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    ebook  History of Watertown, Wisconsin

 

Chapter on Bands & Orchestras

 

1847

07 07       A BAND

A few young men of this village are making another attempt to get up a band of music.  It is proposed that our citizens purchase the instruments and give the band the use of them.  About $150 would be required for this purpose—a sum which we presume might readily be raised.  A good band is much needed here, and we see not why we may not have one.   WC

 

1860

10 05       Watertown Brass Band at County Fair at Jefferson   WR

 

12 13       Watertown Brass Band at New Year’s celebration   WD

 

1866       WATERTOWN’S FIRST BAND

A picture of Watertown’s first band organized in 1866, composed of Al Rutherford, Otto Schulerman, W. D. Sproesser, William F. Quentmeyer, Carl Nowack, William Sommerfelt, Frank Kartak, Fred Pohlmann, one unknown.

 

1868

-- --           WATERTOWN CORNET BAND PICTURED

Very few people today know that Watertown back in 1868 had an organization known as the Watertown Cornet Band and even fewer people know who the members of the organization were.  It consisted of 9 members and a picture of the group has lately come to light through the W. D. Sproesser Co, which has in its possession one of the pictures.  The picture has been framed and placed on display in the company's window.  8 of the 9 men in the group have been identified, but William Sproesser, who placed the picture on display, says he is unable to tell who the 9th man is.  If any "old timers" see the picture and happen to know who the man is, Mr. Sproesser will appreciate it if they report it to him.  The 8 whose names have been placed on the picture include A. Rutherford, A. Schuelermann, F. Pohlmann, W. F. Quentmeyer, C. Sommerfeld, Frank Kartack, W. D. Sproesser and C. J. Noack.     WDTimes article of 10 01 1928

 

1870

WATERTOWN EARLY GERMAN TRUMPET BAND (same as Cornet Band?)

      Organized in 1870.

 

1883

06 27       PHILHARMONIC CORNET BAND / The Fourth at Concordia

Concordia Island will be an attractive spot on the Fourth next Wednesday.  Picnicking will be the order of the day amid the sylvan shades in this favorite retreat and the hours will be enlivened with sweet chords of music from the Philharmonic Cornet Band.  Arrangements have been made for grand balloon ascensions and other amusements during the afternoon.   WR

 

07 04       Philharmonic Band, 1883, Parade, school children to Concordia Island 

 

1800s, late

  George Spohn, pictured with zither, late 1800s.

 

1890

07 09       NEW CORNET BAND

The Fourth of July has passed in this city had a sort of free-for- all turn about it, our people mostly rendering homage to the anniversary with a true spirit of independence.  Bunting was profusely displayed along the streets, and the fire cracker was ever present and of good report.  The largest muster of people was at Turner park, where the new cornet band held forth from the pavilion, and Miss Pauline Voss read the declaration of independence.  In the city park a number of families partook of their dinner, which was spread from numerous well-filled baskets taken to the grounds, tables and seats having been provided.  Many pleasantly chatted and visited under the teepees during the afternoon, while the young people, with a few older ones mixed in for variety, engaged in frolic and amusement in the shaded recesses of the enclosure.     WR

 

HARDEGE’S ORCHESTRA

 

06 04       EIGHT-PIECE BAND

Watertown is at last possessed of a band, one having been recently organized under the leadership of C. J. Wenck, composed of eight pieces.  The band practices in rooms in the Electric Light building.  It has seemed one of the strangest of strange things for a musical city like Watertown to be without a band.  We trust that the new organization will meet with every encouragement and be well supported.  It is due to the interest of our city that the band be well sustained.     WR

 

1895

03 13       "HAYSEED" BAND OF THE "JOSH SPIUCEBY

The "Hayseed" band of the "Josh Spiuceby" company appeared on the streets shortly before noon yesterday, singly or in pairs, dressed in typical "hayseed" attire, and mingled with the crowds of country people, causing considerable merriment to those who watched them.  Finally the members gathered at the post office corner and a band concert was given.    WR

 

05 22       BAND CONCERTS AT CITY PARK

The open-air band concerts at the city park were inaugurated last evening by the Watertown Cornet band.  A large crowd was on hand to listen to the music, and the concerts, which will be given regularly until further notice, promise to be quite popular.  The common council has granted the band the use of the land for this purpose.   WR

 

c.1895

                    OLD DUTCH BAND

                      

Members of the "Old Dutch Band" rehearsing in the office of the old Fuermann Brewery.  

(l-r) William Grossert, Don Harbeck, H. Riemstead, and William Sergel, the director.

Spectators (l-r) Theodore Koerner and William Goecke.

 

                    OLD DUTCH BAND (assumed)

  

Men in front of the Fuermann Brewery office, presumably members of the "Old Dutch Band"

 

1898       WATERTOWN BAND IN 1898

  

Members were: W. Jones, E. Haack, A. Polzin, A. Dietor, A. Krebs, G. Stube, M. Voight, G. Kunert, W. Kusel, E. Tank, G. Goodnette, and G, Henke.

 

c.1899   WATERTOWN’S FAMOUS BAND

       

A comic band, circa 1899, the "Watertown’s Famous Band."  This was obviously a joke or comic band created during the Harvest Jubilee in Sept., 1899.  This image was taken inside the office of the old Fuermann brewery on S. First and Jones streets.  Instruments are all made of cardboard, and also note the various music titles.  The two gents on the floor are wearing uniforms of the Sinnissippi Band.

