Karl Eduard Gotthilf Kuhlo (* 21 December 1822 in Gütersloh; † 19 March 1891 in Gohfeld (now a district of Löhne)) was a German Lutheran pastor and co-founder of the Protestant trombone choir movement, which arose as part of the Pietist revivalist movement in Minden-Ravensberg.
Origin and youth
Eduard Kuhlo’s father was the rector of the boys’ school in Gütersloh and cantor of the parish Karl Philipp Kuhlo (1786-1868). His mother was Katharine Agnese née Zumwinkel (1786-1867). Eduard was the youngest son. His father was musically gifted and taught Eduard as well as his brother Karl to play the piano. Through his father Eduard Kuhlo got already as a child contact to Johann Heinrich Volkening, who was a fatherly friend to him all his life. In 1828 the family moved to Heepen near Bielefeld, where the father became rector and sexton. In this rural environment Eduard Kuhlo became familiar with the Low German language, which facilitated his access to the common people in his later ministry. He attended the Gymnasium in Bielefeld and graduated in 1842.
Studies and first jobs
At his own request and also in accordance with his father’s wishes, he studied theology in Berlin with Ernst Wilhelm Hengstenberg and the church historian August Neander, who impressed him with their deep piety. Here he experienced a conversion and recognized himself as a pardoned sinner. He was a member of the Singakademie and absorbed essential impulses that later influenced the selection of his sheet music. There he sang works by Bach, Handel, Haydn, Mozart, Mendelssohn and other composers. Afterwards he studied in Bonn from 1844 with Karl Immanuel Nitzsch and Karl Heinrich Sack. He passed the 1st theological exam in Münster in the fall of 1845. He was certified as having a lively knowledge of the Bible and a special gift for “powerful popular speech”. He then assisted his father in teaching at the Heepen school. In the fall of 1847 he passed the second exam and went to Schildesche near Bielefeld as an assistant preacher on November 1, 1847. Afterwards he went as a tutor to the manor Oberbehme near Herford to the family von Laer, whose daughter Ida von Laer he married in 1854.
On 10 April 1851 he was ordained in Gohfeld (now a district of Löhne) and employed as assistant preacher at the present Simeon Church. He opposed alcohol consumption, which aroused some opposition in the congregation. Only after the intercession of the Prussian King Friedrich Wilhelm IV. was he appointed as pastor in Gohfeld on 12 February 1854 and married Ida von Laer. The couple had six children: Elisabeth (1855-1914), Johannes (1856-1941), Karl (b. 1858), Anna (1862-1921), Auguste (b. 1863) and Eduard (b. 1867).
Eduard Kuhlo worked in Gohfeld as a cozy and heartfelt farmer-pastor and pastor, speaking plainly and simply. On Sunday afternoons Kuhlo carried on the tradition of catechetical Bible studies, sometimes attended by persons of higher rank, such as a minister who was at Bad Oeynhausen for a cure. He promoted missionary work abroad. This was done by participating in mission festivals. He and his helpers also went from house to house in the community to collect for the mission. He also championed the Inner Mission, which involved youth care, welfare, and against alcohol abuse. He gathered the youth who had been released from school into Young Men’s and Young Women’s Associations to protect them from moral dangers. In 1864 he founded the Gohfeld Young Men’s Association, from which a trombone choir was formed a year later. Eduard Kuhlo himself did not play a brass instrument throughout his life, but he led the trombone choirs by singing the individual parts.
He promoted religious edification and a sense of community through the sung word, which was especially effective in liturgical celebrations at Christmas, during the Passion season, and on Death Sunday. He introduced polyphonic singing in his congregation, which had not previously been common in rural parishes. The musically committed young people also developed a social commitment, for example by visiting the sick and offering them singing and trombone playing. With donations he was able to build a nursing home for the community in 1887, which still exists today.
After the death of his wife in 1889, his strength waned. In the winter of 1890/91 he went from house to house in his parish to take up a collection for the Barmer Mission. As a result, he fell seriously ill with pneumonia and died of it on 19 March 1891. At his funeral, a large trombone choir of several hundred wind players played.
Services to the trombone choir movement
Association work and choir foundations
In 1860, Eduard Kuhlo was appointed Kreispräses for the district association Minden-Ravensberg and Lippe in the federation of the Rheinisch-westfälischen Jünglingsvereine were elected. The federation had been founded in 1854. In it the youth clubs and trombone choirs were organized supra-regionally. Eduard Kuhlo was very committed to the singing and trombone choirs. In addition to the trombone choir in Gohfeld, he also founded, together with his son Johannes, the trombone choir of the grammar school in Güterslohwhich his sons attended. He also helped many trombone choirs in their founding phase. Between 1865 and 1883 50 trombone choirs were founded in Westphalia, which is also due to his work. District festivals were celebrated annually, at which Eduard Kuhlo preached as well as Johann Heinrich Volkening. At the 15th county festival in 1869 5000 people met near Bergkirchen near Bad Salzuflen. 80 brass players were conducted there by Eduard Kuhlo.
