New Cornet for 1st Nebraska

This morning (November 7, 2016), FedEx brought our newly purchased Boston Musical Instrument Manufactory SARV B-flat Cornet. The instrument was produced in the 1870s based upon patterns E. G. Wright used during the Civil War. It has Side-Action Rotary Valves, a very popular design for brass instruments of the period, and was played valves-up with the first finger of the left hand nestled in the finger crook.

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The gentleman who sold it to us had played the cornet for several years but no longer had a use for it. You can tell just how much he valued the instrument by it’s great condition. He told me the story of how he acquired the cornet: “I bought it from the original owner’s grandson. He called me one day and said ‘I have a clarinet.’ I asked him if it was wood or metal, he said metal, and I told him it wasn’t worth anything and to chuck it. LOL He showed up a few months later with the cornet and I realized I had only ever seen one in a museum. After he passed his widow sold me the horn.”

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The instrument comes with its original mouthpiece and leather case. We’re so proud to own this beautiful cornet, and will put it into use early in 2017.

 

 

 

 

 

Battle of the Bands – Stones River

From December 31, 1862-January 2, 1863 the Union and Confederate Armies engaged in a major battle south east of Nashville, Tennessee just west of Murfreesboro at Stones River. The Union forces lined up from north to south on the west, The Confederate forces lined up from north to south to their east.

img_0121The night before the battle bands from both armies took turns serenading the troops and each other. First the Yanks, then the Rebs; back and forth for nearly an hour. Finally, one of the bands struck up “Home, Sweet Home,” and was soon joined by the band of the other side. Together they ended their “Battle of the Bands” on a tender note that touched the heart of every soldier, Blue or Gray.

This past October 15th reenactor musicians from bands portraying both sides gathered at the Stones River Battlefield to recreate the “Battle of the Bands.” I was pleased to represent Nebraska along with musicians from Texas, California, Ohio, Rhode Island, Alabama, West Virginia, Illinois, and Pennsylvania. We rehearsed music in respective Blue and Gray bands in the morning, enjoyed a lunch provided by the National Park Service, performed at various sites along the battlefield in the early afternoon, and closed our day with a recreation of the original “Battle of the Bands,” including the closing song “Home, Sweet Home.”

img_0117I had a wonderful time meeting musicians that I correspond with on facebook, including several members of the 73rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry Band. Many of these Buckeyes were members of the Ohio State Marching Band during their college years, as was I. During lunch we reminisced about our days in the band and told “war stories” of our experiences. Although there were several membes of more recent years, I was pleased to get reacquainted with a fellow member of my days in the band.

img_0125We are making plans for another “BoB” in a year or two. So, if you participate in a Civil War reenactment band please consider joining us.

Broken Bow Trip

What a wonderful trip the 1st Nebraska had to Broken Bow, NE for the 100th anniversary of their historic band stand. Over the years the town has enjoyed many concerts and historic speeches presented via this platform in their city square park. The citizens have repaired and restored the band stand to keep it as a focal point of their city, and they identify strongly with it. Be sure to view the video linked below to listen to them talk about their band stand.

North Platte TV Coverage of Broken Bow’s Bandstand Celebration. Short clips of 1st Nebraska included.

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The day was full of activities, beginning with a fun run and including a chili cookout for lunch. The official program began at 2 pm with the posting of the colors and national anthem, followed by a reenactment of Sen. George Norris’ speech from 1935. Norris was portrayed by Dave Landis, a noted historical presenter from central Nebraska.

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Following Landis’ portrayal the 1st Nebraska presented its concert. Several ladies and gentlemen wore period costumes which they paraded while we played. About half-way through our program we paused to hold an old-time paper plate throw sponsored by local merchants. Catchers of the plates won free meals and merchandise from the sponsors. Then we resumed and completed our concert.

The band was welcomed with great hospitality including a suite at the historic Arrow Hotel. The suite was a welcome respite following our 3.5 hour drive from Omaha. Following the concert Shelly and I retreated to the rooms to relax in the air conditioning and to watch the Ohio State football game.