 

1900

02 13       NEW ORCHESTRA FORMED

It may not be generally known that a new orchestra has been organized in this city, consisting of twenty members.  The organization has for its purpose the production of the better class of orchestral music, and will prove of special value, in an instructive way, to its members.  The founders have labored incessantly to interest the players of the city in the enterprise, and the result is a very creditable organization, which ought to be encouraged by our citizens in every way.  The club will make its initial appearance tomorrow evening at the entertainment arranged for the visiting dairymen at Turner Opera house, for which it has offered its services.  WR

 

1902

03 14       JOHN PHILIP SOUSA PERFORMS IN WATERTOWN

Our music-loving people have not been given such a treat for many a day as was vouchsafed to them last Monday afternoon when John Philip Sousa and the famous band visited our city, giving one concert.  Turner Hall Opera House was filled with a most admiring and appreciative audience, composed of some of our best people, and quite a large contingent from neighboring towns, special trains being run to accommodate them.  From the moment that Sousa, with his fine military bearing and the numerous decorations bestowed upon him during his recent visit to Europe, made his appearance on the stage, until the close of the concert, the interest manifested was intense; each number was enthusiastically applauded and the musicians were very generous in responding to encores.  The trombone solo by Arthur Pryor, the soprano solo by Miss Maud Reese Davies, and violin solo by Miss Dorothy Hale, were all very much enjoyed and heartily applauded.  While every number was good, we think the ones most enjoyed were the part from La Tosca and "The Night Hall."  Sousa went from here by special train to Fond du Lac.   WG

 

03 15       SOUSA'S BAND CONCERT

The young men who have special charge of providing entertainments for our city are to be commended for their efforts to secure the highest class of talent and the best of its class.  The coming of Sousa’s band demonstrated the fact that our people will patronize merit.  Turner Opera House was seldom filled with a larger or more appreciative audience than the one that assembled Monday afternoon to welcome the great musician and his corps of trained artists. 

 

Almost every city and village within a radius of thirty miles was represented.  Oconomowoc, Fort Atkinson, Jefferson, Johnson Creek, Clyman, Juneau and towns of lesser note had fair delegations of the music loving. 

 

Manager Wertheimer is to be congratulated upon his latest success.     WR

 

1903

03 28       PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA ORGANIZED

A new orchestra to be known as the Philharmonic orchestra with William Bethke (*) leader, is being organize in this city and will make its first public appearance shortly after Easter, when it will give a benefit concert and dance.  The orchestra will be composed of seven instruments, violin, piano, cornet, clarinet, viola, trombone and traps (**).  A good orchestra is one of the needs of a city the size of Watertown and the organization should be helped in every way possible by liberal patronage.  A musical organization like the one contemplated can be maintained but in no other way and the fact that it encourages local talent should not be lost sight of.  There is plenty of musical talent in Watertown which may be encouraged and this is one way of doing so.

 

(*)  Wm. Bethke was named manager of the Turner Opera House in July of 1904.

 

(**)  A trap set is a collection of drums and other percussion instruments, typically cymbals, played by a single player.

 

1905

08 02       THACKER’S BAND PRIDE OF OUR CITIZENS

All Recognize Them as Musicians of Proficiency

     Free Open Air Concerts Given

          Only Hope of Reward is Appreciation

              That Should Be Most Liberal

 

There is no doubt but that our citizens appreciate Thacker’s band, but we are inclined to the belief, not to the extent the band deserves.  All who have heard the band, and we presume that there is not a person in the city who has not, recognize the members as musicians of merit, entitled to consideration because of their proficiency and disposition to favor the public with concerts without other hope of reward than appreciation for their efforts to please and entertain.

 

Wednesday evenings they give free concerts upon Main Street to which all are invited to listen and be entertained.

 

The members are all excellent young men, among the best in the city and an honor and credit to Watertown for whom the city should not withhold encouragement and support, which should be of a substantial character.  Mr. Thacker, the director, has been indefatigable in his efforts to bring the band up to a high standard of excellence and the members have been faithful in their practice as is evidenced by their playing, which shows that they have been painstaking in their work.

 

The members of the band are:

 

Director, Frank Thacker

Fifes, George Wenck, Chris Oreding

Clairinets. Max Beyerlein, E. Schultz, Fred De Wald, Art Bolzin

Cornets, Frank Kopp, E. Haak, J. Fowle, Theo. Sonneman, Herman Borchardt, W. Simon

Baritones, Aug. Model, A. Zimmerman, A. Radtke

Trombones, James O’Brien, Earl Fix, A. Krueger

Bass. Geo. Krueger, W. Schmidt

Drums, F. Kehr, Joe Koester.     WR

 

1907

02 15       IMPERIAL MINSTRELS

The Imperial Minstrels scored a decided hit at the Turner Opera House, the hall being packed to its utmost capacity and hundreds were turned away and refused tickets of admittance of even standing room. 

