Boerne Village Band is the Oldest German Band Outside of Germany

By Joe Morris on April 28, 2011 at 6:00 pm EST
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When Germans migrated to Boerne during the mid-1800s‚ they brought their love of music with them. They also brought their musical skills and wasted little time re-creating the sounds of their home country.

And so began the Boerne Village Band‚ which was launched in 1860 by Dr. Karl Kienger. Other immigrants and their families joined in‚ including Ottmar von Behr‚ whose descendant‚ Dr. Kenneth Herbst‚ is the band’s current leader.

Dr. Herbst‚ a veterinarian‚ began playing trumpet with the band when he was a child and has been its leader since 1980. He refers to himself as a leader‚ rather than a conductor‚ and says there’s a definite distinction.

“We have other people in the band who are true conductors‚” he says. “Most of our music is a steady tempo kind of thing‚ with the polka at one tempo‚ the waltzes at another. I just lead those.”

A steady stream of appearances at Sangerfests‚ Oktoberfests and other fests keep the Boerne Village Band busy‚ a schedule that suits its members fine.

“We probably play 30‚ 35 times a year‚” Herbst says. “People know the band‚ and so they come from all over to hear us. We just did one downtown‚ and the whole city square was filled up with people. People come out and enjoy us‚ so we’ll just keep going as long as they’re doing that.”

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