Be our guest: Echoes of the Band
By Mike Weigel and Bob Johanek, in conjunction with Marshfield Media Access
In 1895, a group of young musicians began practicing at City Hall in Marshfield. They called themselves the “Badger State Band.” They had talent and they had enthusiasm, but one thing they didn’t have was a director.
The city fathers knew of the band and asked Mr. A.P. Adams – music store owner in Neillsville – to come and lead the group. Adams consented—but would come only if the city would find him a job in Marshfield. Thus began a proud and enduring tradition of live concert band music in Marshfield.
A lot has happened in the 125 years since then—wars, depression, and recently the Covid-19 pandemic has brought many of our beloved Marshfield institutions to a standstill. This includes the Marshfield Civic Band “Concerts in the Park” series.
When Mike Weigel, long-time producer for Marshfield Media Access, learned that the 2020 concert season was cancelled he was saddened.
“It’s one of my favorite gigs! I started to think, I have a lot of tapes of the band concerts going back twenty-five years, when I first started recording the group.”
When Weigel and partner Dan Ferch talked about the idea they asked Civic Band Director Robert Johanek to help out by recording introductions to the concerts they had selected for weekly broadcast.
Johanek was delighted to help, “It keeps the band in people’s minds.”
Johanek, who would have been leading the band in his 19th season as director and conductor this summer had not the virus struck.
Band members were also encouraged to lend their insights and memories over the years. Most significant of these are the archival taped interviews of long-time band members who have passed on, such as Bob Biederwolf, Francis Plank, and Iris Rasmussen.
“It’s like finding treasure!” says Weigel, “Remastering the old footage with new interview should be something we hope our viewers will find both nostalgic and heartwarming.”
Marshfield Media Access has been supportive with this idea, giving the band studio time and making a special effort to air the weekly Wednesday night programs at 7:30 p.m.—the same time that the Civic Band would have begun their concerts during the now-defunct season.
The name of the program is “Echoes of the Band” and will air on Marshfield Media Access Channel 990. It will also be available online at MYHOMETOWNTV.COM.
We hope you’ll join us to help celebrate the band and your best summer memories.