Lion Carl Voigt, better known as “Concertina Carl,” has yodeled since he was nine years old, I’ve been told. He played the concertina for 43 years after taking three lessons on an 80-year-old Arnold concertina that was made in Germany.
Carl was a charter member of the Hamburg Fire Department 49 years ago. He was an announcer at the tractor pulls the fire department held near Little Chicago on Hwy. A and later along Third Lane. Carl was a charter member of the Berlin-Hamburg Lions Club when the Wausau Lions sponsored it on Sept. 23, 1985. He has been the tail-twister for longer than he will admit, possibly since the first Lion meeting at Rib Falls.
His proudest achievement was being made a Melvin Jones Fellow in the spring of 2009 by his fellow Lions.
Since the first Oktoberfest in 2002, held in a large tent in Little Chicago, he opened the celebration by playing his German style music. He has opened the Oktoberfests with his concertina as “Concertina Carl.” He continues with his German music and singing and yodeling. His concertina is in the car more than anybody else except Lion Joyce.
Carl acts as chaplain for Lions meetings and 27C-1 when the Berlin-Hamburg Lions host the meeting. He has great faith in leading in prayer before meetings and dinners.
Carl has entertained at the Merrill and Wausau Fairs many times. He was invited again last year to entertain at the 2010 Wausau Fair in the exhibition building. Last year he was introduced as an “icon of the community.”
He does a lot of volunteering for parades, nursing homes and birthday parties for old friends who ask him to play for an hour or so. Carl volunteers for around 14 nursing homes in Wausau, Colby, Medford, Merrill and surrounding areas. At most of them he plays once a month. He has brought tears of joy to many nursing home residents’ eyes.
When the Berlin-Hamburg Lions serve the community at fairs, Fun Days and summer festivities at Edgar, Athens, Marathon and Merrill, Carl is an emblem on the float almost as important as the Golden Lion.
Lion Carl will be opening the 8th annual Oktoberfest on Friday, Oct. 1 at 4 p.m. at Pagel’s Pub and Grub in a large tent.