 

1908

05 01       VIOLIN MADE BY CHARLES WITTE

Harry J. Stube of the Weber-Stube orchestra is playing a violin made by Charles Witte, a young man residing on rural route No. 3.  The instrument is that perfect in construction and tone that Mr. Stube has laid his $65.00 instrument aside and is using the one manufactured by the young farmer.  Mr. Witte has given of ability as a mechanic.  His first attempt was about two years ago, when he made a violin out of a cigar box.  Later he contrived an instrument of a rather crude shape, but nearer the perfect.  The third attempt was the modern instrument now being played by Mr. Stube.  He (Witte) spent some time in studying the rudiments of construction and last winter applied his knowledge to a practical test and the result is that he has an instrument that will demand a good price . . . It is said that Mr. Witte had nothing but crude tools, but nevertheless he has accomplished a perfect piece of workmanship.  The violin was left with Mr. Stube to place a value on the same.   WL

 

  

Watertown Band in 1908.  Ed King, Lou Arndt, Harry Warner, Capt. Carl Block, L. Pimple, William Struck, Bob Archie, Otto Kohls, Henry Moser, Adolph Krebs, James O'Brien, Ed Lemke, William Kuester, G. Sauer, Herman Hilgendorf. Mr. Rose, Hubert Pagel, Martin Koenig, Art Goeldner; W. Korguist, George Terwedo, Ed Prochnow, J. Butzler, & Carl Otto.

 

07 30       BANDS LEADS FIRST INTERURBAN DOWN MAIN STREET

  

Mayor Arthur Mulberger was on hand to extend the official welcome of the city to the first interurban and at Main Street a band was waiting which marched down the street ahead of the car while every whistle in Watertown sounded a note of welcome.

 

1909

01 01       JUVENILE BAND AT RICHWOOD

Ed. Boch, William Thauer, Irving Schoeberle, Herbert Lange, Percy Volkert, Raymond Volkert, Winfield McCall, Francis McCall, Edward McCall, Vernon Etscheid, Raymond Carroll, Bennie Carroll, Freddie Ihde, Arthur Seibel, Oscar Lemmerhirt, Edw. Giese, Leo Zoellick, Theo. Hoefs and Oscar Hoefs have organized a juvenile band at Richwood, with Herbert Schroeder as instructor.  Shortly after organizing, the band paraded around Richwood, headed by Peter Thauer, John Scheberle, John Carroll, H. F. Lange and F. J. McCall.  H. F. Lange officiated as drum major and F. J. McCall as sergeant at-arms.   WG

 

01 08       MORE ON BANDS IN RICHWOOD / OLD-TIME RICHWOOD BAND

The Juneau Telephone of last week says:

 

And once upon a time, in the dim and distant past, there was another band in Richwood.  It was organized in 1869 or 1870, with Prof. John Miller of Watertown as instructor.  The band consisted of twelve members, as follows:  John Driscol, leader; Jerry Driscol, John Kelley, John Carroll, John McCall, William Hanley, Philip Riley, John Kerr, Henry Bergen, Michael Quinn, James J. Solon and Stephen White.  The rehearsals, once or twice a week, were held in the old red school house at Richwood and the meetings were a source of considerable pleasure to the members, as they greatly relieved an otherwise monotonous life.  The first time the band attempted to march and play, at the same time, there was a "parting of the ways."  The great feat was attempted at a picnic in Adam Schneider's grove.  Each player had his eyes glued to his little book and, with red face and bulging cheeks, he proceeded on his journey over sticks, stones and logs.  When the "tune” was finished two of the boys were in Norton's marsh, one fell down and the other nine were scattered through the brush, several rods apart.  The marked feature of the selection were explosive notes caused by high stepping.  Later on, however, the boys learned how to play some and in 1872 came right to the front in the Greeley campaign [Horace Greeley, an unsuccessful candidate for President in 1872].  About the year 1874, some of the original members began to drop out and others took their places.  The organization continued to exist until the instruments were sold to the Sacred Heart College boys in Watertown about 1877 or 1878.  Of the twelve original members, all are living except Bill Hanley, who died many years ago.  John Discoll lives in Janesville, Jerry Driscoll resides at Superior . . .   WG

 

-- --           JUVENILE BAND AT WATERLOO, YOUNGEST BOY BAND IN U.S.

      Waterloo, Wisconsin

 

c.1910   SMALL TRIO

  

A small trio made of up William Jones, drums, Mr. Guse, violin, and Mr. Zoellick on accordion, circa 1910.

 

c.1910   UNIDENTIFIED WATERTOWN BAND

  

An unidentified Watertown Band, circa 1910 or so.  It is worth noting that most of these players drifted between bands and later were the founding members of the Watertown Municipal Band.

 

c.1910   KLEINMANN’S PHILLIPS “66” RADIO ORCHESTRA

       Lowell, WI

 

1911

09 14       MILITARY BAND AT STATE FAIR

The Watertown Military Band furnished the music at the state fair on Wednesday and a large delegation of Watertown people accompanied the band, it requiring four interurban cars to accommodate them.   WG

 

 

-- --           MILITARY BAND AT TURNER HALL

    

 

-- --           SLOAN ORCHESTRA MILITARY BAND

                

 

                 1911

 

1912

05 30       BAND CONVENTION SLATED FOR WATERTOWN

The big band convention to be held at Watertown, Saturday and Sunday, June 8 and 9, promises to be one of the largest gatherings of musicians ever held in the state.  At least 30 bands from the southern part of the state will participate — some of the best organizations in the country.  Elaborate preparations are being made for the entertainment of visitors and a big time is promised all who attend.  Among the special features for Saturday will be a gorgeous floral parade, which promises to be the finest spectacle ever witnessed in this vicinity.  Another feature will be a ball game.  Saturday evening there will be a beautiful illuminated parade, followed by band concerts, dances at musician’s headquarters, etc.  On Sunday, at noon, a grand parade of over 500 musicians will be held, followed by a monster picnic on Tivoli Island, one of the finest picnic parks in the state, at which there will be special band concerts by each of the visiting bands, with plenty of other amusement features.  In the evening the park will be brilliantly illuminated and the festivities will close with band concerts and a dance in the pavilion.

