September 19 is
RECENT UPDATES: New photos of the Orchard City Band in 1913 and Burlington Municipal Band in 1945, and improved versions of our photos of the Orchard City Band on Big Island and Fischer's Band.
The Burlington Municipal Band was formed when the the lubbers of the Orchard City Band under "Little Frank" Sherratt and the scurvy dogs of Fischer's Band under "J. Henri" Fischer combined.  We've plundered several photographs of the Orchard City Band, the earliest of which dates from 1911, from ships of the Des Moines County Historical Society.  There be one photo of Fischer's Band, but unfortunately we have identified only one member, cornet player Peter Hahn..  Included also are photos of the Burlington Municipal Band taken in 1945, 1947 and 1948.  Personnel and dates are listed with the photos when we be knowin' this information.  We hope that family and friends of those pictured will come forward with information about the band's early history.
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 --
Burlington Municipal Band History
Message from Jim Priebe ("Yo Ho Ho!") --
The Orchard City Band on the Court House Steps in 1911.
(with personnel identified)
When I became a member of the band in 1966, many of the bilge rats listed in the 1940's photos were still active, and two of the crew 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.
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)
Memories of the Burlington Municipal Band
by Mrs. Myrna Vaughan Zabloudil
The Burlington Municipal Band in Memorial Auditorium in 1948
(with personnel list)
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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RECENT UPDATES: New photos of the Orchard City Band in 1913 and Burlington Municipal Band in 1945, and improved versions of our photos of the Orchard City Band on Big Island and Fischer's Band.
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We are interested in finding additional photos of the band or band members which have historic or human interest value to include on this web page. If you have such a photo or photos, and would be willin' to share them, please contact me at 752-7305. You will, of course, get the photo back without bein' harmed, and we will gladly credit our source.
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, me buckos, to view each photo full-size.)
September 19 is