(Following was written by the Old Dam Community Band’s founder, Dan Schultz, as he describes the band’s first year.
The First Year - 2000
The 'Old Dam Community Band' was founded on February 29, 2000 by four people: Dan and Terri Schultz, who posted advertising on radio station 88.3 and had flyers placed in store windows of several Newburgh merchants, Larry May, and Tunis McElwain. We didn't play at that first meeting but decided to spread the word and return the following Tuesday.
On the following Tuesday, March 7th, five persons attended... Larry May, Tunis McElwain, Jeff Westfall, who heard an announcement on the radio, Terri and myself. I had invited Michelle Brutlag of the Evansville Courier and she came to do a feature article about the effort to organize the band. She also brought a photographer. After about a half hour of talk, the four of us, myself, Larry May, Tunis McElwain, and Jeff Westfall, floundered through some Dixieland music while Michelle interviewed Terri. It didn't sound too bad considering we had not played together before.
Michelle did a wonderful article that appeared in the Courier on March 13... complete with pictures.
At the next meeting on March 14th, we had seventeen players, some of whom had not had their instruments out in over 30 years. Jeff Westfall assumed the role of conductor and we played for over two hours.
We have been meeting every Tuesday evening from 7 to 9. At the session on April 18th, we voted in the name of the band to be 'The Old Dam Community Band'. Jeff Westfall has been working very hard putting together music.
May 2, 2000 - We have been rehearsing between 18 and 32 people in the Old Lock & Dam Building but this evening, because of local elections, we had to move the rehearsal to the Jaycee’s clubhouse up on the hill across from the Lock & Dam Building. We set up 20 people in the living room of the house and put the percussion guys (Ray Smith and Dave King) on the porch. The porch light provided light for the drummers until the motion sensor timed out. The guys had to wave around to make the light come back on!
May 20, 2000 - Our first concert at 3 pm in the afternoon (Saturday) for Historic Newburgh's Garden Tour. A good time was had by all. John Wittenbraker's horn broke before he could play the first note.
May 26, 2000 - Began rehearsals for the Water Street Brass Band, comprised of members of the Old Dam Community Band. The Water Street Brass Band usually has from 6 to 16 players and does primarily German polkas, waltzes, and military marches.
May 27, 2000 - The Old Dam Community Band played at 11am for the Rose Hill Cemetery Memorial Day Service.
June 1, 2000 - Eight of us rehearsed with the Warrick County Community Band. Only 18 people attended their first rehearsal. The Warrick County Community Band, led by John Wittenbraker and Larry Eifler, has been around for about ten years and comes together once a year to do two rehearsals and three concerts. Their season only lasts for two weeks so the Old Dam Community Band decided that since this is our first year in operation, we should play with them during their schedule and resume our rehearsals afterwards.
June 6, 2000 - Our regular rehearsal is cancelled so we could rehearse with the Warrick County Community Band. Eight out of seventeen at the 1st rehearsal were connected to the Old Dam Community Band.
June 8, 2000 - Warrick County Community Band concert in Chandler. About ten of our members participated.
June 9, 2000 - The first public performance of the Water Street Brass Band is held during the Jaycees Summerfest in the Lock & Dam Park Gazebo. I invited Dan Keifer to play trumpet in Larry May's absence and he brought most of the Rhine Valley Brass Band (Germania Maennerchor) with him. We had six clarinets; Tom Rusche, Frank Book, Tina Wedding, Dave Emery, and two gals from the Rhine Brass: three trumpets; Dan Kiefer, Jim Sermersheim, John Patton: two trombones; Mel Stowers, Wayne Jones: one euphonium; Jeff Westfall: a drummer; Dave King: and two tubas; Bill Haas and Dan Schultz..
June 13, 2000 - Our regular rehearsal is cancelled so we could help the Warrick County Community Band do a concert in Boonville.
June 15, 2000 - Warrick County Community Band concert in Newburgh.
June 20th - Our regular rehearsals resume.
June 24th - The Water Street Brass Band performs at the Evansville Municipal Market from 11am to 1pm.
