Two musicians from the UNO School of Music participated in the Vintage Band Festival (VBF) in Northfield, MN, held August 1-4, 2019. Over 40 bands from the USA and Europe were invited to participate in the 5thtri-annual festival, the first of which was held in 2006. VBF was an idea developed by Artistic Director, Paul Niemisto, inspired by his
previous experiences with similar festivals such as The Kaustinen Folk Music Festival in western Finland, the Lieksa International Brass Weekheld in eastern Finland, and the Great American Brass Band Festival in Danville, KY (the only other event of its kind in the United States). The Vintage Band Festival showcases bands from around the world representing various musical traditions, from Civil War and Victorian-era bands playing on period instruments, to saxhorn groups, military bands, modern concert bands, jazz bands, and various brass chamber groups.
Sophomore UNO music major Hunter Holoubek joined the ranks of the 1stNebraska Volunteers Brass Band, which recreates Nebraska’s original Civil War band of 1861-1862. Established in 2015, 1stNebraska regularly performs at Civil War events, community festivals, and patriotic observances in Nebraska and western Iowa. Their programs contain patriotic songs of both the North and the South, popular songs of the day, and opera excerpts found in authentic musical arrangements from Civil War regimental band books. Founded and led by Dr. William Hall (formerly a trombonist in the U.S. Army Field Band), 2019marked the group’s first appearance at the Vintage Band Festival. Hunter, a bassoon student at UNO, plays the baritone with the 1stNebraska Volunteers Brass Band. https://1stnebraskaband.wordpress.com/
1stNebraska Volunteers Brass Band (Holoubek is standing 2ndfrom left)
UNO’s Professor of Flute, Dr. Christine Beard made her fifth appearance at the Vintage Band Festival as the solo D-flat piccoloist with Newberry’s Victorian Cornet Band (NVCB). First appearing with NVCB as a guest soloist during their concerts at inaugural VBF in 2006, she became a core member of the band directly afterward and has since participated in every subsequent VBF with Newberry’s, as well as in additional concerts and educational events with the band at venues across the USA. Founded in 2002 by music historian and euphonium player, Dr. Michael O’Connor and led by cornetist Dr. Elisa Koehler, the musicians of Newberry’s are dedicated professional and semi-professional brass, reed, and percussion players whose performance is as close to that of a late 19th-century professional touring band as is possible today. Like bands from that era, the group ranges from six players to a full ensemble of 30, usually touring with 17 reed, brass and percussion players. NVCB plays only music that would have been heard between the end of the Civil War and the advent of the Sousa Band in 1892: primarily dance music, in concerts that feature the most popular examples of polkas, waltzes, quicksteps, schottisches and mazurkas, as well as the march.
Newberry’s Victorian Cornet Band (photo taken at the 2016 Vintage Band Festival; Beard is seated on the left)
Newberry’s has released one commercial CD, Thomas Coates: The Father of Band Music in Americaon the MSR Classics label (2013), which has received much critical acclaim. Their second CD, Wind Band Music of the Gilded Age– which features Beard performing the most famous piccolo solo of the era, “Through the Air” by August Damm – is in post-production phase and will be released in 2020, also on the MSR Classics label. www.facebook.com/newberryband
The next Vintage Band Festival will take place in Northfield, MN in 2022; for more information, visitwww.vintagebandfestival.org.