Good Shepherd Communities

Bb Cornets
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.

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.

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.

Washington Co. Heritage Days

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Next up for the 1st Nebraska is a concert performance for the Washington County Heritage Days. Our performance will be at Ft. Atkinson starting at noon on Sunday, October 2nd.

Fort Atkinson was the first United States Army post to be established west of the Missouri River in the unorganized region of the Louisiana Purchase of the United States. Located just east of present-day Fort Calhoun, Nebraska, the fort was erected in 1819 and abandoned in 1827. The site is now known as Fort Atkinson State Historical Park and is a National Historic Landmark. A replica fort was constructed by the state at the site during the 1980s–1990s.

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Heritage days will have Living History demonstrations at the fort and in Ft. Calhoun, games and activities, and of course, food. Come out on October 2nd and hear the band play.

 

Woodbine Sesquicentennial

On a beautiful summer evening, Saturday, August 27th, the residents of Woodbine, Iowa gathered in the City Park to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the founding of their town. Woodbine is a remarkable late Victorian town with beautifully maintained houses and stores. It’s well worth the drive east on US Route 30 from the interstate to take in the atmosphere. Woodbine is on the old Lincoln Highway, the first transcontinental highway in the United States. Below you can see a route marker at the intersection of two brick paved streets.

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Here’s an example of the local architecture

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The evening’s events were announced by the firing of Civil War cannons by Battery B of the 10th Iowa Light Artillery Battalion. Members of the battery camped in City Park the whole weekend holding Living History demonstrations to the delight of young and old.

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The town chefs fired up their grills and treated everyone to wonderful steak sandwiches and hamburgers. Then it was time for the evening’s entertainment, concerts by the 1st Nebraska Volunteers Brass Band, the Iowa Western Community Band, and the Notables.

The audience retreated to the shade to ward of the direct rays of sunshine beaming in their faces, but the mid-80s weather with a gentle breeze was perfect for enjoyment of the music. 1st Nebraska received many compliments from the sponsors and audience, who appreciated our performance of standard Civil War songs and popular music of the day.

 

John C Fremont Days – July 10

1st Nebraska had a busy weekend with concerts on Saturday and Sunday. First we played for the great audience at Aksarben Village Senior Living. It was so nice to play in air conditioning when wearing our wool coats. The audience knew many of the patriotic and some of the popular songs that we played including “Columbia, the Gem of the Ocean,” and “Listen to the Mockingbird.” We look forward to a return engagement.

This weekend was the annual John C Fremont Days festival in Fremont, NE. This is an annual performance for us, and we enjoy working with the great festival staff. There are a few sites around the city for festival events. Some children’s events are held on the campus of Midland University, while Living History demonstrations are held throughout the weekend at Barnard Park. 1NVBB plays in the chautauqua tent at the north end of John C Fremont park.

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photo by Naomi Greelis-Mattos

Yesterday’s weather was a hot 95 degrees with very high humidity. Musicians shirts were soaked through with perspiration from carrying their instruments a few blocks to the tent. So, we didn’t even bother putting on our wool coats for our concert. Fortunately for the audience there was a nice breeze, but most of the wind was blocked from the band by a mural behind the stage.

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photo by Naomi Greelis-Mattos

The band played very well in the heat and humidity, which is always a challenge. We performed our entire 2016 program of patriotic songs of the North and South, popular songs of the day, and selections from popular operas of the Civil War era. The crowd was very appreciative, and we surprised by visits from some of our friends. All in all a great day to make Civil War band music.

Next up for 1st Nebraska is a concert at Ft. Omaha on Sunday, August 14, from noon till 1:00 pm. We’re returning to perform at the Douglas County Historical Society’s “Vintage Wheels at the Fort” auto show. There are always a number of great restored cars at the show, and we will play on the grass next to Gen. Crook’s house. Bring your lawn chair and come out to listen at this free event.