PAZNAUN PEOPLE: GABRIELA WALSER, CHAIRPERSON OF THE MATHON CHURCH CHOIR

Gabriela Walser is 34 and has been chair of the Mathon church choir since 2017. Gaby grew up in Landeck and moved to Mathon for love. In Trisanna, she tells us who she’d follow absolutely anywhere, remembers a very special conversation and reflects on her relationship with God.  

Gaby, it’s almost exactly five years since you ended up here in Mathon. How does it feel?
Very good! I grew up in Landeck, which isn’t far away. Before I moved here, I lived with my husband in Innsbruck for nine years. He comes from Mathon and wanted to move back – and I was happy to come with him.

Are you someone who can settle into a new town easily?
I would say so. I don’t find it difficult to get used to a new situation – maybe because I’m an open person. I wanted to be together with my husband, and where exactly that was didn’t matter so much – I am, and have been, happy anywhere.


Is it sometimes a bit difficult to make friends all the same?
Not for me. I came here when I was heavily pregnant, and you get to know lots of people straightaway through the children. And of course, when there’s a party somewhere, you should go along, especially if you’re somewhere new. You meet people like that. And even more importantly, they get to know you.

You earn your living as a kindergarten teacher, which involves a lot of making music, too. But you’re also involved with music in other ways.  
That’s right, I’ve been singing in the Matten church choir for three years, and I’ve been chairperson of the choir association since April 2017.


It did take a while, though, until you joined.
The choir director asked me pretty soon after I moved here if I would like to join. I had to say no back then though, because I felt that my children were still too small. At New Year 2015/6, we met up again at the fireworks on the Kirchenpatz. Half the village always goes there. And then he spoke to me again about it – and I just asked him, when’s the next rehearsal? And I’ve been an enthusiastic part of it ever since.


And as the chairperson, in fact. A special role?
It’s a very lovely role, and to be honest, it’s not too much work, either. What’s particularly fun is when someone in the choir has a birthday. Then we always write a poem in the Mathon dialect and sing it together.


The choir sings every Sunday at the church service –what is your relationship with God?
I grew up with God, come from a Catholic family and went to church every Sunday as a child, too. I was a server, as well. As I was growing up, I went less often, but I don’t think that has much to do with God. For me, church and religion mean living traditions. We have many festivals which originate in the church, and belief in God means community and solidarity, too, for me.