 

The convention will attract thousands of visitors who can count on being royally entertained.  Watertown never does anything by halves and everything possible is being done to make this the most successful gathering of musicians ever held.

 

Arrangements have been completed whereby the C. M. & St. P. Ry. will run special trains from Madison and Portage to Watertown on Sunday morning, returning late in the evening.  A special train will also leave for intermediate points Sunday evening.  Visitors from south of Watertown will be accommodated by the regular Sunday excursion trains.  For further particulars address Herman Wertheimer, president, Watertown, Wis.   WG

 

06 08       BAND CONVENTION PARTICIPANTS

  

Northwestern College Band and Military Company

 

BAND CONVENTION DECIDED SUCCESS

Watertown Was Visited by the Largest Crowds in the History of the City 

The band convention held in the city on Saturday and Sunday was a marked success in every particular.  It was pronounced the best and most largely attended band convention ever held in southern Wisconsin.  The weather throughout the two days was ideal.  Business places and many residences were decorated for the occasion and Main Street presented a beautiful spectacle in its gala attire.  The first big event of the convention was the automobile floral parade Saturday afternoon.  The bands participating were the T.M.E.R.&L. Cos., Milwaukee; Imperial, Northwestern College and military company, Watertown.

 

A feature of the parade was the military aspect furnished by the Northwestern College military company in uniform and carrying arms.  The boys were given generous cheers and plaudits, which was shared by their band which accompanied them.

 

06 08       FLORAL PARADE / BAND CONVENTION

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07 19       IMPERIAL BAND PLANS FOR A GRAND CARNIVAL

The Imperial band of Watertown have made arrangements with the Great Capital City Amusement Co. to hold a week's carnival, beginning Monday, August 5th, including Saturday night, August 10th.  The band has not been given a benefit for some time and as Watertown is not going to have a circus this season the boys have secured the above company under their auspices.

 

The company consists of 8 big moral shows, a Giant Ferris Wheel, a 20th Century Carry-Us-All, 3 sensational free attractions and a circus band.  The Imperial band will turn out every evening and render concerts on the show grounds.

 

This will be one of the biggest efforts ever attempted by the band and should have the support of every citizen.  The first performance will open Monday evening at 7:30 and every afternoon and evening during the engagement.  Among the special features in the free attractions will be the De'Claravilles, one of the world's greatest aerial acts.

 

Free admission to the carnival grounds. Illuminations will be one of the features.

 

See advertisements on bill board for further particulars.            WG

 

1914

-- --           WATERTOWN MILITARY BAND OUTING

                       

 

11 19       WATERTOWN SAXOPHONE ORCHESTRA

The popularity of this celebrated orchestra is steadily and rapidly increasing as can readily be seen from the number of engagements they have for this fall and the coming winter, among which is that at Doylestown, Wis., where they will play Thanksgiving evening at the C.O.I. Ball.  Manager P. Neitzel says they have purchased new instruments and music and that they are kept busy filling their engagements.   WG

 

12 24       WATERTOWN SAXOPHONE ORCHESTRA

This popular orchestra will play at dances at the following places:  Richwood, December 28, 1914; Cambridge, Dec. 29, 1914; Rio, Dec. 30, 1914; Watertown, Dec. 31, 1914; Randolph, Jan. 1, 1915.  After these dates are filled, Manager Neitzel says the orchestra will go on a three weeks’ tour giving concerts and furnishing music for some of the high class dances throughout the state, at the conclusion of which their services will be given, for a medium charge, to any one desiring a high class orchestra, either for concerts or dances.  For engagements call on P. Neitzel 1005 Fifth Street. Phone 75-x, Watertown, Wis.   WG

 

1915

09 30       WATERTOWN CITY BAND FOUNDED

      Watertown Band Newly Organized.

 

The Watertown Military Band and the Watertown Imperial Band were merged at a meeting of the respective organizations held on Tuesday evening.  The band will hereafter be known as the Watertown City Band, which has been incorporated, the register number being 234828. The following officers were chosen:

 

President — William Hose.

Vice President — Edward Woelffer.

Secretary — W. Weihert.

Treasurer — A. M. Schmeichel.

Directors — George Krueger, one year; W. Weihert, two years; William Hose, three years.    WG

 

12 17       WATERTOWN SAXOPHONE ORCHESTRA

A flaring full-page poster on our desk announces a Grand Mask Ball in Turner Hall, Watertown, tomorrow evening, Dec. 18, 1915.  The ball is given under the auspices of the Watertown Boosters’ Pleasure and Social Club.  About 50 prizes will be distributed among the winning maskers.  Music by the Watertown Saxophone Orchestra.   WG

 

c.1915

-- --           UNCERTAIN OCCASION

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1916

08 08       SAXOPHONE BOYS GO ON EXTENDED TRIP

           They all “love the ladies,”’ except manager “Bill”

 

The Saxophone Concert and Dance orchestra left on Thursday for an extended trip through the West.  As the orchestra has played most towns of Wisconsin and Iowa, they will only play a few of the larger cities in these states, thereafter they will work in Minnesota, the Dakotas, Nebraska and other western territory.

