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In 1843, five hundred Prussian immigrants settled in Bergholz, near Niagara Falls, New York, bringing with them the traditional musical heritage which their descendants have maintained.

The present Blaskapelle (Brass Band) formed in 1971, maintains the best of the old German Folk Tradition, with Colorful uniforms and oom-pah music, and also features more contemporary German arrangements which the Band brought back from tours in Europe. The full wind ensemble produces a solid, harmonious sound; the happy carefree musical expression of “Gemutlichkeit.” Originally made up of fourth and fifth generation German settlers, the band now draws outstanding musicians from throughout the Niagara region.

The Band has toured Europe on four occasions, visiting Germany, Austria, Switzerland and The Netherlands. In Munich, the Band played in the famous Hofbrauhaus, and in the Lowenbrau tent at the world famous Munich Oktoberfest. The Band has performed for many years in Ontario, Canada at Oktoberfests in Kitchener and Bobcaygeon, and at the Folk Arts Festival in St. Catherines.

One of the most memorable events in the U.S. was in Orlando, Florida area where the Band performed at Church Street Station, participated in the Disney World parade and played at the German pavillion at Epcot Center. The Band was given an award at Church Street Station for participation in an MS fundraiser for five consecutive years. Elsewhere in the U.S., the Band has attended Oktoberfests at San Diego’s Balboa Park, Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Virginia; Frankenmuth, Michigan; Cleveland, Ohio; and Honolulu, Hawaii.

The Band has appeared all over New York State, including the Steuben Parade in New York City, and Oktoberfests in Rochester, Syracuse, Utica, and at Hunter Mountain in the Catskills. Locally, the Band performs at area parks, Oktoberfests sponsored by various organizations, and on a volunteer basis at nursing homes. Summertime brings its share of parades.

The Blaskapelle is an amateur organization. Members play for the love of music, the camaraderie, and the spirit of “Gemutlichkeit” experienced at the various events around the country and in Europe which they have been privileged to attend.

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