Fifty years ago, a group of musicians banded together to form the Deutschmeister Brass Band of Saint Louis. These early band members were mostly European immigrants who missed the music they had so enjoyed in their homeland. Little did they know that they were creating on organization that would withstand the test of time and expose thousands to the musical tradition they so loved.
As a subgroup of the German Cultural Society, the Band is dedicated to preserving the musical traditions of the German and Middle European cultures. Although structured after the European military bands of the late 1800’s, the Band’s orchestration allows it to play many different styles of music from classical to pop. The nearly 600 compositions in the Band library vary from classical German to traditional American. It is this unique blend of styles that attracts the broad, enthusiastic audience the Band has enjoyed over the years.
The Deutschmeister’s first performances were sponsored by the German Cultural Society, formerly the American Aid Society. The Band still plays for many of these events such as the Kirchweihfest, the Easter Concert, and the German School Christmas Party. In 1965, the Band hosted the first Maifest in Columbia, Illinois. The Maifest still continues as an annual event sponsored by the German Cultural Society.
As the popularity of the Band spread, so did the locations and types of performances. The Deutschmeister became repeat performers for many local German and non-German sponsored events and has evolved into a prominent part of the German music scene in Saint Louis. The Band has traveled to many US cities showing that a strong German cultural tradition is alive and well in Saint Louis.
In 1975, a long held dream for the Band came true. The Deutschmeister completed its first recording, Gemütlichkeit. Filled with marches and polkas, the Band’s early character showed through. The second recording, Strassenfest in Saint Louis, featured vocals and those selections most requested at the infamous St. Louis street festival. The latest recording, Frühlingsträume, shows the Band’s great variety of musical styles; the album was recorded in the open expanse of Christ Church Cathedral in St. Louis to naturally enhance the full sound of the Brass Band. Each album cover features the Band in a prominent St. Louis location.
Throughout the years, the membership of the Deutschmeister Brass Band has always consisted of dedicated, volunteer musicians who encompass all age groups and many ethnic origins. The Band consists of second, third and fourth generation members, some of whom were nurtured into musicianship through the Deutschmeister’s youth band, the Jugendkapelle.
The Deutschmeister Brass Band has remained popular over these fifty years for two reasons: its musicians’ love of Blasmusik and strong support from its followers. Without your loyal support, the Band could not exist. The Deutschmeister wishes to thank all the musicians, present and past, and those all of you enthusiasts that have shown so much support over these past fifty years.