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.”  

Hot Time on the 4th

1st Nebraska’s most recent performance was in Logan, IA for their Sesquicentennial. Thanks to retired band director Ragene Darling and his wife Mary for the invitation to perform for the good folk in Logan.

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It was a very humid and hot 90 degrees on Tuesday, as the band performed at 1:00. We were surrounded by cement, which reflected the heat AND our sound. It was so easy to hear each other in the amphitheater-styled band shell.

We added two special numbers to our program: “I Dream of Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair & Beautiful Dreamer” sung by cornetist and tenor James Lund. James has a gorgeous voice and gave Stephen Foster’s songs a great rendition.

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The second special number was the descriptive battle piece “Beauregard’s Retreat from Shiloh,” narrated by tenor horn player Dave Krecek. A descriptive battle piece relates the story of the battle accompanied by music. It’s sort of like the piano that accompanies silent movies. Both special numbers were conducted by Shelly Hall, who also did the concert narration.

This Saturday, July 8th, the band travels to Boone, IA for the Iowa Municipal Band Festival which will be held at Herman Park in the covered pavilion. Bring your folding chairs. Music starts at 11:00; 1st Nebraska plays at 4:00.

More Photos from Stromsburg

Following our performances in Stromsburg, a local resident, Erin Dickey, posted a great photo of her daughter looking up at the stage at our principal E-flat Cornetist Roger Dill. I reposted the photo on our facebook page and Erin said she had several more photos. These below are some of her wonderful photos. I love the way she sets up her shots, uses perspective and depth of field to create interesting poses. I hope that you enjoy Erin’s photos as much as I do.

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Principal E-flat Cornetist Roger Dill and a curious “ung flicka”

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Thanks again, Erin Dickey, for your wonderful photos

Stromsburg Swedish Midsommar Festival

1st Nebraska had a great time performing for the good people in Stromsburg, NE on Saturday, June 17th. The town claims to be the Swedish Capital of Nebraska, and everything was decorated in Blue and Yellow, the colors on Sweden’s flag.

This was the first time that 1st Nebraska participated in a parade, and we rode a flat-bed trailer pulled by a 1950s John Deere model 50 tractor. People lined the streets throughout the parade route, and we played frequently to hearty applause. During the parade there was a light rain that threatened to put a damper on the festivities. However, clearing skies yielded a beautiful evening. Our “float” was early in the parade, just behind the Swedish Dancers, and we anticipated our announcement at the reviewing stand. 1st Nebraska’s parade performance was awarded 1st place.

Awaiting our turn at the reviewing stand.

 

Following the parade, we unloaded our equipment and setup on the City Park’s stage. Even the backdrop to the stage was decorated in a colorful Swedish motif. Benches were setup in the park in front of the stage, and we attracted a large and appreciate crowd. Following our concert people came up to tell us the positive comments they heard from the crowd. It’s always fun to make new friends, and Stromsburg was full of them. What a nice community!


1st Nebraska’s next performance will be on July 4th in Logan, Iowa for their Sequicentennial. We’ll play a concert in Logan Park at 1:00 pm. If you’re in the area, drive over and catch our show. There will be plenty of time for cookouts and fireworks at your favorite venue.

Fun in Superior

On Sunday, May 29, 1st Nebraska traveled from Omaha to Superior, NE, about 3 hours southwest of us and on the Nebraska-Kansas border. Superior is known as the Victorian Capital of Nebraska and the city has several restored Victorian era houses, or “painted ladies” as one of our members call them.

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Superior’s City Park was the site for our evening concert, and we played in the park’s very nice band shell. A good-sized crowd assembled, sitting in the shade with their lawn chairs. The crowd was very appreciative of our music and wanted more when we finished our last number. City Park is also the location of a memorial to soldiers from the area who fought in the Civil War. 1st Nebraska dedicated the playing of “When Johnny Comes Marching Home” to those soldiers and their monument.
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Twice 1st Nebraska made the front page of the Superior Express! The paper even reported that we have been asked back for 2018. We certainly look forward to a return to this very friendly community located in south-central Nebraska.

Next up for 1st Nebraska is a performance for the Stromsburg Swedish Festival on Saturday, June 17, at 7:30 pm in the City Park. We’ll also ride in the parade at 6:00. This is a great chance for those in the York area to hear the band play this year.

Come to Superior’s Victorian Festival

Sunday, May 28th, will be the next performance for 1st Nebraska. We’ll be traveling southwest from Omaha to Superior, Nebraska, right on the Kansas border, to play for the Superior Victorian Festival. Our concert will be presented in the City Park Bandshell located at 6th and Bloom at 2:00 pm.

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2017 marks the 26th year of Superior’s festival to recognize its Victorian era heritage. Like many Nebraska towns, Superior is a railroad town being on the routes of four different lines. Growing up in the late 1800s the city has several restored Victorian houses and offers tours during the festival. No town festival would be complete without a parade, good food, and parties.

C’mon out to the festival, enjoy all the activities, and bring your lawn chair over to the City Park Bandshell at 2:00 on Sunday, May 28th. You can enjoy an hour of vintage Civil War brass band music. Hope to see you then!

2017 Performances Have Begun!

This was a busy weekend for the 1st Nebraska. On Friday, Bill drove to Des Moines to acquire an antique baritone horn from the Liberty Band of Iowa. The maker, William Seefeldt, lived in Philadelphia during the Civil War and later and made a wide range of brass instruments. The baritone we purchased had been completely restored and re-plated to look like new, and it’s a beauty. Playing tests revealed its beautiful open tone and the relative ease of operating its Berliner valves. We’re looking forward to adding this instrument to the band.

Our first performance of 2017 was given yesterday at the Elk Ridge Villages Assisted Living Center. We always enjoy performing for senior citizens because they are so appreciative of our music. Many of the folks used to listen to band concerts in their youth, and some even played in their school or town bands. In addition to standard Civil War favorites, such as, Dixie, When Johnny Comes Marching Home, and the Battle Hymn of the Republic, the 1st Nebraska played a variety of quicksteps and marches. We premiered Washington Greys, Coronation March, George Hart’s Quickstep, Louisville March, and Home, Sweet Home.


Our next outing will be on Saturday, April 1st in Blair, NE, where we’ll perform at the Good Shepherd Communities Senior Center at 10:00 AM. If you’re in the Blair area be sure to drop by. Also stay tuned to our 2017 schedule list as it will be filling rapidly.