Saturday, March 01, 2014

Alex H. Osterman’s History of Bands in Sandusky

In the Arts Collection of the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center is a binder with typewritten pages, in which Alex H. Osterman presented a history of bands and orchestras in Sandusky, from 1851 to 1934. The binder was given to the Sandusky Library from the library of Dr. Norbert A. Lange. Local musicians Ed Senne and Fred W. Bauer assisted Mr. Osterman in gathering information, as many of the musicians in the early bands were deceased by 1934. The first known band in Sandusky was the Jaeger Band, which was organized in 1851.

Mr. Osterman related how Charles Baetz’s stern discipline helped the Great Western Band to build up an enviable reputation. The band performed from 1867 to the early 1890s, and had several different directors. The Great Western Band is pictured below in the 1870s.

While Mr. Osterman’s history provides us with details about relatively well known bands, such as Ackley’s Band, the Cedar Point Orchestra, and Scouton’s Concert Band, he also covered little known bands, such as the Sandusky Light Guard Band, the Big Five Band, and the Curtiss Orchestra. Below is a list of members of the Harlemetts Orchestra, an orchestra made up of African Americans from Sandusky.

In the back portion of Mr. Osterman’s history binder are letters and anecdotes from local musicians, as well as notes from Dr. Norbert A. Lange with further details about Sandusky’s rich musical history.

Alex H. Osterman died on November 10, 1945, at the age of 69. He had been a restaurant operator in Sandusky from 1896 to 1901, and he served as the street superintendent of Sandusky from 1928 to 1933. In his later years, he was employed at the Erie China Company on Cleveland Road. Mr. Osterman’s little black binder helps us know more about music in a time gone by in Sandusky. An article in the Sandusky Star Journal of April 7, 1934, Alex H. Osterman stated that his history of bands in Sandusky was written “to perpetuate the memory of those men who were always ready and willing to give their time so that their music might be means of bringing joy and pleasure to tired bodies and saddened hearts.” 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great article. When I expanded the view it looks as if there were at least three African Americans in the GReat Western Band too.