June 27th - Probably our best rehearsal yet! There were 25 members present. We've had more present, like back on April 18th when we had 32, but the sound was really terrific and everyone had a great time. July 1st - The Old Dam Community Band helped Camp Brosend with their first annual 4th of July family celebration by putting on a program of patriotic music at 6pm. Representative Hostetler spoke during our intermission. Saint John's provided 1,200 pounds of chicken for the fundraiser that was attended by about 200 people. Conductor; Jeff Westfall: Baritones; Hugh Whittaker, Jim Sutter: Clarinets; Tom Rusche, Frank Book, Ashley Cooper, Dave Emery, Tina Wedding: French horn; Bill Fox: Drums; Dave King, Ben Rice, Ray Smith: Flute; Claudia Huffman: Sax; Bryant Taylor, Terri Schultz: Trombone; Wayne Fiester, Jack Hampton, Tim Long, trumpets; Larry May, Jim Sermersheim, Rick Huffman, John Patton: Tuba; Bill Haas, John Powell, Dan Schultz.
Front Row: Clarinets - Tom Rusche, Dave Emery (behind the conductor, Jeff Westfall), Frank Book, Ashley Cooper, and Tina Wedding & Carmen Second Row: Saxophones: Bryant Taylor, Terri Schultz FRENCH HORN: Bill Smith TRUMPETS: Jim Sermersheim, Larry May and Jon Patton Third Row: DRUMS - Ben Rice, Dave King, Ray Smith TROMBONES - Jack Hampton, Wayne Fiester, & Tim Long TUBAs - Bill Haas, John Wittenbraker, John Powell and Dan Schultz
July 6, 2000 - Addressed the Newburgh Park Board about waiving the rental fee on the Old Lock & Dam Building. When I spoke with Mae Mason earlier in the morning about this, she referred me to Bob Seibert. He advised me to call Charlene Salpietra, the Park Board President, to get on the agenda for tonight's meeting. The Park Board voted unanimously to allow The Old Dam Community Band the use of the Lock & Dam Building on Tuesday nights free of charge.
July 7, 2000 Rehearsed The Water Street Brass Band in the gazebo from 7pm until ?pm. Tried out the lights Terri got for my birthday.
July 9, 2000 - I (Dan Schultz) played with the Silver Classics at the Gibson County Fair. The conductor, Beau Miley, was Terri's high school band teacher.
July 15, 2000 - The Water Street Brass Band played at the Municipal Market from 9 to 11am.
July 16, 2000 - The Old Dam Community Band played at the Evansville Convention and Visitors Center from 2 to 3pm for their monthly 'Day in the Park' program.
July 16, 2000 - The Water Street Brass Band played at an Otters pre-game party (Farm Family Night) from 4:30 to 6pm.
July 18, 2000 - I began seeking volunteers to work on a by-law committee. Bill Fox, Wayne Fiester, Jon Patton, Larry May, Terri Schultz, Tom Rusche, John Powell, and Tina Wedding are interested in serving.
July 21, 2000 - The Water Street Brass Band played at 4th and Main in Evansville.
July 29, 2000 - The Water Street Brass Band played at 4th and Main in Evansville.
August 1, 2000 - Jeff Westfall told me earlier that he would not be here for our regular rehearsal. I phoned Hugh Whittaker last night to see if he would start things off. He did and Rick Huffman took over at 8. Everything went very well.
August 8, 2000 - Regular rehearsal. Jeff Westfall announced that he would not continue as conductor after this year’s season is finished.
August 11, 2000 - The Water Street Brass Band played for food at the Gerst Haus at 7:30pm. We strung up some outside lights and ran short of rope. Sherry May got a roll of dental floss from her purse so we could complete the job. The band messed up the 'Chicken Dance' really bad. Jeff didn't like the written intro so he had Dave King beat out the intro on a tom tom. When it was time to play, part of the band started in cut time and the rest started in 4/4 time. It lasted about four measures and collapsed. We also screwed up 'Washington Post' because some went back to the double bar instead of the beginning of the trio. Jeff was kinda hot. The crowd didn't seem to mind a bit.
