The Alphorn Grüezie frequently accompanies the Columbus Swiss Singers to concerts and special events. The ensemble has five performers, who are called “blowers”: Jed Hacker (lead), Angela Buckley, Jim Esswein, Noel Franks, and Matt Sanders.
For more information on the Alphorn Grüezie or to schedule an appearance, email Jed Hacker.
Here is a YouTube of the group playing “The Rolling Pastures of Sugarcreek,” composed by Jed Hacker:
Alphorns are made from young spruce and pine trees that grow on the mountainsides of Switzerland. The natural curve of the tree enables the alphorn to produce a sound that can be heard up to 4 miles away, which made it an effective form of communication. The oldest known alphorns date to 1400 AD.
To make the alphorn, the tree is hollowed out and the outsides are sanded to a smooth finish. Rattan is wrapped tightly around the tube. Typically, the alphorn is made in three pieces to facilitate storage and travel, since the alporn itself is about 11 feet long. When the alphorn is completed, it is tuned to either F or G. There are no valves, keys, or holes. The sound is produced entirely by the blower’s lips and exhaled air.
More about alphorns, from The Alphorn Project.