Who accidentally enters a yodeling contest—and wins? Someone who understands that in yodeling, as in life, you gotta commit.
Editor’s Note: On Oct. 1, while you and I were shopping for the week or doing laundry or wrapping up a hike, Eva Glasrud was at the Mountain View Oktoberfest in her new dirndl singing “yodelayheehoo” in public for the first time and doing it better than anyone else. Learning this, we wondered, “Who is this person?” Ms. Glasrud, who resides in Redwood City, kindly answered our impertinent questions.
1. Congratulations on winning the yodeling contest at the Mountain View Oktoberfest. Have you yodeled before?
Thank you — and definitely not! Well, not officially. But when I was young — maybe 7 or 8 — I was obsessed with The Sound of Music. I watched the movie over and over, I saw it on stage, and we even had the soundtrack! My family did a road trip from Iowa (where I was born) to Colorado one summer, and we listened to The Sound of Music pretty much the whole way!
Being from Iowa, I’d never actually seen mountains before. I remember the moment I first saw them, way off in the distance. They were so different from anything I’d ever drawn or painted before! And, of course, they reminded me a lot of The Sound of Music. Naturally, this resulted in endless “yodeling” in caves, while hiking, and at scenic overlooks.
Need a refresher on ‘The Lonely Goatherd’? Right:
2. Any other yodeling influences?
As of Sunday, my yodeling influence is Margot Turrell, the lead vocalist of the Oktoberfest band, AlpinersUSA. She ran the yodeling contest with grace and patience — and even though her examples got exponentially more difficult to follow with each round of competition, she still led them well enough that I could at least somewhat replicate what I’d heard.
She went on to sing a great set with her band. They did a few traditional-sounding numbers before playing some beloved oldies and classic rock — with vibrant ‘Blasmusik’ instrumental sounds! If felt very Oktoberfest.
[Watch Margot Turrell yodeling in ‘Tirolerkirschen.’]
3. It seems that you own a dirndl. Please explain.
Hahaha, I’m so glad you asked!
My dirndl was definitely not authentic — my friend Becca, who invited me to the contest, was the real deal. I just happened upon a “store closing — everything is $10” sale one day… and I went a little nuts.
“Should I buy one pirate costume… or two? Should I buy one for my dog and one for my future boyfriend, or just two for myself?”
Then I found the dirndl. I’m six feet tall, so I suspected it might be obscenely short on me… but, hey! For $10, I knew I’d go to an Oktoberfest eventually! (And this was actually my first one — the dirndl’s big debut!)
4. What was the competition like? Were you intimidated by the other competitors?
I’d actually thought the competition was going to be a “stein holding contest,” in which competitors hold a full liter stein out in front of their bodies with a straight arm, parallel to the ground. I do some rock climbing, so I thought I might stand a chance at that!
But then they announced it was going to be a yodeling contest. Having heard those amazing yodelers on Youtube once upon a time, I knew that yodeling was no joke. I go to karaoke somewhat regularly — usually once a month or so — so singing in front of a crowd isn’t an issue for me. YODELING, though! Totally different story!
I was there with my friend Becca, who is a much better singer than I am. I didn’t want to go up by myself, so I was like, “Becca! Yodeling competition! Come on!” She stood up, and I thought she was right behind me, but when I got up on stage, I turned around and she was gone!
I thought about running away, and I actually had a chance to… but I decided, Hey, I’m up here. This is going to be so awkward and embarrassing… but I may as well try to win!
The way the contest worked, the eight contestants were lined up on the stage. Margot started with the competitor on stage right and worked her way down. With each contestant, she would yodel a short line, accompanied by an accordion. And then we would yodel the line back to her.
After everyone had gone, the audience would vote (by applause — they even had an applause-meter!) one person off the stage, and another round would commence.
The first round was pretty easy. I was like, Okay! This isn’t embarrassing! I can do this!
But the second round was, like, ten times harder!
And the third round — I’ll just say I was lucky I was one of the last people to go, so I got to hear the line a few times before trying it. I think that definitely helped.
As for the competition, there were these two older men, one on either side of me. They were total ringers! And the audience loved them. I knew right away it would come down to the three of us.
“You can only really yodel if you commit to it.”
And, honestly, at first, I thought it would be one of them, not me. They were getting more applause. But as the audience grew and more people came to watch the contest, I started hearing more people cheering for me — it felt unexpectedly good to be a crowd favorite.
5. Does beer drinking help a person be a better yodeler? Were you drinking beer on the occasion of the contest, and if so, what kind?
I’ll bet real yodelers don’t drink — but for most people, I think the “liquid courage” helps. You can only really yodel if you commit to it. When you start hitting the high notes, there’s a lot that can go wrong, so I think beer definitely helps.
I’d only just finished my first beer — I was a latecomer to the party. I’d chosen the South Bay Church Hopfest, because I was like, “Church beer? This, I’ve got to try!” And I really liked it!
6. Any tips from a champ for all those beginning yodelers out there?
Dress for the job you want, not the one you have! (I’d be lying if I said the dirndl didn’t help me win.)
And… just commit to it.
7. Anything to add?
I wrote a blog post once on my blog, TheHappyTalent.com, called “Everything’s Always Worth It.” Last Sunday was a good example of that. Oktoberfest was from 11am-7pm. I had a few meetings that day, and by the time I was done, I was like – If I leave now, I’ll still only have less than two hours, and I’ll have to drive over there and park and everything.
But everything’s always worth it.
After all, as I like to remind my friends and students, when we were kids, recess was only 15 minutes long. That was enough time to line up at the door, walk in a single-file line down the hall, go outside, pick teams, and play a whole game of kickball.
We’d go back inside smiling, with the smell of fresh air and leaves in our hair, totally exhilarated.
Why should adulthood be any different?
I went, I got there super late, I wish it could have lasted longer — but I still had a blast!