Blaskapelle Alte Kameraden
The Alte Kameraden is the German band of the City of Fairfax Band. Since its founding in 1977 under the leadership of the band’s first Kapellmeister Samuel Laudenslager, the “Old Comrades” have introduced American audiences to the lush, spirited festmusik played by Bavarian bands. The ensemble is an authentic Blaskapelle wind band that performs the music played by alpine village bands.
In 1995, the Fairfax Alte Kameraden became the first American band to be selected to membership in the Musikbund von Ober-und-Niederbayern (MON)–Bavaria’s association of village bands. Two years later, the Alte Kameraden was inducted into the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Militärmusik–Germany’s honorary society for bands and military music. It has also been honored with the Federal Republic of Germany’s German-American Friendship Award (1990) and with a special Certificate of Merit conferred by the United German-American Committee of the U.S.A. (2001). In 2007, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, presented the Alte Kameraden with a special commendation on the occasion of their 30th anniversary.
Alte Kameraden has played up to 50 engagements annually, for community events, German- American clubs, and Oktoberfests. They have entertained spectators at World Cup soccer matches at RFK Stadium and FedEx Field in the Washington area, and performed aboard the Gorch Fock, Germany’s tall ship, in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. The band performs year-round for First Night New Year’s festivals, Fasching Mardi Gras season parties, Mayfests, summer concerts in the park programs, Oktoberfests, and Christmas-season Christkindlmarkts (Christmastime German-style arts and crafts fairs). The music of Alte Kameraden has performed for the annual Open House hosted by the Embassy of Germany, the Swiss National Day celebration of the Embassy of Switzerland, and the German military staff Oktoberfest (formerly Beer Night) at Dulles International Airport. Outside the Washington area, Blaskapelle Alte Kameraden has performed at the Hunter Mountain (New York) Oktoberfest, the Musikfest in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and the 2nd German Air Force Oktoberfest at the Naval Air Station, Pensacola, Florida . In May 2007, Alte Kameraden was part of America’s 400th Anniversary celebration at Jamestown, Virginia, presenting a musical program commemorating America’s German-American settlers. Musicians from Alte Kameraden also performed for the grand opening of the National German-American Heritage Center, Hockemeyer Hall, in Washington, D.C.