The purpose of the Neenah Community Band is to provide the opportunity for adult volunteer musicians to contribute their musical talents in performing a variety of music which serves the community at large and to enjoy the rewards of playing music with others.
Join the Neenah Community Band
The band accepts all different skill levels. You must be at least fifteen years old to join. Rehearsals are held at Horace Mann Middle School on Tuesday evenings at 7:00 PM. If you would like to join, please attend a rehearsal!
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History of the Neenah Community Band
It was May 3, 1964. The event was the “Ham ‘n Eggs” Vaudeville Show sponsored by the Neenah High School Music Parents to raise money in support of a trip to Canada for the Neenah High School Band. The last act of the show was a band consisting of Neenah High School Band Alumni who had been assembled for this event. The director was Les Mais, Neenah’s first High School Band Director. After it was over, the band members wanted to keep the band going.
This led to talks among some of the musicians, notably John Nickolas and Al Schulze, along with Bill Miller and Jim Hrubecky of the Neenah Parks and Recreation Department. From these talks emerged the idea of the department sponsoring a community band as a civic enterprise and a form of adult recreation. By the end of 1965, the idea had been accepted by the City Council, a budget was established, and the band was on its way.
Al Schulze directed the band from the first rehearsal with 18 musicians on January 18, 1966 until he retired in the Fall of 1987. Since then the band directors have been Gene Bahlman, Roger Larson, Jeff Riedl, Germaine Dolata, Jerry Koleske, Robert Kramer, Kevin Peters, Martin O’Donnell, and the present director – Jacob Martin.
The first concert was played on Memorial Day 1966 in Riverside Park with 40 plus musicians and 500 people in the audience. The second concert was played on Tuesday, June 28, 1966, at Riverside Park from 7:00PM until “it was too dark to see the music”. Since then, the band has played regularly scheduled concerts in the park during the summer. Every summer since 1967, the band has played a concert at the Veterans’ Home in King. The band plays a spring and winter concert at Pickard Auditorium.
Besides the many concerts played in Wisconsin, the band has made three European trips one to Romania and Austria, one to Greece and Yugoslavia, and one to Poland and Czechoslovakia.
The musicians are all volunteers. No auditions are necessary for membership, just the desire to make music. Except for an occasional break of a week or two, the band continues its rehearsals and concerts throughout the year.
Proceeds from concerts in the form of donations are used for scholarships awarded to high school band students attending summer music clinics, and the Neenah Community Band’s “Honor Band Award” given each year to the outstanding graduating Neenah High School Senior Bandsman.
A Board of Directors, made up of elected band members, with assistance from the Director of Parks & Recreation conduct the band’s administration.