Cheese with Music (Käse mit Musik) is an energetic group of musicians playinng Polka and Dance tunes while featuring a lead Alphorn. It derives its name from a popular dish in Germany: a special cheese is soaked in vinegar and onions, served with bread or boiled potatoes. Just one year old in November of 2013, the trio has quickly become a favorite in the Central Ohio polka community, with rave reviews for their professionalism off-stage and their entertainment on-stage.
The trio consists of Angela Buckley on Alphorn/vocalist, Jim Esswein on string bass/Alphorn and wunderkind Accordian Bill Antoniak.
With over 125 years of combined music performance and professionalism, Cheese with Music knows how to respond to a crowd. The band members create a powerful performance in that no breaks are necessary for a two hour gig. Alphorn duets calm and enthrall the crowd while the accordian takes a rest. Accordion and String Bass resonate while Angela actively works the crowd, asking for requests and encouraging dancers. "Sing and Swing" is a common phrase. The most popular part of the program is always the primary trio: Alphorn, String Bass and Accordion. Few works are actively composed for this ensemble, so much of the pieces are self-arranged, and in some cases self-composed.
When the crowd is right, the crazy hats come out and the Chicken Dance makes its way to the floor. At least one "Ein Prosit" per hour is sung. We've had little children dancing the Schuhplattl and adults dancing the polka.
The Alphorn has long been the communicator of the Alps - think of it as the original cell phone. Each summer, the shepherds would take their cows to the heights so they could feed of the fresh grass and allow the valleys time to grow/regenerate. While roaming the heights, they would call home each night to let their family know all is well. Each shepherd had his own call for danger, all is well, etc. It has been said that the tone from the Alphorn can carry 8 miles through the mountains on a clear day. The tones of the Alphorn created such a intense homesickness during the Napoleonic wars, that Napolean outlawed them due to the high number of suicides/desserters amongst his hired soldiers.
The Alphorn is hand made of Spruce, dried in low humidity storage for 5 years, then selected and worked for another year to precise shape and form. The spruce is then wrapped in cane to protect it from the elements (and the inevitable beating a 12' long instrument gets going through doors, into cars and other random performing spaces.) The shape of the bell reflects the stark winds of the Alps - spruce would bend over due to the winter storms and grow with a natural curve. Today, the curve is controlled and introduced using slow steaming and shaping techniques.
Angela Buckley (Alphorn / Vocals),
Jim Esswein (Alphorn / String Bass),
Bill Antoniak (Accordion / Button Box)