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 loads of wonderful information about a great band he plays with, the Freistadt Alte Kamaraden. Since 1942 the band has been performing 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 also proudly play patriotic American tunes to honor their “Victory Band” roots.
The Freistadt Alte Kameraden Band
-written by Dale Blank, and published here with his permission
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, while cherishing its German heritage, 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.
The band played for weddings and other local events until 1966 when a friend of the band suggested that Lederhosen become the standard uniform of the band. The name change occurred as a result of playing Carl Teike’s “Alte Kameraden March” and that tune became one of the most requested in the bands 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 draws everyone in together.
The “AK” as it’s known by its followers has recorded more than 15 albums, performed for sitting American presidents, German chancellors and at the Munich Oktoberfest. It has been featured in television documentaries, both in America and Germany and has led more than 7 tours to 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 continuing the traditions and history of “The Freistadt Alte Kameraden Band” for as long as audiences gather to listen!
The Freistadt Alte Kameraden were featured in a recent Wisconsin Tourism Commercial!
I got to be a Band Groupie at Germanfest 2016 and 2018… they really are a great bunch of guys!
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… http://www.altekameraden.com/
For a List of their Upcoming Performances!