Burlington Municipal Band History
Message from Jim Priebe --
The Burlington Municipal Band was formed when the Orchard City Band under Frank Sherratt and Fischer's Band under J. Henri Fischer combined.  We have obtained several photographs of the Orchard City Band, the earliest of which dates from 1911, through the courtesy of the Des Moines County Historical Society.  There is also one photo of Fischer's Band, but unfortunately we have no date or list of personnel.  Included also are two photos of the Burlington Muncicipal Band taken in 1947 and 1948.  Personnel and dates are listed with the photos when this information was available.  We hope that family and friends of those pictured will come forward with additional photos and information about the band's early history.  We would welcome additional contributions for possible use on this page.
When I became a member of the band in 1966, many of the individuals listed in 1948 were still active, and two members pictured with the Orchard City Band, Ralph Zaiser and Ward Vance, were still playing. They spoke with familiarity of individuals who were a vital part of the musical scene of our community in the nineteenth century. As we enter the twenty-first century, we present these photographs with a sense of being a part of a great continuity of effort and tradition.
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The Orchard City Band on the Court House Steps in 1911.
Bottom row: John Vogelgesang, John Weniger, Frank Sherratt (director), Leon Pettit.
Second row: Horace Leidig, Guy Power (manager), Henry Griesel, Sam Pill, Troy Agnew, John Miller, Carl Griesel.
Third row: Charles Vogelgesang, Sig Engberg, Carl Peterson, Ed Rinker, Ed Griesel.
Top row: C.E. Smith, William Schaefer, Andy Koett, Charles Gustafson.
Photo courtesy of the Des Moines County Historical Society
The Orchard City Band at the G.A.R. (Grand Army of the Republic) Convention
June 17-19, 1914
Bottom row: Sam Pill, clarinet; William Schafer, baritone; Frank Sherratt, director; John Weniger; cornet; Carl Peterson cornet; Leon Petitt, cornet.
Second row: Carl Griesel, drum; John Miller, drum; George Vogt, piccolo; H. Hohl, clarinet; Guy Power, clarinet; Ward Vance, cornet; Walter Hohl, clarinet.
Third row: Henry Griesel, clarinet; Sig Engberg, horn; Charles Vogelgesang, horn; Jim Weaver, horn; Al Rinker, horn; Ralph Zaiser, saxophone.
Photo courtesy of the Des Moines County Historical Society
Top row: W.F. Ellerhoff, bass; Ed Griesel, trombone; Clarence Smith, trombone; Clyde Sourwine, trombone; Horace Leidig, clarinet; Andy Koett, bass.
The Orchard City Band at the F.O.E. (Fraternal Order of Eagles) State Convention
held in Muscatine in 1916.
Bottom row: Fred Walz, Sam Pill, Frank Sherratt (director), John Weniger, Walter Hohl, John Miller, Guy Power (manager).
Second row: Horace Leidig, George Vogt, William  Shaefer, Sig Engberg, Mayo Williams.
Third row: Ed Griesel, Charles Vogelgesang, Henry Griesel, Ed Rinder, Carl Peterson.
Photo courtesy of the Des Moines County Historical Society
Top row: Andy Koett, William Ellerhoff, Clarence Smith, Carl Griesel, John VanSteenwick, Ralph Zaiser.
Orchard City Band at a fish fry on Big Island (date unknown)
George Vogt, Henry Griesel, Andy Koett, Guy Power, Charles Gustafson, Charles Vogelgesang, Troy Agnew, Carl Griesel, C.E. Smith, John Miller, Sig Engberg, Ed Griesel, William Shaefer, Al Rinker, Frank Sherratt, and John Vogelgesang.
Photo courtesy of the Des Moines County Historical Society
Fischer's Band (date and personnel unknown)
Photo courtesy of the Des Moines County Historical Society
The Burlington Municipal Band appearing at a community picnic in Perkins Park in 1947. Maurice Wright conducting. (Personnel unknown)
Photo courtesy of the Des Moines County Historical Society
The Burlington Municipal Band in Memorial Auditorium in1948
Personnel as listed in the program:  Director, Maurice E. Wright; Drum Major, Harold Huth; piccolo and flute, Harold Cooper; flute, Marion Anderson; clarinets, Troy Agnew, Donald Davis, E. Kembitzky, Herbert Lachnitt, Bob Meloan, Gustav Rieckoff, Glenn Wilson; E-flat alto saxophones, Ralph Zaiser, Richard Krekel; B-flat tenor saxophone, Roy Freitag; E-flat baritone saxophone, Mark Zaiser; horns, S.P, Engberg, Joseph T. Kochwasser, George F. Peterson, Fred Pitzer; cornets and trumpets, Robert Davis, Tom Hertzler, Warren Johnson, Carl W. Peterson, Ward Vance; trombones, S.A. Eckdale, William Platte, C.E. Smith; Baritones, Howard Corman, Don Schwenker; Basses, H.E. Westfall, John Kent; Percussion, Don Gerdom, Edward Larson, George Nickle, Delbert Richardson.
