taught the cotillion (Eroeffnungs Komitee) that opened the ball in Viennese style. Subsequently, when Herbert was president of the American-Austrian Society (A-AS; and Carol was the WSB Music Chair) they collaborated on the A-AS newsletter and on event planning, especially several highly successful Christmas Balls organized and chaired by Carol. They continued teaching Viennese waltz lessons at the Smithsonian, at Meridian House, and at a variety of other suitable venues, and now routinely give one or 2 series of Viennese waltz lessons in fall, occasionally including polka, schottische and mazurka, and training a cotillion in the Polonaise, the six Fledermaus Quadrilles and the Viennese waltz so that the Viennese Ball each year can enjoy a traditional Viennese-style opening ceremony. Since 2005 the cotillion has also been asked to perform at the Russian New Year’s Ball at the Mayflower Hotel. In December 1998 Herbert and Carol were each awarded the Decoration of Merit in Gold (Goldenes Verdienstzeichen) from the Republic of Austria, in recognition of their cultural efforts. In his speech The Austrian Ambassador Dr. Tuerk stressed that this honor was connected particularly with the contribution made by the Traxlers to the great success of the two Viennese Opera Balls in Washington (1997 And 1998). In December 2009 Herbert and Carol were the honorees at the annual Christmas Viennese Ball where former cotillion members and others recognized their many years of training opening cotillions and teaching Viennese waltz and promoting Viennese balls in Washington (the Austrian Ambassador also attended this ball). The Traxlers are pleased to have been credited with much of the proliferation in Viennese waltzers in Washington since 1997, when they first began teaching the intensive Viennese waltz lessons at the Austrian Embassy.

The Washington area has a very active Ball scene, with several organizations courting young professionals by planning elegant events for their members. These often include a Grand March and a Quadrille led by the Traxlers. The International Club of DC, Things To Do DC, Euronet, Cosmopolitans, Wine Tasting Association, German Wine Society, and DC Young Professionals have asked the Traxlers to perform or teach in embassies and other elegant venues. The Traxlers are often asked to teach the Fledermaus Quadrille, which is danced by all at midnight at most balls in Vienna, and at other times they perform with the Alpine Dancers or prepare a young energetic group of DC Karneval Dancers to dance in tricorn hats, red costumes, and high boots for a festive Fasching or Karneval in the German Embassy.

The events that garner such enthusiasm for German and Austrian culture among many in the Washington area is fostered greatly by the Internet. Through the inexpensive and efficient advertising by our local organizations and the Traxlers via email to their friends lists and via their web sites many people learn of cultural events of interest.

The Traxlers travel to Austria frequently and occasionally also to Germany to visit family and friends, participate in Balls and folkdance festivals, and to gather folk music and dance material to use with the Alpine Dancers, the DC Karneval Dancers, and Viennese waltz classes. They currently spend about 4 months annually in Europe.

Information about the balls, the Viennese waltz lessons, and about Viennese waltz in general, as well as about the Alpine Dancers may be found at www.viennesewaltz.org

Articles

Carol and Herbert Traxler receive the Austrian Decoration of Merit in Gold, The Daily Press, Ashland, Wisconsin, April 28, 1999.

Goldenes Verdienstzeichen Österreichs an Carol und Herbert Traxler verliehen , The Daily Press, Ashland, Wisconsin, April 28, 1999.

Die "Alpine Dancers & Singers" – Volkstanz (und Wiener Walzer) in und um die US Bundeshauptstadt , Der Froehliche Kreis, Wien, Maerz 2008, pp. 4-5.

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