A Report on the IGEB Conference/ Vintage Band Festival

 by Raul Camus

The International Wind Music History Conference sponsored by the Historic Brass Society and the International Society for the Investigation and Promotion of Wind Music (IGEB) and hosted by Paul Niemisto of St. Olaf College was held from July 27 to 31, 2006. The conference gave scholars from Europe and America a chance to present new research, discuss matters of general interest, make new friends, and share experiences of importance to those working in the areas of band and wind music research.

Some indication of the importance of this joint conference may be seen from the great variety of papers given, and the wide geographical representation of the attendees: Christine Beard (NE) “19th Century Piccolo repertoire,” Helmut Brenner (Austria) “Theoretical Remarks on the Roots of Modern Concert Marimbas,” Jeremy S. Brown (Alberta, CA) “Serge Garant (Canada) pour le Saxophone,” Ray Burkhart (CA) “Brass Chamber Music in Circuit Chautauqua, 1904 to c1930,” Raoul Camus (NY) “An American Militia Band in the 19th Century: New York’s 7th Regiment Band,” Stewart Carter (NC) “A manuscript trumpet treatise, c1795, now in the Biblioteca Estense in Modena,” Richard Scott Cohen (MI) “The ‘Cobla’ Band of Catalunya, Spain,” Joseph Darby (NH) “Handel’s Wind Choirs as Sign and Substance,” James Davis (NY) “‘Home, Sweet Home’: Civil War Bands and the Military Community,” Evan Feldman (VA) “Dvorak’s relationship with the Spillville, Iowa concert band,” Bruce Gleason (MN) “Mounted Band of the Chicago Black Horse Troop of the 1930s,” Bernhard Habla (Austria) “Music and Identity, with a specific look to wind music and wind instruments," David Hebert (New Zealand) “New Zealand Brass bands,” Janet Heukeshoven (MN) “Sedlak’s Harmoniemusik,” Bradley Norman Kent (TX) “Paul Hindemith’s Konzertmusik für Blasorchester, op.41,” Keith Kinder (Canada) “Healey Willan: A Canadianized British Composer,” Sabine K. Klaus (NC) “The Brass Musical Instrument Makers Kaiser & Kohler in Cincinnati, Ohio,” Christopher Knighten (NC) “From the Stadtpfeifer tradition to Gettysburg,” Nola Reed Knouse (PA) “Music of the 26th North Carolina Regimental Band, CSA,” Elisa Koehler (MD) “Banda Minichini: An Italian Band in America,” Kari Laitinen (Finland) “European music comes to Finland via bands,” Tim Maloney (MN) “Parody and Pastiche: The Wind Music of Lothar Klein,” Jon C. Mitchell (MA) “Pan’s Anniversary: The English Folk Song Revival,” Myron Moss (CT) “Cultural Identification in Band Music by African American Composers,” Paul Niemisto (MN) “Early brass instruments of I. F. Anderst found in Finland,” AnnMarie Nilsson (Uppsala, Sweden) “What is Swedish about a Swedish Wind Octet?,” Catherine Parsonage (Leeds, England) “Dixieland Winds in Europe,” Francis Pieters (Belgium) “Desiré Dondeyne, Pioneer of French Wind Band Music,” Jo Ann Polley (MN) “The Legacy of Miles ‘Mity’ Johnson,” David Reynolds (SD) “Butte Montana Miners Band,” La Vern Rippley (MN) “German Immigrant Wind Bands: Genesis of the Southern Minnesota Polka Band,” Ronald Rodman (MN) “Wind Symphonies of James Robert Gillette, a Minnesota Composer,” Mikolaj Rykowski (Posnan, Poland) “Moravian and Czech Harmoniemusik in Hapsburg Austria,” Damien Sagrillo (Luxembourg) “Harmonie, Fanfare and Brass Band Orchestras in Luxembourg,” and Clark Wolf (IA) “Aesthetics of Historical Performance.” There was also a panel discussion on “Wind Music Traditions in Russia” led by Anatoly Dudin and Zinaida Kartasheva (Russia).

IGEB’s prestigious Fritz Thelen Prize, named in honor of a co-founder of IGEB and awarded periodically to the author of an outstanding dissertation in band music research, was presented to Myron D. Moss for his dissertation on “Concert Band Music by African-American Composers: 1927–1998" (Ph.D., University of Michigan, 2000). Manfred Franz Heidler was awarded Honorary Mention for his dissertation “Musik in der Bundeswehr: Musikalische Bewährung zwischen Aufgabe und künstlerischem Anspruch” (Ph.D., Heinrich Heine University, 2005). Other submissions for consideration for the Thelen Prize included excellent dissertations by Patrick M. Jones “A History of the Armed Forces School of Music” (Ph.D, University Park, PA, 2002), Paul Niemisto “The Finnish Immigrant Brass Bands on Minnesota’s Iron Range” (Ph.D, University of Minnesota, 2004), Alan D. Wagner “The Life and Works of Warren Benson” (Ph.D., Florida State University, 2000), Patrick Warfield “‘Salesman of Americanism, Globetrotter, and Musician’: The Nineteenth-Century John Philip Sousa, 1854-1893” (Ed.D, University of Illinois, 2004) and Scott Weiss “A History of the United States Army Band‚ ‘Pershing’s Own’, 1945-2000" (Ph.D, Indiana University, 2003).

One cannot thank Dr. Niemisto and his staff, especially Noelle Pierce, sufficiently for their excellent work in making this joint conference and band festival such an outstanding success!

IGEB’s next meeting will be in the Bavarian Woods, Germany, and, as can be seen from the above report, it should be an event not to be missed!

A Vintage Band Festival was held in conjunction with the IGEB conference. The festival featured bands, many in nineteenth-century dress, performing more than forty free concerts throughout the community. Among the Minnesota ensembles performing were the Ameriikan Poijat Finnish Brass Band, the Carlisle Town Band, the Chatfield Brass Band, the Faribault Bandshell Brass Band, the Lake Wobegon Brass Band, the New Ulm Original German Band, and the Sheldon Theatre Brass Band. Other organizations included the Brassworks Band from San Francisco, the Chestnut Brass Company from Philadelphia, the Dodworth Saxhorn Band from Michigan, Newberry's Victorian Cornet Band from Pennsylvania, and Passion des Cuivres, an outstanding early music ensemble from Berlin. One special event was a “battle of the bands” between two reconstituted Civil War bands, with the Confederate 26th North Carolina Regimental Band in grey uniforms on the east bank of the Cannon River, and the Union 1st Wisconsin Band in civilian dress on the west bank. The bands alternated popular songs from the Civil War in a delightful re-enactment of similar battles known to have occurred during the conflict, but, in a true spirit of harmony and amity, joined forces in the center of the bridge connecting the two banks for a beautiful rendition of “Home, Sweet Home.”