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Philadelphia German Brass Band

Die Philadelphia Deutsche Blaskapelle

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History
 

The original Philadelphia German Brass Band - photo circa 1935
 
It all started in 1935...
 
Founded in 1935 by a German immigrant named Fritz Sauter, the Philadelphia German Brass Band has performed continuously for over 75 years. In the early days Sauter and other German immigrants met informally at private homes and German social organizations to play the songs that they remembered growing up in Germany.  A tradition began that continues today.  We are proud to be the oldest continually performing German band in the Philadelphia region and amongst the most venerable of such ensembles in the United States.
 
 
Fritz Sauter's Band in the 1950's and 60's
 
When Fritz Sauter retired, the band's leadership was passed on to Alois Haidl, a native of Passau in Bavaria.  Haidl expanded and the size of the band and infused a fresh repertoire to cater to the tastes of a new generation of Germans that arrived in America during the 1950's and '60's.  The enhanced, more contemporary repertoire included popular dance numbers and American tunes reflective of the times.  Alois Haidl retired in the mid 1990's after which the band was actually close to folding.  Thanks to the tireless energies of Len Forlenza the band stayed together and began booking more high profile performance engagements.
 
   
 Under the leadership of Alois Haidl in the 1970's and 80's
 
...and is going strong today...
 
The band performs for appreciative audiences in the greater Philadelphia region and beyond, providing a staple of authentic German brass band music for public and private Oktoberfests, festivals and ethnic events.  The ensemble's singluar authenticity is increasingly sought after along the East Coast from Connecticut to Virginia.  In recent years, large audiences have enjoyed the group's music at the oldest annual Volksfest at the Cannstatter Club in Philadelphia, PA; at New Jersey's Garden State Arts Center as well as Action Park, Bethany Beach, Delaware; Mount Vermon, New Jersey; Hunter Mountain in New York and the U.S. Army Base at Fort Belvoir, Virginia.  A wider public was reached through a live radio and cable television broadcast from WFMZ in Allentown, PA. 
 
Branching beyond the typical ethnic sound, the band's expansive repertoire includes many traditional and original arrangements which contribute tastefully to diverse venues ranging from formal gala concerts at the Robin Hood Dell in Philadelphia's beautiful Fairmount Park and liturgical services at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul in historic downtown Philadelphia to playing for a rodeo at the famous Devon Horse Show Complex. 
 

 
...with a commitment to continue for years to come!
 
The band is currently under the musical leadership of Peter Wilhelm Palan, it is managed by Peter Jauss and continues to flourish through the significant contributions of many.  Members Charlie Evans, Bill Moore and Bill Trimble arrange many of our new original arrangements, writing specifically with a keen ear to the ensemble's strengths and unique instrumentation.  Our historic library dates back to the mid 19th century and is expertly cared for by Bob Bugge.  For many years, Charles Thompson has been a diligent and detail-oriented sound and recording specialist.
 
As a reflection of the German immigrant's swift assimilation into mainstream American culture, the last two decades have seen more native-born Americans in the band.  We are proud to keep the tradition alive that began 75 years ago and endeavor to uphold this for many years to come.
 
Photos
 

 
With 75 years of history to reflect back on there are many photos to share.  See some of our favorites! 
 
Engagements
 

 
The Philadelphia German Brass Band performs along the U.S. East Coast.  Interested to see a live performance?