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
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A German Boys Band

02 March 2010

This is another photo postcard that is postmarked 30 August 1912. On the back, the sender wrote in German and in pencil with a very florid script, so it is very difficult to decipher. There may be clues here but I'll need expert help with the handwriting. But the photograph is clear and shows a German version of the typical 19th century boys band.

This one has two horns along with the other brass who are using the European style rotary valve instruments instead of the piston valve kind that were produced in America at this time. Note the background of the plaster and timber framed house.

The prominent logos on the bass drum and on the flags on the herald bugles looked like possible clues as to the location of this band. I've found several websites that are devoted to cataloging the many coats-of-arms of Europe. And by many, I mean thousands. It was easy to determine that the drum and flag have the eagle of the German Reich of 1912 along with the tri-color flag.  But the drum has a Kreiswappen or District Arms that is different from the flag. It is not completely clear but distinctive enough to eliminate several hundred choices. The similarity to one city led me to recognize that the writer had included a place in dating the card. Roßlau or Rosslau, which is on the river Elbe in the district Saxony-Anhalt. It was the curious German double S character - ß - that I had missed. The postmark, though obscure, also confirmed it too.

So I think Rosslau is the location, but is this a school band or an orphans band? Still more questions. How many survived the war that will come in August of 1914?

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