On-Line Edition Thursday, July 12, 2018 Vol. 60 No. 28
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It’s time for Germanfest!
Members of Lombard’s Sacred Heart Church Germanfest Committee are pictured inviting everyone to its 51st annual Germanfest which will run next week from Thursday, July 19, through Sunday, July 22, in the parking lot of the church (corner of Parkside and Elizabeth). The popular event offers something for all ages and features authentic German-style food every day, rides, live music, games, bingo, a casino, raffle prizes, a $5,000 grand prize drawing and more with free admission. For more information, call 630-627-0687 or visit www.sacredheartgermanfest.com. Photo by Steve Spoden
***** Out & About by Jane Charmelo *****
Reenactment includes Civil War-era band
The Lombard Historical Society is hosting its eighth annual Civil War Reenactment Saturday and Sunday, July 28-29, and while people notice the soldiers—the skirmishes, cannon fire, drills and demonstrations—another "outfit" is conducting its own form of homage to the time period. The Watertown, Wis.-based 1st Brigade Band is returning for the second time to "make history alive," whereby the musicians not only dress the part but play authentic instruments from the era. The band's roots actually do go back to the 1800s—1857 to be exact, when it was known as the Brodhead (Wisconsin) Brass Band, according to an account of the band's history, which also relates that the group was known as a "brass" band because the E-flat brass cornet played the melody. The band held concerts that coincided with many events, from temperance rallies and fish fries to husking bees and saloon openings and closings, to name a few. Doug Condon, managing director of the 1st Brigade Band and brass musician himself, said band members enlisted in the Union Army in 1864, as part of the 1st Brigade, 3rd Division, 15th Army Corps, serving under General William Sherman in northern Georgia and the Carolinas. He said they went to war three times and "the group never fired a shot." "What kept them together was friendship," added the director. Condon mentioned that the band performed at the Lincoln-Douglas debate in Freeport, Ill., and in fact, "Lincoln heard one of the horns that we have." That's what likely sets the band apart from others that play Civil War-era music—the musicians use authentic period instruments. Around the turn of the century, the band faded away into history—until a Wisconsin collector of musical instruments helped bring it back to life. Condon narrated that a man named Fred Benkovic, who passed away in 2009, was "a collector of old instruments from that [Civil War] time period," adding that he revived the band in 1964. Old instruments were repaired and restored. "We don't play any replicas," the director said, adding with a chuckle, "We're a traveling museum." The exception, he said, is drums because of their delicacy; in the collection there are even a Revolutionary War drum and another from the War of 1812 era. Among the instruments are over-the-shoulder horns, circular instruments, cornets, an E-flat bass Schreiber teardrop horn, an upright alto from the Brodhead Brass Band and a B-flat bass from the original 1st Brigade Band, Civil War-era snare drums, a few ophicleides (a slender, tuba-like instrument), a quinticlave (similar to a bugle with keys) and a keyed bugle, according to the band's website. The music itself is also authentic. With more than 300 completed selections, the band "concentrates on music not played and recorded by other organizations," according to the website. Similarly, the website emphasizes, the band strives to revive music from the 1st Brigade Band, that was discovered in 1980. Lombard Historical Society Executive Director Sarah Richardt said she learned of the band through people in the reenactment community, and invited the musicians to last year's reenactment. "They're a hugely capable band," she praised, adding, "They take special care to know their craft...and, they sound good." The band has "added more of a historic element" to the reenactment concept, she continued, noting that at the costume ball, they have callers "who know every dance and how to do them." Richardt quipped that last year, "Dancing with Abraham Lincoln was a blast." The reenactment will take place at Four Seasons Park from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days. The family-friendly weekend includes Union and Confederate skirmishes (11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. both days) portrayed by Stanford's Battery reenactors, who will set up a living history encampment. There will be military drills and demonstrations, cannon fire, music from the era and interactive camp activities for all ages. On both days, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., there will be food for purchase from Miller's Ale House and Sadie's Roasted Corn, and vendors will be selling Civil War-themed souvenirs. A donation of $5 per person is suggested, to benefit the historical society. The Civil War Ball—feel free to wear a period costume—will start at 7 p.m. Saturday, July 28, at Glenn Westlake Middle School, 1514 S. Main St., Lombard. There will be lemonade and vintage recipe cookies. A donation of $5 per person is suggested, to benefit the historical society. Volunteers—such as staffing the gift shop and information kiosk, or serving as a roving costumed interpreter—are needed and are asked to sign up and attend a training session on Saturday, July 14, at 9 a.m. at the Carriage House, 23 W. Maple St., Lombard. For more information, call 630-629-1885 or visit www.lombardhistory.org. To learn more about the 1st Brigade Band, which is an affiliate of the Wisconsin Historical Society and is supported and sponsored by the Heritage Military Music Foundation Inc., visit www.1stbrigadeband.org.