BOERNE, Texas – The Lone Star State has had a long line of music lineage, but over in Boerne, there’s one band that’s been around since 1860. It’s a bit brassier than most, but it always leaves a smile and leads to a toast.
Along the banks of Cibolo Creek, you’ll find Boerne, Texas. This central Texas town is so entangled in its German roots that getting a guten Morgen along the Hauptstrasse, I mean main street, isn’t out of the ordinary.
And if you happen to be in the county seat of Kendall County every other Tuesday in June and July, a stroll over to the main plaza park might be pleasing to the ears.
This Abendkonzerte has a long history here; it’s been a part of Boerne since it was organized in 1860.
Terry Slezak is a singer for the Boerne Village Band and when it comes to the get up for this band of village people only those who like lederhosen need apply.
“This is the longest continuous German band outside of Germany,” Terry said.
With festive beverages in hand, the crowd sways, dances, and simply enjoys this music with deep Texas roots and German linage.
Karl Dienger got the band together all those years ago, and it’s managed to stick together through the Civil War, two World Wars, and many different directors.
Larry Schmidt is a descendant of Karl. He first played with the band as a boy in 1962. The former member of the military also happens to be the director.
“Boerne has a tremendous German heritage, and this band is most likely the last real remnant of that,” Larry said.
Being the longest tenured musician of the BVB is a joy for Joyce Young. She’s been sitting in since 1982.
“Sometimes he says we’ve been in band business here since 1860, and we have some of the original members and I always raise my hand.”
The former schoolteacher also happens to be the eldest member of this saucy group of mostly seniors.
“Notice we have some young people here, too,” Joyce said. “They’re not all my age, and that’s a good thing.”
Terry also has one interesting story. The former opera singer lends his power pipes to help propel a few pieces.
Terry sang in the 3rd Armored Division Band and Soldiers Chorus and during the 60s he worked for NASA where he helped develop the film Apollo 11 astronauts used take pictures on the moon.
“There was a note in there for me from Buzz Aldrin, and it says this was our most important film on the moon,” Terry said.
He also happens to be the first human to touch moon dust with his bare hands.
“’Wow! What’s that?’ I said that’s the moon dust. That’s the only place it’s been So they said, ‘Oh, hold your hand up.’ So I did, and they shot a picture of it. The next morning my pictures on the front page all over the world,” Terry said.
This eclectic group of Texans comes together to bring joy in their bi-weekly summer assemble dedicated to the pioneers that came before them making the Boerne Village Band well worth a stop on The Texas Bucket List.
“We’ve made it for 156 years,” Terry said. “I guess we can keep on going for a little bit more.”