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!

Good Shepherd Communities

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On Saturday, March 31, 2017, The 1st Nebraska performed for the good people living in the Good Shepherd Communities in Blair, Nebraska. They set us up in their chapel, which proved to be a wonderful space in which to perform. The aesthetics were beautiful and the atmosphere was friendly.

We debuted two new selections on Saturday. The first was an arrangement of two Stephen Foster songs, “I Dream of Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair” and “Beautiful Dreamer.” These were sung by E-flat Cornetist James Lund. James has a beautiful tenor voice, and he did a marvelous job interpreting the two songs. During the mid-nineteenth century Stephen Foster was America’s foremost composer of popular songs, and Jeanie and Dreamer are among his best known.

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We also premiered “Beauregard’s Retreat from the Battle of Shiloh.” This is a battle scene depiction for narrator and band of the entire conflict. Battle scenes were popular during the nineteenth century, and the best known is Beethoven’s “Wellington’s Victory.” General Pierre G. T. Beauregard was a well  known Confederate general from Louisiana, who was in command of the troops that shelled Ft. Sumter, and was executive officer of the southern troops at Shiloh. When the commanding general Albert Sidney Johnston was killed Beauregard ordered the hasty retreat of the Confederate army leaving the Union army, under Gen. U. S. Grant, with the victory. The battle scene describes the night before the battle, the attack, and the eventual retreat. There are some humorous descriptions of Beauregard’s retreat in the final movement. We selected this piece because of its novelty and because the 1st Nebraska Infantry played a role in the eventual defeat of the southern army.

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Posted on our video page is “Louisville March” recorded at Saturday’s performance. Check it out!

We were pleased to see some friends from Blair who attended the concert, and to perform for the appreciative audience at Good Shepherd.

Check our 2017 performance schedule and come out to hear one of programs.

1st Nebraska Helps Celebrate St. Barbara

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On a cold, rainy/snowy night on December 3rd, the 1st Nebraska traveled two hours to Lake View, Iowa to play for the St. Barbara’s Day Banquet for a sister reenactment group, the 2nd Iowa Light Artillery. In spite of the weather our hosts were very warm-hearted and were an appreciative audience. They even treated us to a catered dinner of roast beef, pork, and all the trimmings.

As an artillery company, the 2nd Iowa travels to events around western Iowa displaying, and firing, their cannon, and setting up camp in the manner of Civil War soldiers. Not only do the men dress in uniform, but the women also don period costumes.

The Order of Saint Barbara is an honorary military society of the United States Field Artillery. Both U.S. Marine and Army field artillery, along with their military and civilian supporters are eligible for membership. Thus, Artillerymen of the present are linked with artillerymen of the past in a brotherhood of professionalism, selfless service, and sacrifice symbolized by Saint Barbara.

The Feast of Saint Barbara occurs yearly on December 4th, and includes quite an intricate ritual. Click here for more information.

We first met the 2nd Iowa while performing for the Woodbine Sesquicentennial, and were happy to be invited to share in their celebration. Hopefully, both units will cross paths at future events and reenactments.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

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.