 

The boys have covered a big territory in the last two years and at every engagement have shown their ability as real musicians.  The orchestra is under the direction and management of W. H. Ketelhut, with William Fleuter, solo; George Ryan, alto; Emil Ketelhut, tenor; Arthur Wilde, baritone; Alvin Shissler, drums; Arthur McDonald, advance agent.

 

Mr. MacDonald left several days ago and is arranging bookings through Iowa and the other territory to be covered by the orchestra.

 

The boys are looking ahead for a big season as they have a new up-to-date program of the latest dance music, which will surely make a hit.  If the music does not, the boys surely will, as they all “love the ladies,”’ except manager “Bill” who plays every night his little tune, “Good-bye Girls I’m Through.”  At that he has nothing on his brother, who has played that tune so long that his horn is worn through.  He has sent to the factory for a new gold-plated saxophone which he will get on the road.

 

Fleuter, known as “Whistle,” will lead the new duet waltz, “I Can Love the Girl Who Loves a Home,” and is in hopes the girls will take notice.

 

Ryan, known as “Shorty,” with his new baseball game hates to leave his partner “Chaw” Powers, but “Shorty” says he doesn’t like to “howler.”  “That don’t count.”

 

Wilde, known as “Cap,” had a steady friend this last vacation while the boys were here.  He sure will have a hard time breaking away, but they say “absence makes the heart grow fonder.”

 

Shisler, known as “Red,” liked them all but he had a hard time finding one while here, but sure makes the hit away from home.  He devotes most of his time on his new xylophone.

 

MacDonald, the advance man, who is making the path for the boys, is sending back good reports.

 

The boys will leave Thursday on an early train making their first stop at Ridgeway. Wis., and from there will work direct west. 

 

It is hoped that the boys will keep up their good work in booming this city as they have done on their trips.  Watertown is proud of the work and the success that the boys have met with.  With the bookings that they have made of late it sure looks as if they have struck the road to success and the city is unanimous in hoping that they are never shunted into a side road.      The Watertown News

 

1917

07 16       ST. JOHN’S INDEPENDENT BAND

       BAND BOYS MAKE MERRY AT THEIR ANNUAL PICNIC

 

The picnic given by St. John’s Independent band at the Sauerkraut club on Sunday was a success and a most enjoyable affair from every stand point.

 

Early in the morning the live wire delegation was on the spot, and preparations were made for the crowd which soon began to arrive.  Fishing and bathing were in order, and many of the younger ones of the party pitted their strength against the current in the river which is some stream just now at that point.

 

Early in the afternoon, after a splendid dinner had been served in the club dining hall, the quartette led by Pat Diekoff and assisted by whoever took a notion rendered some choice vocal selections.  Some of the voices were a trifle rusty but the most of them gave great promise if they had the advantage of training by a good teacher.

 

Some records were made by expert horseshoe pitchers but it was at fishing that Fred Bittner tied them all.  Bittner also led a cross country chase, the hazards including swamp ground, barbed wire fences and ditches.  In this contest Pat Diekoff lost by a length by trying to pick a new route.

 

In the afternoon, an auto party enroute from Chicago to Madison visited the club. 

 

The band is composed of the following members: William Bast, Walter Krueger, Ray Brier, R. Grosnick, Otto Nienow, Arthur Block, Ben Maas, Fred Maas, Edward Kohlhoff, Arthur Bast, Arthur Sprenger, Anton Lemke, August Kohlhoff, J. Schiefer, William Thietz, H. Borchordt, F. A. Bittner, Ben Schumacher, Walter Block, Frank Uttech, H. M. Sonnemann, Prof. H. A. Schumacher.      The Watertown news, July 16, 1917

 

  

Band Members.  Possibly 1917, on the grounds of the Sauerkraut club

 

1920s     PAT NEITZEL’S JAZZOPATORS of Watertown, Banjo Alex, Paul Hoppe

                             

 

      <-  At Kraemer's Dance Hall

 

1920s     HY COLEMAN’S ORCHESTRA of Milwaukee 

    

 

1920s     While he was still a boy, Alton Gritzner organized a dance band and continued it for some years as the “Casino Rhythm Kings.”  The leader played a banjo.

 

1921       WATERTOWN CITY BAND  

 

 

1925

02 18       BANDSTAND SUGGESTED for new Memorial Park

Ex-Mayor Wertheimer stated that if the park plan be put into a reality that a bandstand be erected on the premises. 

 

1930s     McKINNEY'S SERENADERS, Ray McKinney

                              

 

                WEBER-HOPPE ORCHESTRA

    

 

1934

03 28       NEW KLEINMANN DANCE BAND TO OFFER NOVELTY

Orchestra consists of Joe Morin, trumpet; Fred Kleinmann, violin & trombone; Roy Eisfeldt, saxophone; Edward Hoppe, drums; Mrs. Fred Kleinmann, piano and Laverne, the accordion man.

 

Some features they offer are the LaVerne Trio and Buddy Kleinmann, 8-year-old vocalist.

 

1935

05 29       PHOTO OF FIRST WATERTOWN CORNET BAND

The music exhibit is now under way at the public library . . . A picture of considerable interest displayed at the exhibit is the photograph of the first Watertown cornet band.  It was organized in 1870 and was composed of the following members: Charles Nowack, William Sommerfeld, Charles Wenck, A. Gritzner, Otto Nowack, Alex Nowack, William Roeder, Fred Pohlmann, A. Schuelermann, Frank Kartak, John Weissert, W. D. Sproesser.