Publication of suitable sheet music literature
Another of Eduard Kuhlo’s accomplishments was the publication of a uniform collection of sheet music for trombone choirs. He collected chorales, folk songs and motets from various sources and created handwritten sheet music for his Gohfeld choir. What was new was that, thanks to Johannes Kuhlo’s pioneering idea of standardizing the basic tuning and introducing the sounding notation, the wind players could now play from printed score books instead of from individual parts that had to be handwritten. In 1881 the 303-page Trombone Book of the Minden-Ravensberg Trombone Choirs was published, which offered the trombone choirs an extensive collection of chorales and performance pieces. Eduard Kuhlo’s sound ideal was based on the principle of vocal imitation. In contrast to his son Johannes, he also gave cylindrical instruments a place alongside conical ones.
Gathering the wind players through trombone festivals
From 1874 he initiated trombone days, usually held on Ascension Day. The first one took place in 1874 with 250 brass players in the Minster Church in Herford. He worked out the programme for it. In addition to trombone choirs, men’s, women’s and mixed choirs with organ accompaniment also took part. Thus he shaped the service form of the trombone choirs. After his death, his son Johannes continued these trombone festivals after a short break. Today’s trombone festivals, which sometimes take place with several thousand wind players, grew out of this tradition.
- Friedrich Temming: Pastor Eduard Kuhlo, der Vater der Posaunen-, Jünglings- und Jungfrauenvereine in Minden-Ravensberg. 2. Edition, Gütersloh 1924.
- Heinrich Budde und Johannes Kuhlo: Pastor Eduard Kuhlo, der Vater der Jünglingsvereine und Posaunenchöre in Minden-Ravensberg. In: Zeugen und Zeugnisse aus Minden-Ravensberg, Vol. 1 und 2, ed. by Wilhelm Heienbrok. Bielefeld 1990, ISBN 3-501-00966-6, pp. 405-417.
- Friedrich Wilhelm Bauks: Die evangelischen Pfarrer in Westfalen von der Reformation bis 1945 (= Beiträge zur Westfälischen Kirchengeschichte, Vol. 4). Bielefeld 1980, no. 3566(full text).
- Klaus Pönnighaus: Kuhlo, Eduard Gotthelf. In: Biographisch-Bibliographisches Kirchenlexikon (BBKL). Band 4, Bautz, Herzberg 1992, ISBN 3-88309-038-7, Sp. 788-790.
- Wolfgang Schnabel: History of the Protestant Trombone Choir Movement of Westphalia 1840-2000. Bielefeld 2003, pp. 41-77.
- Roland Gießelmann, Regine Krull: Posaunenchöre in der Erweckungsbewegung. In: Frommes Volk und Patrioten, Erweckungsbewegung und soziale Frage im östlichen Westfalen 1800 bis 1900, ed. by Josef Mooser, Regine Krull, Bernd Hey, Roland Gießelmann. Bielefeld 1989, ISBN 3-927085-13-8, pp. 288-338.
- The first name Karl is found in Heinrich Budde and Johannes Kuhlo: Pastor Eduard Kuhlo, der Vater der Jünglingsvereine und Posaunenchöre in Minden-Ravensberg. S. 405.
- Wolfgang Schnabel: Geschichte der evangelischen Posaunenchorbewegung Westfalens 1840-2000, p. 41.
- Friedrich Temming: The trombone father Pastor Eduard Kuhlo, p. 17.
- Wolfgang Schnabel: Geschichte der evangelischen Posaunenchorbewegung Westfalens 1840-2000, p. 43.
- Friedrich Temming: The trombone father Pastor Eduard Kuhlo, p. 22.
- Wolfgang Schnabel: Geschichte der evangelischen Posaunenchorbewegung Westfalens 1840-2000, p. 45.
- Eduard Kuhlo Home
- Heinrich Budde und Johannes Kuhlo: Pastor Eduard Kuhlo, der Vater der Jünglingsvereine und Posaunenchöre in Minden-Ravensberg, S. 416.
- Roland Gießelmann and Regine Krull: Posaunenchöre in der Erweckungsbewegung, S. 312
- This association was the forerunner of the YMCA-Westbund
- Friedrich Temming: Der Posaunenvater Pastor Eduard Kuhlo, p. 51.
- Wolfgang Schnabel: Geschichte der evangelischen Posaunenchorbewegung Westfalens 1840-2000, p. 77.
- Wolfgang Schnabel: Geschichte der evangelischen Posaunenchorbewegung Westfalens 1840-2000, p. 49.
- Friedrich Temming: The trombone father Pastor Eduard Kuhlo, pp. 54-55.
- Wolfgang Schnabel: Geschichte der evangelischen Posaunenchorbewegung Westfalens 1840-2000, p. 52.
- Wolfgang Schnabel: Geschichte der evangelischen Posaunenchorbewegung Westfalens 1840-2000, p. 54.
- Wolfgang Schnabel: Geschichte der evangelischen Posaunenchorbewegung Westfalens 1840-2000, p. 49.
- Wolfgang Schnabel: Geschichte der evangelischen Posaunenchorbewegung Westfalens 1840-2000, p. 57.
- Video of the Federal Trombone Festival 2015 of the YMCA Westbund
|ALTERNATE NAMES||Kuhlo, Karl Eduard Gotthilf|
|SHORT DESCRIPTION||german Protestant pastor, co-founder of the Protestant trombone choir movement|
|DATE OF BIRTH||21. December 1822|
|PLACE OF BIRTH||Gütersloh|
|STERBEDATUM||19. March 1891|
|DESTINATION||Gohfeld (today a district of Löhne)|