Concert in Stromsburg

1st Nebraska returns to Stromsburg Friday evening, July 6, 2018 for a First Friday Concert at 7:00 pm in the park on the city’s town square.

The band played last year as a part of Stromsburg’s Swedish Festival, participating both in the parade and an evening concert. We were pleased to receive an invitation to return as a part of the City’s First Friday Concert Series.

1st Nebraska will play a variety of musical styles all taken from the Civil War and middle of the Nineteenth Century. Our featured soloist is tenor James Lund who will sing a medley of Stephen C. Foster’s well known songs “I Dream of Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair” and “Beautiful Dreamer.” The band also will play the “Coronation March from Le Prophete” and the “Firemen’s Polka” in addition to standard patriotic repertoire.

Come on out tomorrow evening for this free concert in an very enjoyable setting.

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Community Band Festival

community band fest posterOmaha is going to host its first community Band Festival of the Midlands featuring some of the finest musicians in the greater metro area. The setting for the festival is the absolutely gorgeous Turner Park at Midtown Crossing in Omaha. There is a wonderful stage on which to perform and a large grassy area for the audience to sit and listen to the great music being played.

Reserve the date: Saturday, June 30, 2018 from noon to dusk. 1st Nebraska performs in the middle of the program at 3:00.

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.

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.”  

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.