Opening the Ken Burns Quilt Exhibit

1st Nebraska had a great time last Friday evening, February 2, 2018, performing for a large and appreciative audience at the International Quilt Study Center & Museum in Lincoln. We provided music for the opening of the Ken Burns quilt collection exhibition. Several new pieces for 2018 received their first performance, notably: Captain Shepherd’s Quickstep, The Fireman’s Polka, and The Girl I Left Behind Me.

Following our performance we had the opportunity to mingle with the crowd, and we received many compliments on our program. Here’s a couple of photos.

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Friday, February 2nd in Lincoln, NE – 5:30

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We hope you will join us at the International Quilt Study Center & Museum in celebrating the opening of “Uncovered: The Ken Burns Collection” during First Friday on February 2. In addition to free admission to the galleries from 4-7 p.m., the 1st Nebraska Volunteers Brass Band will perform at 5:30 p.m.

About the Exhibition: Prolific film-maker and documentarian Ken Burns loves antique American quilts. To him, each of these textiles represents a moment in time and American history—a nexus of individuals and geography and culture that can never be fully recovered, but which is nevertheless represented in these strikingly graphic textile compositions. Burns is less concerned with the provenance and genealogy of his quilts than with their gestalt—both the visual impact they have on the viewer, and their implicit connections to life stories. Displayed alongside eloquent, anecdotal thoughts about quilts, collecting, and art and authenticity, Burns’ quilts function as his films do; they spark dialogue and remind people—he hopes—of their shared humanity.

About the Band: The 1st Nebraska Volunteers Brass Band recreates Nebraska’s original Civil War band of 1861-1862. The band performs authentic musical arrangements taken from Civil War regimental band books. Their program contains patriotic songs of both the North and the South, popular songs of the day, and opera excerpts. Many of the musicians hold music degrees, and several are retired military musicians and pubic school band directors. The band regularly performs at Civil War Events, Community Festivals, and Patriotic Observances in Nebraska and Western Iowa.

Washington County Gives, November 28

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I’m happy to announce that the 1st Nebraska Volunteers Brass Band will be one of the 501c3 non-profit organizations eligible to receive donations through Washington County Gives. The 24-hour charitable event will be held on Tuesday, November 28, 2017, and 100% of the funds donated will be received by the designated organization. Online donations may be given at WCNEGives.org the day of the event.

1st Nebraska Volunteers Brass Band is a 15-member musical ensemble providing living history, education, and musical entertainment for the citizens of Nebraska and surrounding areas. The group portrays the band of the original 1st Nebraska Volunteer Infantry Regiment of 1861-1862. 1st Nebraska wears Union infantry uniforms and plays authentic musical arrangements taken from actual Civil War band books.
1st Nebraska has served Washington County through performances at Christ Lutheran Church, Good Shepherd Communities Assisted Care, and in Ft. Calhoun at the Washington County Heritage Days. Other nearby performances in Nebraska include Bennington, Elkhorn, Plattsmouth, and Omaha. Nearby performances in Iowa include Logan and Woodbine.
Funds donated to 1st Nebraska will be used to support our Living History performances through the purchase of music, uniforms, and period musical instruments.
#WashingtonCountyGives

Rain, Rain, Went Away


The band had another very good performance yesterday at the Washington County Heritage Festival. Rain threatened to close down the event, but fortunately by the time we arrived to setup the sun was breaking through the clouds.

There were more vendor tents at the festival this year, and we could smell the grilled sausages all over the grounds. It’s good to see vendors supporting this two-year old festival.

The band played its standard concert repertoire for the last time in 2017. Our next event is the Christmas at Union Station festival at the Durham Western Heritage Museum on December 10 at 2:30. For this program the band will play Leroy Anderson’s “Suite of Carols” for brass, and some other delightful Christmas arrangements.

What new music will we add for the 2018 program? Thinking about Aura Lee, the Prima Donna Waltzes, and the Light Cavalry Overture. Our season will start early on February 2 with a performance at the National Quilt Museum in LIncoln, NE.
Hope to see you at one of our events soon. 

Vintage Wheels at the Fort 2017

1st Nebraska had an excellent outing on Sunday, August 20 playing for the Vintage Wheels at the Fort old-time auto show for the Douglas County Historical Society. The annual event held at historic Ft. Omaha attracts hundreds of people inspecting the beautiful restorations on as many as 100 old cars. The weather was sunny and in the low 80s, but the humidity was very high so we took off our coats after our 2nd song.

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In Gen. Crook’s Formal Garden, Ft. Omaha

As a typical outdoor performance, some patrons brought chairs to sit and listen, while others listened as they strolled up and down the street looking at the cars. We aimed one speaker down the road so that those strolling by the cars could still hear the music.The band played very well and the crowd showed great appreciation.

There were great variety of old autos at the show with many from the 1910s and early 1020s. Of course, there were “newer” models, too.

Our next outing is on Sunday, October 1, at noon in Ft. Calhoun. We’ll be playing for the Washington County Heritage Days at Ft. Atkinson. Come out and see us!

Wessel’s Living History Farm

Well, it’s mid-July in Nebraska. That means heat and humidity, a wonderful combination for outdoors performances. Yes, I’m being sarcastic!

1st Nebraska played both Saturday and Sunday this past weekend, first at Wessel’s Living History Farm and then for the John C. Fremont Days festival.


Wessel’s Farm is a 1920s era operation with a beautiful house and side buildings. There’s a collection of old farm machinery including several old tractors. Several times during the summer local historians demonstrate common farm skills for the public. Perhaps the most surprising thing about the farm is the old country style chapel that has been transplanted to the grounds. 

1st Nebraska setup under a tent, which got us and the audience out of the sun, and played our 2017 program. The audience was very enthusiastic, and several folks traveled to hear the band play. The host told us that we’re developing quite a reputation in Central Nebraska.


On Sunday, 1st Nebraska returned to the John C. Fremont Days, again playing in the chautauqua tent.

Our next performance in on August 20th at Ft. Omaha for the Douglas County Historical Society’s “Vintage Wheels at the Fort.”