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. 

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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.”  

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.

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.

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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.

Kicking Off 2017

Happy New Year, Friends! Here’s hoping that 2017 is a wonderful year for us all.

1st Nebraska holds its first rehearsal of 2017 this Sunday at 2 pm. We’ll get a first crack at new songs for our program. We’re going to close with Home, Sweet Home in place of Tenting on the Old Campground, and replace Freischutz Quickstep with Ben Bolt. We’re adding Louisville March so that we can demonstrate the formal and stylistic differences between marches and quicksteps.

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The big opera tune for 2017 is “Coronation March from Le Prophete” by Giacomo Meyerbeer. This is a very regal and melodic piece suitable for the crowning of a monarch.

One of our E-flat Cornet players is also a wonderful tenor, so I’m arranging Stephen Fosters’ I Dream of Jeanine with the Light Brown Hair and Beautiful Dreamer to feature him. We’re also going to program a new edition “Washington Greys” based upon the parts of the 4th New Hampshire (Port Royal) Band.

Right now it looks like the first performance of the year will be in Elkhorn, NE on March 4.

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.