 

Webmasters Note:  Watertown Cornet Band assumed to be the same as the Watertown Philharmonic Cornet Band.

 

1937

08 19       JOHNNY'S GRENADIERS

      New Six-Piece Dance Orchestra Is Going Places

 

An orchestra recently organized by a group of young musicians in the city is now playing increased engagements in various state cities.  The orchestra, known as Johnny's Grenadiers, was organized by John Woelffer, son of E. J. Woelffer, director of the 105th Cavalry Band, and Ray Fredrich.  They signed up four other young men to complete the organization including Verne Gehler, Myron Hinzmann, Fred Wittchow and William Kehl.  Together this group plays a variety of instruments.  The orchestra features music of the old-time character but also plays modern music, generally combining the two for an engagement.  Tonight the orchestra will play at the Coconut Grove in Madison and tomorrow night at the Modernistic Ballroom, Milwaukee.  They have also played at the Schwartz Ballroom in Hartford and other places and have numerous engagements for the near future.  The orchestra also plays locally and is open for engagements for dances, parties and social functions of all kinds.

 

1940

                WATERTOWN CITY BAND, 25TH ANNIVERSARY OF

  

 

c.1940

                WATERTOWN CITY BAND

A group of people posing for a photo

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Walter Stamstad, director

 

1940s

                CITY BANDSHELL

  

Located in Memorial park  

 

1946       HERB BREDOW ORCHESTRA

     

 

1949

06 11       AMERICAN LEGION BAND FORMED

The first meeting of Watertown’s newly formed American Legion band took place this week and Frank Koenig, Jr., was unanimously appointed to serve as temporary conductor.  Meetings hereafter are scheduled for Wednesday nights at 8 o’clock.  The first such meeting will be held next Wednesday when the first rehearsal will take place.  Election of officers is also scheduled.

 

All those who have been previously notified of the plans are asked to be present without fail, the organizing committee said today.

 

At present there are openings in the following sections:  Clarinet, French horn and bass.  All persons 18 years or over who are interested are asked to report next Wednesday night at the armory building.

 

For years people here have talked about the band that used to be a band that was second to none in the state, a band that garnered the plaudits of the people from the man on the street up to top ranking military men and governors - the old 105th Cavalry band.

 

Now at last Watertown is on the threshold of producing another great band, one that can carry on in behalf of good band music.

 

1950

07 24       FUNSTERS CLUB KITCHEN BAND

The Funsters Club Kitchen Band honored retiring director Marilyn Moran at its annual dinner meeting at Vandre's Riverside Inn.  She was presented with a music box in the shape of a church from the band.  Mrs. Moran recently retired from the Watertown Park and Recreation Department as supervisor and director of the Funster Club for 18 years.  Led by Mrs. Alvira Hamann, who is replacing Mrs. Moran, the group sang songs reminiscent of their times together.  A number of stories were told and games played.  Winners of the guessing games were Herman Kaczor, Mary Oestreicher and Marilyn Moran.   WDT

 

08 07       COMPANY M RETURNS HOME

           

After two weeks at Camp McCoy, a special train pulled into Union depot.  Portion of welcoming crown is shown.  Greeted by American Legion and Musicians Union bands.Line of march extended through flag-bedecked Main Street.

 

09 27       ANNUAL BALL OF MUSICIANS / A Battle of Music

     11 Dance Bands to participate at Turner Hall

The annual Musicians' ball, sponsored by Local No. 469, American Federation of Musicians, will be held at Turner hall in Watertown Thursday night.  The ball this year promises to be the greatest in the history of the series, with 11 dance bands participating.  They will engage in a battle of music.  Among the dance bands will be those of Herbert Bredow, Will Eske, Jimmy Hartwig, the Ritzy Royal players, Gib Untz, Bud Breitkreutz, Wally Klinger, Shorty Schumacher, Bob Strege, "Peanuts" Schuld and the Fats Firehouse five.  Both modern and old time music will be featured.  All of the musicians are known far and wide in this area for their music and entertainment and they will combine tomorrow night in putting on one of the greatest dance nights ever seen in this or any other city of the state. The dance is open to the public and everyone is invited.   WDT

 

11 18       Ron LeRoy, Senior High School Band Director, Teacher of the Year   WDT

 

12 05       FORMER BAND DIRECTOR RETURN

Three former directors of the Watertown City Band will direct their own compositions at Friday night’s silver jubilee concert of the band which is to be given free in Turner hall.

 

They are Joseph Prindl, M. J. Edelman and J. A. Schauer.

 

Mr. Prindl, who now resides in Milwaukee, and Mr. Edelman who lives in Chicago, will come here especially for the concert and direct their compositions.  Mr. Schauer resides here.  Another former conductor of the band, J. W. Kleinman, as well as Sigmund Hoffmann of Jefferson, will attend the concert and direct one number each.

 

Mr. Edelman has written his march especially for the anniversary celebration.

