“The Americus Brass Band was formed with an interest in music and a desire to do something completely different. We felt that the historic music of the American Civil War should have a place, besides the dusty shelves of libraries, where people could hear and learn of it in an interesting and exciting way. We chose the Confederate side since little was written of the gallant southern musicians, thus making the research into their lives and times more challenging. It is these citizen-soldiers, and the music they performed, that we wish to memorialize and honor.”
—Robert L. Wiebe, founder of the current Americus Brass Band
The Americus Brass Band was founded in 1976 by a group of music students at California State University, Long Beach. Originally attracted to Civil War reenacting, the band’s founders sought authenticity in dress and instrumentation as well as music. With the help of several Civil War historians and collectors, a full complement of authentic period instruments was acquired and a large library of original music was secured. Our goal is to provide a total "living history" experience for band musicians and audiences alike by creating an accurate reproduction of a Civil War era brass band.
The War Between the States, as it was then called, represented the single greatest upheaval in the history of our nation. Pitting citizen against citizen and patriot against patriot, those five long years of carnage created the circumstances out of which our modern nation has evolved. And, just as sound can stimulate long-buried memories, the music of the Civil War can transport us back to those days of conflict with feelings of great intensity.
The music Americus presents is authentic in every detail and always performed on original antique instruments. Our intention is to carry the listener back to an earlier time -- a time when Home Sweet Home, Listen to the Mockingbird, and Amazing Grace were among the most popular songs of the era; a time when brass bands were the most popular form of musical entertainment for most Americans; and a time when patriots, northern and southern, marched off to war with the music of these same bands ringing in their ears - called to duty to defend their values and way of life.
The band has been invited to perform at many regional and national events including the 125th anniversary reenactments of the battles of Bull Run and Gettysburg, the 1996 International Brassfest II, the 1996 Great American Brass Band Festival, and the 2000 National Civil War Band Festival. The Americus Brass Band was invited to perform at the Hollywood Bowl in summer 1999, the first band to perform in that venue in over 60 years. John Henken of the L.A. Times described the performance as "blazing" and "taut" and wrote, "Its 13 members...handled their assignments with virtuoso flair...." Most recently, the band has recreated Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show Cowboy band for the Single Action Shooting Society’s National Convention.
The Americus Brass Band is probably best known for its work in Hollywood where it has recorded source-music for, and/or appeared on-screen in well over a dozen major motion pictures and television shows. The movies include Glory, Gettysburg, Geronimo: An American Legend, and Hidalgo. In addition, the band has worked on the IMAX movie Alamo: The Price Of Freedom, the television shows The North and the South (ABC), Tad, Mary Todd, and The Wild West (all in syndication), Once Upon A Texas Train (CBS), Son of the Morning Star (NBC), and several episodes of Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman (CBS).
The Americus Brass Band remains the foremost professional Civil War replica band in the country and continues to do its part to insure that this glorious but terrible chapter in American history will never be forgotten.
—Richard Birkemeier, Musical Director, Americus Brass Band
The Americus Brass Band is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation.
Donations are tax deductible as permitted by law.
© 2012 Americus Brass Band