- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
Temperatures likely will be soaring Sunday, but the beer will be cold and the music will be playing during Oktoberfest in July.
Hosted by the Southern Maryland Concert Band and the town of Indian Head, the daylong event will spotlight the Musikkappelle Prutz Band visiting from Austria.
Jack Belle, the concert band’s treasurer, received a phone call about a year ago asking him if the concert band had any interest in helping find a venue for an Austrian band who would be visiting the East Coast in the summer of 2012.
The group was looking to play a couple of shows in between taking in the sights of Washington, D.C., and New York City.
Belle thought about it and said sure.
“It was quite by accident,” said Belle, who started with the concert band as its announcer three years ago. “They found us.”
The Austrians, who are booked for a show in Olney on uly 14, would follow in the footsteps of the Celtic band The Rogues who played with the concert band in May at the La Plata campus of the College of Southern Maryland.
Belle wanted to do something a little different this time around branch out and create more of an event.
A festival of sorts.
“What better way to celebrate with Germans than with an Oktoberfest,” he said.
Only thing was, the band was landing in balmy July, not chilly October.
No matter.An Oktoberfest in July would be just the venue for the visiting band.
And Indian Head’s Village Green would be the spot for vendors, a biergarten, food and children’s activities to set up before bands, including the concert band’s jazz ensemble, start playing at 1 p.m.
“It’s a rare opportunity,” said Karen Lindquist-Williams, community activities director for Indian Head. “It’s something unique.”
The town hosts concerts, a seasonal flea market and holiday activities at the Village Green, so hosting the festival fit right in.
To get a feel for Oktoberfest, Belle visited a few of them in the area last fall and started recruiting vendors for Sunday’s event.
Hollywood Hops Heads, a St. Mary’s County-based group that brews beer and meets about once a month to discuss home-brewing techniques will hold a beer-brewing demonstration set for 2 p.m.
Bozick Distributors will have a selection of summer beers for sampling and there will be food vendors German, Jamaican, Southern Maryland and festival fare.
Handing out fliers and cards promoting the event, Belle and his daughter, Nancy, ran into service members who were once stationed in Germany who said they would stop by once they found out schnitzel would be among the dishes served.
But more than food, the music will be authentic too.
“In honor of our guests from Austria and the fact that we are celebrating Octoberfest in July, the [Southern Maryland Concert Band] will be performing music of foreign composers, in particular music by Strauss, Wagner, Teike and more. There will also be popular music, music from Broadway and of course a march or two by John Philip Sousa,” said the concert band’s conductor Michael Peerless in a news release.
The Southern Maryland Concert Band, formed in 1984, is made up of about 50 musicians and is all-volunteer and nonprofit. It puts on about eight to 10 informal shows a year around the area, continuing the tradition of a community band.
Around the mid-1800s to the 1920s, before radios, televisions and computers hummed in households, each community would have its own band that would provide entertainment, Belle explained.
The Musikkappelle Prunz Band was formed in 1694, and many generations of families have played in the group, Belle said.
According to information provided by Musikkapelle Prunz, the band, whose members wear traditional costumes of trachts and dirndls, currently has 73 musicians who play an Easter concert, summer concerts and an autumn show.
They are slated to perform standards, polkas and Gershwin hits at Sunday’s festival.
They are hoping to arrive early to mingle with the crowd, Belle said.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for people in Southern Maryland to see an actual European performing group,” Belle said.
He hopes to make the event an annual one, he said.
Maybe not an Oktoberfest, but with a festival-like feel in keeping with the tradition of outdoor concerts of times gone by.
If you goOktoberfest in July will be 11 a.m.-7:30 p.m. July 15 on the Village Green, 100 Walter Thomas Road, Indian Head. The Southern Maryland Concert Band and the Musikkapelle Prutz Band from Austria will perform. Biergarden, beer tasting, a beer-making demonstration and food. Vendor space rents for $45. Email email@example.com.
Schedule of events:
1 p.m. — Groove Span Trio
2 p.m. — Hollywood Hop Heads homebrew demonstration
3 p.m. — Southern Maryland Jazz Orchestra
4:15 p.m. — Southern Maryland Concert Band
5:30 p.m. — Musikkapelle Prutz Band
Organizers suggest bringing a chair or blanket.