“Good things come to those who wait,” Eureka Band member Ed Krause told Batesville Area Chamber of Commerce Annual Dinner attendees Jan. 31.
Thanks to 125 years of dedicated service to the community, the band received the BACC Distinguished Volunteer Group award.
The ensemble was originally formed in Batesville in 1887 to march in parades and even performed at the Indianapolis 500 in the 1920s. Members call it “the oldest continuous all-volunteer community band west of the Allegheny Mountains.”
He recalled, “I grew up in Brookville, and we didn’t have a band like this .... This is a unique aspect of Batesville.”
At first, all of the musicians were male. Then in the 1970s, women could join. “In the mid-1990s, we were down to 11 members .... That’s when we had to go to a youth movement, but some of the old-timers had a hard time agreeing to that.”
However, “Phil Call, who was still in middle school, was the first student-age member. He was really good and won over the older guys.” Batesville High School band directors have also been very supportive.
“One of the best things about the Eureka Band is the cross-generational contact. We have many different ages, from students to band members in their 80s, and we’re peers.”
Several community members have played key roles over the years. A.W. Romweber was a big supporter, purchasing uniforms in 1932 and 1952. George M. Hillenbrand and his wife donated the Liberty Park bandstand. Two longtime directors were Henry Schumacher and Sylvester “Bess” Bartling, Krause announced.
Member Mike Fritsch said Mark Prickel is the current band member with the most experience. “He has been with us for over 60 years.”
He thanked the city of Batesville for “helping underwrite our concerts in the park,” which take place during July or the first part of August. “Mike Baumer and his crew at the park are also very gracious in accommodating us.”
Fritsch added, “In 2009, we made a CD” and copies are available for $15. Its title, “Let ’Er Go ... OK?” combines favorite expressions of two late band members.
“Any of you out there who have an old musical instrument buried in your closet are welcome to join us. We start practices in April (on Mondays from 7:30-9 p.m. in the Memorial Building basement), and we’d love to have you in the band.”
Interested persons may contact Fritsch at 933-0422.