609 St. Louis Avenue East St. Louis, IL 62201-2927 Phone: 618-874-1870

Brass Band

Meet the 2nd and 4th Friday of each month at Ainad Shrine

The Brass Band received its charter on May 1, 1919, continuously marching in its strong tradition with Ainad. While we would like to boast of bigger numbers, our twenty or so faithful members help make us a strong group. This has been proven at recent Imperial Sessions where we made several statements. In Concert Band competition we earned Superior Ratings. The judges even noted the amount of spirit we displayed. We call it just having a great time playing music with friends. In German Band competition, something entered just because we were already there, we earned an Excellent Rating and a Superior Rating. While in competition it became obvious that as we remain a purely Shriners band, many Shrine bands invite to non-Shriners participate in order to keep together. And lastly, 2016 finds us to be the only marching band in Shrinedom. Is that something or what?

Not many details exist for the band up until the 1950s. While photos found in closets show evidence of activity, little is known. It definitely appears that the band, as did Ainad, had many active members participating in a variety of Temple and community events. Some photos suggest nearly 100 total musicians. During several periods of time the band was quite active with Great Lakes Conventions, then at other times we have seldom participated. Imperial Sessions were regularly attended in the 20s and 30s but this dropped off in the second half of the century, some stretches of time more so than others. When travelling to Shrine conventions, the Band road first by railroad car and then by bus. The railroad car trips were the best because the Band would play their instruments up and down the cars for all the Units. Of course, they also played on the bus every chance they got. On one trip, Bob Hardy and Rita were with us. Bob Hardy at that time was on the morning show of KMOX and he started the morning with a morning march and a dime rhyme. A few of the band members got together and about 7:00 a.m., stood outside Bob Hardys door and played a march and when he came to the door, then Dorothy Kinney (wife of long-time Band Manager Lynn Kinney) read him a rhyme. His wife, Rita, was calling out in the room, Don’t let them in. The traditional uniform with pinstriped bloomers has been worn continuously with the exception of the 1980s when a straight legged pant was worn briefly.

Art Zeiss, Director Emeritus, served as director and president for many years in the 50s and 60s. Memories indicate that he was a fiery and persistent catalyst for improvement. Bill Cohlmeyer was director from about 1967-1975. Art Clark directed and wrote musical arrangements throughout the 70s into the 80s, and is fondly remembered as a fine leader. Frank Macke directed for many years following retirement from teaching music and playing in military bands. Today, Mike Juenger directs us with a much gentler style than that of previous directors. That is actually a good thing because ours is quite a spirited group these days!

A dance band named The Noblemen was formed in the 1950s. This group, comprised of primarily professional musicians and those with extensive musical training, performed at numerous Ainad events until the mid 1970s. Invitations to perform at area community events were also accepted. No current members who were active at that time seem to recall much about the Noblemen.

Today we proudly march on so that kids can walk. The band can be seen at about 20 or so parades throughout the year and Ainad events. Occasionally we are invited to play at a church, Masonic, or Special Olympics event. The comeraderie is strong and there have always been many father-son-grandson progressions of members.

No one can predict the future. If we sit back and follow the pattern of Shrine bands we will eventually stop marching and start being more of a community band. The current membership is committed to not allow this to happen! Our desire is to continue marching as a Shrine Band, just as we have for the past 97 years.

President: Keith Albrecht - 618/954-6424
Email Keith

Secretary: Harry Vink - 618/632-8925
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