 

1953

07 14       WATERTOWN HIGH SCHOOL BAND

  

 

WATERTOWN LEGION BAND, also known as the WATERTOWN CIVIC BAND

                     

 

WALT GOODIE FAMILY ORCHESTRA, Walter Goodlette

 

1956

12 14       WATERTOWN MUSICIANS ASSOCIATION OFFICERS

Clem Schoechert was elected president of the Watertown Musicians Association Local No. 469, at the annual meeting of the association held at the East Gate Inn last night.  Other officers named are: George Flint, vice president for his 15th consecutive term; Mrs. Erline Torres, corresponding secretary for her 12th consecutive term; Herbert Bredow, financial secretary and treasurer; James Hartwig, Percey Krebs and Arthur Rupnow, trustees for three, two and one years respectively; Alton F. Gritzner, Ray Frederich and Wallace Klinger Jr., directors for one year; Edward Schroeder, sergeant-at-arms.  WDT

 

-- --           WATERTOWN HIGH SCHOOL BEGINNERS BAND

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1960

01 11       WATERTOWN MUSICIANS ASSOCIATION OFFICERS

The Watertown Musicians Association, Local No. 469, AFM last night installed its newly elected officers for the year.  The meeting last night was held at the East Gate Inn.  Officers installed are:  Clem Schoechert, president; George Flint, vice president; Mary Connor, recording secretary; Herbert Bredow, financial secretary; Alton F. Gritzner, sergeant-at-arms; James Hartwig, Merlin Braasch and Arthur Rupnow, trustees; Edwin Schliewe, Roy Schnuckel and Robert Strege, directors.

 

c.1960   “PARADE OF BANDS”

  

 

1964

03 21       FREDDY DETTMANN BAND

Freddy Dettmann and His Band, a local old-time orchestra group, has announced that the band is in the stage of reorganizing and adding two trumpets.  The band in the past has been playing with three, four and five piece jobs, but in the future will be booking with six.  The personnel of the band includes Eddie Peirick, who plays concertina.  He has been playing concertina for 33 years and is considered one of the finest in this area.  Very few old time bands in Wisconsin use a concertina in the band, therefore, the group feels that it will add something extra to its music.  With concertina, the music can be styled in the Dutchmen swing and sway dance way as most Dutchmen bands from Minnesota use concertina.  WDT

 

06 04       ARNOLD LEHMANN named conductor of Municipal Band

Prof. Arnold O. Lehmann, director of music at Northwestern College, has been named conductor of the Watertown Municipal Band and will make his first public appearance in his new capacity at Thursday night’s opening concert of the summer series at Riverside Park.  Announcement of Prof. Lehmann’s acceptance of the offer to conduct the band was made today.  He succeeds Gerald Stich of Waterloo who resigned because he will be attending a summer school.  Since coming to Watertown to take over his duties at Northwestern College, Prof. Lehmann has developed an outstanding musical activities program and has presented, as part of his duties, numerous college concerts, many of them for the public.  WDT

 

1965

01 21       CLEM SCHOECHERT HONORED

Clem Schoechert, who organized the local musicians’ union back in 1937, and who was elected president at that time, and has served as president ever since, was honored at a testimonial dinner last night at Turner Hall.  Over 200 persons attended to pay tribute to him.  Mayor Robert P. White presented Schoechert with a certificate of recognition, and William Kehl, in behalf of the union, presented the guest of honor with a plaque in recognition of the outstanding leadership he has provided the local since its organization.   WDT

 

04 14       WATERTOWN MUSICIANS ASSN BALL

The silver jubilee ball of the Watertown Musicians Association Local, 469, A.F.M., will take place at Turner Hall on Thursday night, April 22 with over 100 musicians taking part in providing the music and entertainment.  The bands and orchestra on the main stage will include the Musical Stars, Merlin Braasch and his orchestra, Freddy Dettmann and his band, Will Eske and his orchestra, Bud Hughlett and the Melodiers, the Push and Pull Orchestra and Ole Gjerald and his orchestra. Combos in the lower ballroom include the following: Tom Voigt and his group, Bill, Will ‘n Roy, the Slovanians, the Blue Notes, Jolly Cholly, Trio or More, the Three Naturals and Scratch and his Nuclears.   WDT

 

1966

05 18       HERB BREDOW AND HIS ORCHESTRA

Herbert A. Bredow, 207 Riverlawn Avenue, has closed his musical career as leader of Herb Bredow and his Orchestra.  He played his last engagement at the Watertown Country Club Saturday night for the Watertown Senior Dancing Club.  Mr. Bredow’s career as a musician spans some 46 years.  He began playing in 1920, the year he graduated from Watertown High School.  Piano was his chief instrument, although he has also played banjo, trumpet and sax.  In 1920 he helped launch a group called “The Night Hawk Or-Jaz-tra.”  In it were Otto Vogel, Max Nehring, Charles Dott and Gust Boehm and Mr. Bredow.

 

1967

12 12       WATERTOWN MUSICIANS ASSOCIATION OFFICERS

At the annual nomination and election of officers of the Watertown Musicians held Tuesday evening at the East Gate Inn, the following officers were elected for the year 1968.  Clem Schoechert, president; Wayne Saniter, vice president; Harry Erickson, corresponding secretary; Erline Torres, financial secretary and business agent; Roland Harder, trustee for three years; Tom Voigt, Will Eske, James Hartwig, directors; Alton F. Gritzner, sergeant at arms. Two trustees holding over are Merlin Braasch and William Kehl.

 

1968

12 21       DOWNTOWN CHRISTMAS CONCERT

The Watertown Municipal Band, directed by Dr. Arnold O. Lehmann, will play its annual downtown Christmas concert on Monday evening, the last nighttime shopping period for the Christmas season.  The band will be playing in the lobby of the Merchants National Bank starting at 7 o’clock.  A one hour program has been arranged.  There will be loud speakers to carry the music to the streets.  This concert will be an actual performance by the band and will not be presented in taped form as has been done on some past occasions.

