The History of the Freistadt Alte Kameraden Band

What I enjoy the most about German Girl in America is meeting new people and learning about all the ways they maintain their German Heritage here in America. Dale Blank has been sharing wonderful information about a great band he plays with,  the Freistadt Alte Kamaraden. Since 1942 the band performed for festivals and events both here in the US, and in Germany. While they wear Lederhosen and play Blaskapelle to show off their heritage, they proudly play patriotic American tunes to honor their “Victory Band” roots.

In 2022, the Freistadt Alte Kameraden Celebrated their 80TH Anniversary!!

The Freistadt Alte Kameraden Band

-written by Dale Blank

The Freistadt Alte Kameraden Band began entertaining audiences in 1942. The local 4H club offered several young men an opportunity to play at a talent show and soon the “Victory Band” was formed.  The group cherishes its German heritage, but they also wanted everyone to know that the tiny community of Freistadt was filled with patriotic Americans.  Many, if not all, proudly traced their immigration to America to 1839 when the small Wisconsin (USA) community was formed.

In 1966, the band had been playing for weddings and other local events for years. Then in 1966, a friend of the band suggested that Lederhosen become the standard uniform of the band.  They got their name from Carl Teike’s “Alte Kameraden March”, the band’s most requested tune in seven decades of performing.

Tradition surrounds the band, from events played to the band membership. The band has played some events for many years, some approaching the fifty-year mark! The membership still includes original members as well as children, grandchildren, uncles, nephews and cousins of original members. Members of the band that aren’t related are certainly rare, but becoming a member of band itself makes you a member of a family! The music, fellowship, and gemütlichkeit quickly draw everyone in together.

Over the year, the “AK” as it’s known by its followers, recorded more than 15 albums, performed for sitting American presidents and German chancellors, and even played at the Munich Oktoberfest. You may have seen them in television documentaries both in America and Germany, and more recently, featured in a Wisconsin Tourism Commercial. And they’ve proudly made 7 musical tours in Germany with fans and families.

Alte Kameraden has entertained audiences around the globe with traditional German marches and polkas, top Oktoberfest songs and still includes the American patriotic melodies that were played by the “Victory Band”.  Each member of the band is passionate about carrying forward the traditions and history of “The Freistadt Alte Kameraden Band,” for as long as audiences gather to listen!

German Fest Milwaukee is from July 26th- 28th, 2024
Time to get ready!

Special Price of $8.20 on their CDs for their 82nd Anniversary!

through July 28,2024

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Representing Wisconsin!

The Freistadt Alte Kameraden were featured in a recent Wisconsin Tourism Commercial!

German Fest Milwaukee

I got to be a Band Groupie at German Fest 2016 and 2018… they really are a great bunch of guys!

Glorious Generosity

At German Fest Milwaukee, the Alte Kameraden play a song called “Gloria”. The trumpets go out into the audience and play ON THE TABLES (my mother would be shocked), and people stuff money into their socks (think Chippendale’s, but with Lederhosen, and less skin). The money they collect all goes to kids. Read more about that here–> Glorious Generosity!

Want to find out more about the Alte Kameraden?

Check out their website…

For a List of their Upcoming Performances!

5 thoughts on “The History of the Freistadt Alte Kameraden Band

  1. A must see in SE Wisconsin during Oktoberfest Season!

  2. I’d be curious to know whether any of the members of this band were questioned or harassed by the US Secret Service and/or FBI during the ’42 – ’45 time frame. My paternal grandfather who was himself a 2nd generation German/American then, found the FBI on his doorstep questioning him over his membership in a German Catholic men’s singing society, and asking if he was a member of the pro-Nazi American Bund..

    He told the federal agents that he had 3 sons who were off overseas fighting in the US Armed forces, that he was personal friends with the local Congressman and that if they didn’t get off his doorstep in 2 minutes, that he would call the Congressman at his home phone number.

    They left with their tails between their legs.

    1. I don’t think there was any problem with that. Although the band started in 1942, they didn’t incorporate lederhosen or use the name “Alte Kameraden” until 1966. Up until then they were 4H kids playing as “The Victory Band”

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