Memories of the Burlington Municipal Band
by Mrs. Myrna Vaughan Zabloudil
These remembrances are of when I was about six to fifteen years of age, making my memories of about 1943 to 1952. My father, who died in 1972 at age 88, was a rural mail carrier. He was friends with his fellow co-workers at the post office. I can remember around four of them were members of the Municipal Band. One of them I remember was Schmitty, who lived two houses north of Scotties on Summer Street. One man played the trumpet or cornet, and one played the trombone. I believe one other played the drums.
These men had a ritual each and every morning at the post office. They were to report to work and be ready to "case the mail" by 5:00 a.m. each day. Before starting each morning, the band members, plus my father, each had these little ceremonial tunes they played before starting work. My father, Roy, did not play in the band, but joined them each morning with his stringed instrument. I believe it is called a pianola. I still have this instrument. It got more and more out of tune, and probably he didn't know how to tune it! Several times in the summer, while on school vacation, I got to go to the Post Office and sit right outside the door and listen to their morning ritual before leaving on his mail route. I am presuming I wasn't allowed actually inside, thus my seat by the alley on the top step, located in the old Post Office, next to the present fire station.
These same men loyally played in the Municipal Band every year. There is probably a list and perhaps I would recognize some of the other names. The concerts were on Wednesday evenings and again on Sunday. We hardly missed a concert. I was enchanted, as a young girl, to watch the colored water jetting into heaven as the fanciful music propelled me into a fantasy land. I was extremely happy to be presented with this offering of perky, invigorating, uplifting music. My bones just would not sit still. Around the old band stand were white blooming bridal wreath. Children constantly marched, stomped, and tip-toed around and around the bandstand on any and every number. We didn't wait for one special number as nowadays, but always marched during the whole program. Bigger children took the lead or took the hands of smaller children. Even live pets were dragged by their tiny masters round and round. What a great and lasting memory. Starting the piano at age four, I was already interested in music and I was enthralled with this whole experience. I knew at a young age that this was the entertainment for me! I'm sure I eagerly jumped into the old Studebaker car every week, to be driven over to the "fairyland", Crapo Park, where I could climb to the top step, as close to the conductor as I could get to watch absolutely everything I could digest about music from my perch. Quietly, mannerly, so as never to be in the way, I observed hungrily, grasping how that trombone could get all those movable sounds. I feasted my eyes on Schmitty, watching his fingers march up and down, up and down, only to clap as loud as I could at each numbers end.
I cannot presently recall any conductor other than Mr. Maury Wright. I remember watching the baton, ever so crisply being propelled up and down. A man played the tiny piccolo, and then would change to flute very quickly. I always wondered how his fingers could hit the right note. I wanted to try to play some of the instruments but was too shy to ask.
The cars all parked completely around the bandstand with headlights pointed straight in to the center. Most people stayed in their cars and at every number's end they all laid on their horns. It was a contest to see who could blow his horn the loudest, and needless to say, who horn would be the VERY last to quit honking. There was always one last "beep".
There was a little ice cream shop very close, near the corner of the park, and we would usually get either ice cream or, my favorite, an ice-cold root beer. What a delight and it just polished off the evening.
I marched around that bandstand until I was probably the oldest child to do that, about age eleven, and then, feeling foolish that people thought I was too big to be doing that, I resorted to sitting in the back seat of our Studebaker. I didn't like that as well, for I couldn't SEE the instruments as well, or feel the vibrations from sitting on the steps. Also, it was at this time I decided to invent screens for car windows. There were always lots of mosquitoes there. That hope was dashed when air-conditioners arrived in cars.
I'm very sure that those numerous times of attending the wonderful Municipal Band concerts from about age six until I graduated from high school, helped me actually decide on choosing music as a lifelong job and hobby. They say early childhood is a very important and decisive time. I guess this one humble remembrance helps to prove the point.
May the Municipal Band continue on into the next generation, and the next. Friendships are renewed and communities are bonded together, by the sharing of talent of local musicians.
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This website is now maintained by members of the Burlington Municipal Band.
We thank the staff at the Burlington Public Library for the original site design.
Questions and/or comments can be directed to -- webmaster@muniband.org