History of the Harmonie

The Los Angeles Swiss Singing Society Harmonie’s beginning can be traced back to a few Swiss immigrants who belonged to the Helvetia Society in early 1920. Late in 1929, under the guidance of Edward Wheeler, the first official meeting was called to order at the Grueter Dairy in La Puente, CA. Walter Schenk was elected as the first Harmonie president.
The “Harmonie” has been an active and vibrant choir in the Los Angeles area ever since, taking special pride in performing Swiss folkloric music in our four national languages – Swiss German, French, Italian, and Romansch, as well as American songs. Currently, the Harmonie holds an annual Spring and Christmas Concert at Swiss Park in Whittier. We rehearse every Monday evening at the same location.

Until 1975, the Harmonie rehearsed at the International Institute. After 1975, rehearsals were held at various locations, including the First and St. Paul’s Church in Los Angeles, The Swiss Park in Duarte and the 10th District PTA Auditorium in Los Angeles. Since 1987, the Harmonie’s home has been at Swiss Park in Whittier, CA - www.swisspark.la, where we rehearse every Monday evening and also hold our annual Spring and Christmas Concerts.
Our active singers come from all over the Southland, including Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino, and San Diego Counties. Apart from our annual concerts, we also perform at the annual Swiss Fair celebrating Swiss Independence Day, and often join other Swiss or German choirs in their concerts, for example the Phoenix Club in Anaheim.
Throughout its history, the Harmonie has had 10 music directors. The current director, Mr. Rodger Whitten, has been with the Harmonie since 2004. All of the directors deserve great credit for helping the members give outstanding and successful performances.

Some special events in which the Harmonie has participated in its recent history are:


  • oo  The opening ceremonies of the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles
  • oo  The bicentennial of the United States constitution at the Hollywood Bowl
  • oo  The 32nd and 36th Singing and Yodeling Alliance in Calgary, Canada
  • oo  A Christmas concert at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles broadcast on PBS
  • oo  Our choir was also chosen to sing the National Anthem at the opening ceremony of the Swiss Abroad Meeting on the occasion of the 700-year birthday festivities of Switzerland in Luzern, Switzerland.
  • oo  Harmonie, in coordination with United Swiss Societies of Southern California, sponsored a float in the 1991 Rose Parade to commemorate the 700 Year Celebration of the founding of Switzerland.
  • oo  In 2005, Harmonie hosted our last USSSPC Sängerfest in Long Beach, California. Three additional USSSPC Sängerfests included those held in 1947, 1966, ad 1984.
  • oo  In 2007 and 2016 the Harmonie had very successful concert tours of Switzerland, visiting many beautiful regions and singing our hearts out in our homeland!
To Enlarge, Click on the Above Picture