We’re very thankful for the invitation to perform in Broken Bow, and want to acknowledge the main sponsors of the event: The City of Broken Bow, The Broken Bow Chamber of Commerce, and Custer Public Power. A special thanks goes to our contact person, Carol Fritzler.

Broken Bow Bandstand Celebration

On Saturday, October 8th, 1st Nebraska will travel to Broken Bow, NE, to participate in the city’s celebration of their historic bandstand, originally built 100 years ago. The band stand has been refurbished a few times over the years, and recently underwent a comprehensive restoration so that civic and musical events could continue to be held in the town square park.

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The ceremony begins at 2:00 with flag posting by two honor guards and a reading of the speech given by Senator Norris in 1935. Norris was the champion of rural electrification, and today Nebraska remains the only state with 100% public power companies. The band will play the Star Spangled Banner at 2:00 and then perform its concert following the speech.

The event is being sponsored by the Broken Bow Chamber of Commerce, the Custer Power Company, and the City of Broken Bow. We’re really looking forward to this road trip and to meeting the very hospitable people of Broken Bow. If your in the North Central par of Nebraska on Saturday come out and hear us play and help Broken Bow celebrate.

Concert at Ft. Atkinson

This past Sunday, October 2nd, 1st Nebraska performed for the Washington County Heritage Days at historic Ft. Atkinson in Ft. Calhoun. NE. It was a beautiful fall day with sunny skies and temperatures hovering around 70 degrees. The band set up in a tent cover while the audience sat in the sun, sorry. All along the path to the fort entrance Living History re-enactors demonstrated skills of the early 1800’s, the period in which the fort was active.
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Ft. Atkinson was built to protect the Missouri River following Lewis and Clark’s Corps of Discovery’s navigation and exploration. The fort served as a trading post for trappers and Native Americans, and as an emissary of the federal government. Today, the rebuilt fort contains barracks, store house, commissary, ammunition storage, a schoolroom and offices  all bordered by a stockade.
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We had a wonderful time performing and meeting people hosting and exploring this new festival in Northeastern Nebraska.

Washington Co. Heritage Days

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Next up for the 1st Nebraska is a concert performance for the Washington County Heritage Days. Our performance will be at Ft. Atkinson starting at noon on Sunday, October 2nd.

Fort Atkinson was the first United States Army post to be established west of the Missouri River in the unorganized region of the Louisiana Purchase of the United States. Located just east of present-day Fort Calhoun, Nebraska, the fort was erected in 1819 and abandoned in 1827. The site is now known as Fort Atkinson State Historical Park and is a National Historic Landmark. A replica fort was constructed by the state at the site during the 1980s–1990s.

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Heritage days will have Living History demonstrations at the fort and in Ft. Calhoun, games and activities, and of course, food. Come out on October 2nd and hear the band play.

 

Woodbine Sesquicentennial

On a beautiful summer evening, Saturday, August 27th, the residents of Woodbine, Iowa gathered in the City Park to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the founding of their town. Woodbine is a remarkable late Victorian town with beautifully maintained houses and stores. It’s well worth the drive east on US Route 30 from the interstate to take in the atmosphere. Woodbine is on the old Lincoln Highway, the first transcontinental highway in the United States. Below you can see a route marker at the intersection of two brick paved streets.

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Here’s an example of the local architecture

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The evening’s events were announced by the firing of Civil War cannons by Battery B of the 10th Iowa Light Artillery Battalion. Members of the battery camped in City Park the whole weekend holding Living History demonstrations to the delight of young and old.

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The town chefs fired up their grills and treated everyone to wonderful steak sandwiches and hamburgers. Then it was time for the evening’s entertainment, concerts by the 1st Nebraska Volunteers Brass Band, the Iowa Western Community Band, and the Notables.

The audience retreated to the shade to ward of the direct rays of sunshine beaming in their faces, but the mid-80s weather with a gentle breeze was perfect for enjoyment of the music. 1st Nebraska received many compliments from the sponsors and audience, who appreciated our performance of standard Civil War songs and popular music of the day.