Plymouth Junge Kameraden Band- An American High School Band Playing German Music!


“So ein Tag, so wunderschön wie Heute“… when I heard those words sung, I immediately flashed back to my childhood. My mother playing this on her record player… my Oma’s radio… singing in German school. But the source was unexpected; the singer was a beautiful High School girl, standing in front of the Plymouth Junge Kameraden Band, the first (and I was told, the only) German high school Blaskapelle in the United States. The audience was entranced by the music. Then a man behind me said… it’s so beautiful, I wish I knew what she was saying.

So I translated…

So ein Tag, so wunderschön wie Heute  – such a day, as wonderful as today
So ein Tag, der dürfte nie vergehn    – such a day should never end
So ein Tag, auf den man sich so freute,  – such a day that we enjoyed so much
Und wer weiß, wann wir uns wiedersehn  – and who knows, when we will meet again

It was the perfect song for this very moment.

Plymouth Junge Kameraden Band

junge Kameraden BandOne of the things that struck me the most at Germanfest Milwaukee, was how young people are carrying on German culture. They aren’t just eating Rotkohl, or celebrating Christmas on the 24th, they are keeping the music alive. In a world of unlimited hip hop and rock downloads, the Junge Kameraden are putting on their Dirndls and Lederhosen to perform the folk classics that their grandparents grew up with.

And the best part… they love doing it!

The Plymouth Junge Kameraden has been a fixture at Plymouth High school in Wisconsin for 35 years. In all that time they’ve only had 2 Band directors, Ernest Broeniman and the current director Jason Sebranek. It’s the director’s devotion to the band that seems to keep the kids motivated. Imagine, Plymouth High School only has about 750 students, yet they have multiple bands… including the Junge Kameraden! How do you convince modern American kids to put on German Tracht and play old German songs? It’s a labor of love… for the directors and the kids.

When the band was formed, Ernest couldn’t even GET the music he needed here in the United States. In those pre-internet days, sheet music for a German Blaskapelle wasn’t’ something that you would find in your average music shop… and no one even knew how to order it. Then on a trip to Germany he found stacks of music sheets for the band in a German Store. With suitcases full, he returned to Wisconsin, started the Junge Kameraden Band, and got the kids playing.

The Blaskapelle plays fun standards like “In München steht Ein Hofbrauhaus”, they even do “Ein Prosit” ( I presume that the kids prost with root beer)… but then they surprise you with a hauntingly beautiful rendition of “Das Echo vom Königsee” (“the Echo from Konigsee”).


And how do the kids feel? We had a chance to speak with some of the band members after their performance. They are all quite proud of what they’ve achieved. This music, these songs, in a sense they are a gift to their Omas and Opas. It’s a connection to a culture that they’ve grown up with, even if they’ve never actually been to Germany. (In fact, one of the things that really struck me at Germanfest was how FEW people have ever been to Germany, and that even fewer speak any German at all.) But that doesn’t really matter… what matters is that the music carries on.

junge Kameraden Band

So ein Tag, so wunderschön wie Heute
So ein Tag, der dürfte nie vergehn


junge Kameraden band

When you hear music like this, you don’t want it to ever end. Thanks to the Plymouth Junge Kameraden for helping to keep German Music and Culture strong in America.


German high school Blaskapelle in the United States


5 thoughts on “Plymouth Junge Kameraden Band- An American High School Band Playing German Music!

  1. What a “Ohrenschmaus” this must be a very healthy community where young people enjoy playing the music of their ancestors. Two World Wars have done irrepairable damages to German Cultur in the USA and Canada. I am touched when I see here and there revivels of German culture. Carry on kids you are appreciated.
    Henry Keitel, Canada

    1. Isn’t it great! These kids really LOVE what they are doing!

  2. I’m so proud to have been a part of this unique group for three years. It truly is one of my favorite parts of high school, and German Fest was always a highlight of the year. I played euphonium, one of the very traditional German horns, and it was so cool to go to venues like this and have people asking to pose for pictures with my friends and me in our uniforms. We all loved what we were doing, and there were students without any German ancestry enthusiastic about the group too! It’s so cool to hear from people outside of the community who love to hear our music as much as we love making it. The music program really does owe a lot to Jason Sebranek. He is a brilliant musician and dedicated instructor and provides his students with so many amazing opportunities. I have graduated but I still carry a deep love for music, nurtured by Mr. Sebranek, and am studying composition at St. Olaf College in Minnesota, where there is a significant lack of lederhosen but an abundance of lutefisk. No matter where I go, though, I will always be thankful that Plymouth High School supported such a cool opportunity as the Junge Kameraden.

    1. I loved meeting the Plymouth Kameraden… such a great group of kids. HOw lucky that you were part of it!

  3. I was in this band for four years. Loved every minute. Jason is a great band director and one of the bigger influences i have had in life. Being in “german band,” as we called it then, is something i still brag about to this day as a man in his 30’s. That band brought me to so many fun events all around Wisconsin and I am forever grateful for it.

    I played the flugelhorn in the band as I played french horn in their concert band. Have been wanting to start a german band on my own since. Less traditional though. More along the lines of the emeralds.

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