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.

Logan 1

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.

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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B-flat Cornets

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.

Introducing Song

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.