 

1969

05 05       WISCONSIN MUSICIANS ASSN CONFERENCE AT LEGION GREEN BOWL

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Clem Schoechert, Watertown, president of Watertown Musicians and state sergeant-at-arm; Erline Torres, secretary-treasurer of Watertown Musicians.

 

05 12       NEW UNIFORMS FOR MUNICIPAL BAND

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Watertown Municipal Band.  New uniforms worn for first time on Memorial Day.  William Kehl, manager; Roland Harder, treasurer; Dr. Arnold Lehmann, conductor; David Kubly, president; Mary Connor, secretary.

 

1990

07 01       LEBANON BAND 100th ANNIVERSARY

LEBANON — The Lebanon Band, this year celebrating 100 years of dedication to music and fellowship, is one of the biggest bands from one of the smallest towns in the United States.  The band, with close to 50 members, will be performing in Watertown’s Fourth of July Parade this year as a part of its extensive centennial year schedule.  As the band performs this summer, parade-goers from all over Wisconsin will be treated to a proud and historic group in action.  The band’s founders were music-loving German immigrants. In 1885, Henry F. Seeger, a German born parochial school teacher, came to Immanuel Lutheran Church in Lebanon to serve as a teacher, organist, choir director, and instructor of instrumental music for which he received 10 cents per lesson.  After five years his teaching had produced enough instrumentalists to form a band in Lebanon in 1890.   WDT

 

1994

07 05       YANKEE DUTCHMEN SOLAR POWERED PRECISION MARCHING BAND

Playing in parades has always been a kick for Will Eske and his mismatched musicians, who are known to scatter in different directions during a drill.  Although the official name of the popular band is the Yankee Dutchmen Solar Powered Precision Marching Band, the aim of the group is anything but perfection.  “Every musician must be in full uniform, and as mismatched as possible.  If someone has a hat and coat that match, they must exchange with someone else so the colors don’t match,” said the genial band director, who usually takes music seriously except during parades where his motley crew is greeted with cheers and encouragement.  A T-shirt proclaiming the formal name of the band can be seen through the open uniform tops.  The well known 37-year-old band will again march in the city’s July 4 parade, just as it has for many years.  The event is an important part of the band’s schedule which includes 13 parades this summer.  “We get stacks of requests to play, but we try to stick close to home,” Eske said.  The Ashippun Fire Department has sponsored the band in the Dodge County Firefighters Tournament for the past 35 years.  The event will be held in Lebanon July 31.    WDT

 

2016

-- --           OLD BASS DRUM HEAD

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Presenting Municipal Band’s old bass drum head to the American Legion

 

 

 

Cross References:

German Serenaders       1855, Early Band

Watertown Municipal Band [same as Watertown City Band]

Thacker’s Band, chapter on

Thacker's Concert Band. 1905, Homecoming Day

Thacker's Band, 1906, Labor Day celebration

Band Shell, Riverside Park, dedicated 1954

First Brigade Band

 

Edwin Woelffer, 1890-1944.   Edwin Woelffer, 54, Band Leader, Dies

06/01/1944 – E. J. Woelffer, widely known band leader, died here today at his home, 912 South Fourth street.  He had been in ill health for a long time and passed away at 6 o’clock this morning.

 

Mr. Woelffer was born in Waterloo on Jan 31, 1890, a son of Mrs. Robert Woelffer and the late Robert Woelffer.  He came to Watertown as a boy when his parents moved here and his father engaged in the tavern business.  His father was a widely known man in this community for many years.

 

Mr. Woelffer was married on Oct. 1, 1912 to Miss Mabel Riebe.  She survives, as do a daughter and a son, Mrs. Donald Snyder and John H. Woelffer, both of this city.  His mother also resides here as do a sister, Mrs. Robert Hills, and a brother, George Woelffer.  Two other brothers preceded him in death.  There are two grandchildren.

 

Mr. Woelffer was associated with the Watertown Memorial Co.  He was a member of First Methodist church, Lincoln Lodge No.20, Knight of Pythias, the Plattdeutscher Verein and the Watertown Turner society.

 

Over the period of years in which Mr.Woelffer was a band leader he had conducted the Watertown City band and the old 105th Cavalry band with which he was associated many years.  He also led the band of Branch 120, Catholic Knights of Wisconsin, the K. of P. band and more recently had been the leader of the Lebanon band.

 

As a band leader he was a hard worker and a thorough musician, a man with whom players liked to work.  He inspired his musicians to their best efforts and was looked upon as a competent leader.  In his business affairs Mr. Woelffer was a man who stood for fair dealing and honesty.  He had the confidence of his associates and the people with whom he dealt.  He was kind and considerate of others.  To his family he leaves a heritage which reflects credit upon him as a man and a citizen of the community where his friends were legion.

 

The funeral will take place Monday afternoon.  There will be a service at First Methodist church at 2 o’clock. The Rev. William B. Petherick, who has recently been assigned to Marinette, will conduct the services and burial will be in Oak Hill cemetery.

 

The Hafemeister funeral home is in charge of the arrangements.  It was not known definitely today whether the funeral will be from the funeral home or from the residence and this will be announced tomorrow, together with the period during which friends may call to pay their respects.  In any event, the casket is not to be opened at the church but friends will be given an opportunity to call at either the funeral home or the residence Sunday afternoon and evening and Monday up to the time of the funeral, as soon as it is decided from which place the last rites will be conducted.

 

 

 

 

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History of Watertown, Wisconsin

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