This is a blog about music, photography, history, and culture.
These are photographs from my collection that tell a story about lost time and forgotten music.

Mike Brubaker
{ Click on the image to expand the photo }

The best band in Iowa

16 December 2009

Here is a great postcard photo of the band from Orange City, Iowa described as the "Best Amateur Band in Iowa". It's unique for having two horns, an uncommon instrument in brass bands of this time. Both are piston valved instruments similar to Adolf Adel's instrument (see The first post). The leader's military style uniform along with the background of flags suggest the photo was taken on a patriotic day celebration. I found reference to the band playing at G.A.R. events (Grand Army of the Republic, i.e. the Union Army). Here are two examples from newspaper reports of the band.

from the Sioux County Herald 26 June 1895
Orange City Wins the Band Contest.

Hundreds of Sioux county people atended the old soldiers' reunion at Le Mars last week and Orange City furnished her share. Only words of praise for Le Mars for the manner in which the visitors were entertained could be heard and it is hard to see how better treatment could have been given either to tho old soldiers or the other visitors. The weatherwas line and this fact contributed largely to the success of the event. Most of our people were present on Friday, being attracted by the band contest and Henry Watterson's address. The contest was held in the morning and the Orange City band was an easy victor, clearly outclassing its competitors, the Newell band and the ladies' band from Marcus. There is probably no band in the state made up as ours is of home musicians that can play better music. The people of Sioux county as well as those of Orange City have great pride in the organization. The first prize was $100.  

and from the Sioux County Herald 29 Jan 1896
Our Band

From conversations with some of our citizens, I am led to believe that there is a wrong idea in the minds of many regarding the concerts our band is giving. Although we have been given a fair patronage, yet the small fee charged nets only small sum, and without conceit, we believe we can claim the entertainment to be worth all asked for it, and more too. The band is out of debt with all instruments and uniforms paid for in full. We are making an effort to raise enough to make an exchange of our French horns, which are not suitable for band use, and bought because cheap, for proper makes of the same horns, and also to exchange a couple of clarinets for better ones. Every cent of subscription and earnings has gone to the equipment and running expenses of the band. No obligations are incurred unless we see the same can be paid out of the immediate receipts. This has necessitated the purchase of some of the cheaper instruments. Good instruments and a presentable uniform makes a good band, and a good band is a credit and an inspiration to our town and the unselfish motive of the boys should appeal strongly to every loyal citizen in Orange City. The band has averaged about two rehearsals per week, and this entails much hardship and time. Those who may think too much time is given to band purposes, please compare our work with that of any other non-professional band you know, and I venture to say you will admit, this has not been in vain and that you are proud of every success we deserve. We will be pleased to see you at the next concert, Friday evening, Jan. 31st, and thus lend  your inspiration to a good cause, and at the same time aid in the better equipment of the band for future work.   

F. J. Long 

Self-promotion and civic booster-ism was an important part of band activity in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Orange City is in the NW corner of the state and was originally called Holland and later changed it's name to honor the Dutch royal family. Since this photo was taken only 30 some years after the founding of the town, these bandsmen would likely be of Dutch decent. But with so many immigrants moving to the Midwest at this time, it's also possible that Adolf moved here from Sweden, too.

No comments:


  © Blogger template Shush by 2009

Back to TOP