In 1921, the Iowa legislature passed house file 479, more popularly known as the Iowa Band Law.  The law authorized municipalities, if petitioned by ten percent of their voters, to place on the ballot at the next municipal election, the authorization to levy a tax not to exceed two mills annually, for the establishment and support of a municipal band.  In 1927 Burlington’s voters affirmed this authority and, subsequently the Orchard City Band under director Frank Sherratt and Fischer's Band under J. Henri Fischer combined to form the Burlington Municipal Band.  The City fathers of that time chose, however, to fund the band from the City’s general fund rather than to levy the tax, a practice that continued until 2011 when the City’s support was discontinued.  Since that time the band has been funded through the efforts of the Burlington Municipal Band Foundation.
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.
City of Burlington Home Page | Quality of Life | Municipal Band
Burlington Municipal Band History
Message from Jim Priebe --
The Orchard City Band on the Court House Steps in 1911.
(with personnel identified)
When I became a member of the band in 1965, many of the members listed in the 1940's photos 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.  From the perspective of the twenty-first century, we present these photographs with a sense of being a part of a great continuity of effort and tradition.
The Orchard City Band at the G.A.R. (Grand Army of the Republic) Convention, June 17-19, 1914
(with personnel identified)
The Orchard City Band at the F.O.E. (Fraternal Order of Eagles)
State Convention held in Muscatine in 1916.
(with personnel identified)
Orchard City Band at a fish fry on Big Island (date unknown)
(with personnel identified)
Fischer's Band (date and personnel unknown)
The Burlington Municipal Band appearing at a community picnic in Perkins Park in 1947. Maurice Wright conducting. (Personnel unknown)
The Burlington Municipal Band in Memorial Auditorium in 1948
(with personnel list)
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On this page are photos of The Orchard City Band and the Fischer Band, provided through the courtesy of the Des Moines County Historical Society, as well as later photos of the Burlington Municipal Band and its members that we believe are of historical interest.  If you have similar photos that you believe might be of interest to us please contact Jim Priebe, 319-752-7305.  We will gladly scan the photos and return the originals to you unharmed and will credit our source if you wish..
The Burlington Municipal Band in 1945
(with personnel list)
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The Orchard City Band at an Elks Parade in 1913
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(Note:  To speed loading of this web page, we have replaced the original photos with quicker-loading "thumbnail" versions.  Click on the thumbnails to view each photo full-size.)
We were pleased to receive the following photos from former band member Paul Zaiser of Cedar Falls, Iowa:
Paul, Mark, and Ralph Zaiser in new uniforms
Ralph Zaiser and Ralph Vengaus with Maurice Wright
Old Bandstand in Crapo Park ca. 1940
Warren Johnson, Ralph Zaiser, A.P. (Adie) Meyer,
and Ernest Kembitzky in old band uniforms
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These photos, taken by Jim Priebe in 1975, show long-time director Maury Wright as he was conducting a concert.  They evoke an era which is fondly remembered by band members of long tenure.
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These photos show the band marching in the "Sheriff's Annual Halloween Parade" in 1972.  The band is wearing the uniform of that time - gold blazers which display the City's steamboat logo.  The photos are taken as the band is about to cross the railroad tracks on south Main Street.
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The Burlington Municipal Band in a Christmas Parade circa 1949
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Steve Wright, son of long-time Burlington Municipal Band director Maury Wright, graciously provided these high-resolution photos (with captions):
The Burlington Municipal Band on the Bandstand
at Crapo Park in 1950
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The Burlington Municipal Band in 1963 or 1964
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The Burlington Municipal Band at Memorial Auditorium pre-1946
The Burlington Municipal Band at Memorial Auditorium mid-1950s
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The Burlington Municipal Band in Memorial Auditorium in 1948
(with personnel list)
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(Though this is essentially a duplicate of one of our previous photos, it is framed differently, and higher-resolution.)
Former band member Tim Huth has sent us this photo of his father, Harold "Hal" Huth, serving as Drum Major of the Burlington Municipal Band in a parade about 1952 or 1953 ("based on the age of the Mercury that is following the band"):
Harold "Hal" Huth leading the Municipal Band in a parade circa 1952-53
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Enhancing the
quality of life
in Burlington and
Southeast Iowa since 1927
Our thanks to former band member Jim Mohatt of York, Pennsylvania for sending us this photo.  Jim played trombone in the band and was the band director at Horace Mann Jr. High School:
Maury Wright conducting the band in 1968
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