The 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.
The band plays for community events, festivals, and museums to keep alive the wonderful heritage of Civil War music and brass bands. “Each of our performances includes a narration that describes the music the audience is hearing and relates details of soldiering during the Civil War,” 1st Nebraska Leader Bill Hall said, “This provides historical context for our music, and through education increases the audience’s appreciation for pioneer days in the Midwest.” Our music includes patriotic tunes of the North and the South, songs by popular composers of the day, well-known opera pieces, and marches and quicksteps.
The band’s musicians come from the greater Omaha area, where they actively perform in several of the area’s best community ensembles in addition to their appearances with 1st Nebraska. Several of the members hold graduate degrees in music.
The band is led by Bill Hall, founder and retired conductor of Omaha Symphonic Winds and director of bands at Dana College from 1997-2006. Hall holds three degrees in music and is a former member of The United States Army Band, Washington, DC (Pershing’s Own) and The United States Army Field Band (Musical Ambassadors of the Army).
As many area communities celebrate their 150th anniversaries, the 1st Nebraska Volunteers Brass Band provides a living reminder of those bygone days when local militia and town bands were a part of the vital fabric of society supporting community events and frequently playing concerts in the town square.