August 12, 2000 - The Water Street Brass Band played at the Evansville Municipal Market at 9:00am.
August 18, 2000 - The Water Street Brass Band played for food at the Gerst Haus .
August 19, 2000 - The Old Dam Community Band played at the McCurdy Residential Center at 2pm. A newspaper photographer was there and took lots of photos. The Sunday paper ran a large picture of 'Shorty' and Carmen Wedding.
August 22, 2000 - Our regular rehearsal. Jon Patton and Hugh Whittaker took home the conductor scores of some of the new music I bought on sale at Schuttler's. They are going to conduct the 2nd hour at the next rehearsal.
August 24, 2000 - The first organizational meeting took place at 7pm at the Jaycee's clubhouse. The focus was on a charter and bylaws. The meeting was attended by Dave King, Dan Schultz, Larry May, Terri Schultz, Wayne Fiester, Bryant Taylor, and Ray Smith. The Old Dam Community Band by-laws were drafted for approval by the band. We also decided that the first annual meeting will be held on October 21, 2000 at which time we will sign the new by-laws into effect, elect officers, and have a picnic for family and friends.
September 1, 2000 – The Water Street Brass Band rehearsed at the McCurdy.
September 9, 2000 – The Water Street Brass Band played at the Farmer’s Market. Terri & I were at Purdue for a football game.
September 16, 2000 – The Old Dam Community Band played in the bandstand in Garvin Park for the Artist’s Guild show. Jon Patton and Hugh conducted.
September 22, 2000 – The Old Dam Community Band played at the Poseyville Autumnfest. This was Jeff Westfall’s last gig before ‘retiring’.
October 1, 2000 – The Old Dam Community Band played for Wayne Fiester’s bicycle club event, The Great Pumpkin Metric. Jon Patton conducted.
October 3, 2000 – Probably the best rehearsal ever! 29 members were present and Jon Patton conducted. Hugh also conducted a couple of tunes.
October 7, 2000 – Got together a small group at the Jaycees clubhouse to run through some new material. This new group for the moment has no name but will be presented as ‘members of The Old Dam Community Band’.
October 10, 2000 – Introduced Jon Patton’s ‘Heerrreee’s Johnny’ arrangement.
October 21, 2000 - The Old Dam Band Jam 2000. The by-laws were signed. Dan Schultz was elected Band Chairman. Ray Smith was elected Vice-Chairman. Tina Wedding was elected Secretary/Treasurer. The newly elected Board of Directors members are; Larry May, Chairman of the Board; Jon Patton, Ray Smith, Jim Sermersheim, and Tina Wedding. Jon will serve a one year term. Tina will serve a two year term. Larry, Ray, and Jim will serve three year terms. The meeting was photographed by Lois Light of the Newburgh Register. We played a concert at 3pm and started the picnic at about 4:30. Afterwards, a small group played some material from the ‘Hungry Five’ folder.
October 22, 2000 - The Band played at Frank Book’s church in Henderson. We all joined the church for dinner and played afterward. Jon Patton conducted. This is the closest we have been to being rained out. Just a few sprinkles….But the band played on.
November 4, 2000 - Saturday morning. Several of us got together at the Jaycee’s clubhouse to try out some of the Hungry Five material. We also played out of the Dixieland Beat book. Ironically, the Dixieland Beat Book is the very first thing we played when we began on February 29, 2000 with Larry May, Tunis McElwain, Jeff Westfall, myself, and Terri.
November 7, 2000 - Election day. We practiced as usual. November 9, 2000 - Got together at the Jaycee’s clubhouse for Dixieland. The lights went out about an hour into practice. There was a fire on the pole outside.
November 12, 2000 - Nine of us played with the Silver Classics concert at the Waters Nursing Home in Princeton.
November 16, 2000 - Little Dixieland band rehearsed. Wayne Fiester, Larry May, Jim Sermersheim, Ed Ellis, Mike Reising, John Powell, Ray Smith, and Frank Book.
November 18, 2000 - Downtown Newburgh for the Silver Bell Celebration. Christmas carols at various locations.