One typed page including photograph of Peter and Jacob Breinig; brief history of the Ringgold Band, a Terre Haute community band.
ABASH VALLEY WP R O F I L E SA series of tributes to hometown people and events that have shaped our history.The Ringgold BandFounded in 1876, the Ringgold Band of Terre Haute was an Indiana institution for two generations. It was not Vigo County's first community band. Joseph Toute headed a notable marching ensemble in the 1860s and early 1870s. While attending the Philadelphia Exposition, musician George Sickford, owner of a novelty shop at 518 Ohio St., was enraptured by the triumphant sound of marching musical corps attired in elegant uniforms. Professor Jacob Breinig, celebrated bandmaster of the 91st Indiana Volunteers during the Civil War and patriarch of a musical family, agreed to become the leader. The 17-piece orchestra debuted at the Terre Haute Opera House on Dec. 13, 1876. In 1879, it was incorporated as "Light Guard Ringgold Band and Orchestra," named after the Ringgold Cornet Band of Reading, Peter and Jacob Breinig Pa., of Civil War fame. Breinig's three talented sons -- Henry, Frank and Peter -- were pioneer members of the group. So were George and William Sickford, August W. Werneke, Jerome Hill, George Weldele, Frank Carpenter, John Allison, Henry Harrison, James Border, Herman Henshing, William Hartman, William Huff and drum major George "Ren" Early. Most musicians held other jobs. Until the late 1880s, Jacob Breinig managed a saloon and billiard parlor at 677 Wabash Ave. An integral component of almost every important parade, concert, fair, sporting event or procession (including funerals), the Ringgold Band boasted between 14 and 20 musicians. It consistently won state and regional music contests. Born in Heidelberg, Germany, in 1832, Breinig emigrated to America in 1852, residing in New Orleans, Evansville, Vincennes and Pittsburgh before settling in Terre Haute in 1869. He quickly became active in music circles as a musician, composer and arranger. John Philips Sousa used his services and Paul Dresser sought his aide while composing "On the Banks of the Wabash." For more than 30 years, the Breinig family, including daughters Kate (Rosenburg), Anna (Pritchett), Molly (Dailey), Cecelia (Ohlendorf) and Otyla (Carter), lived at 36 S. 14th St. The band rehearsed on the Gilbert estate next door before City Park was founded. Open air summer concerts were conducted at a bandstand near the northwest corner of Seventh and Wabash. When Professor Breinig retired as bandmaster in 1895, youngest son Peter -- an alumnus of the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music -- became the band leader and son Henry was business manager. Soon after Jacob's death on Dec. 2, 1905, Peter founded a 45-piece philharmonic orchestra here and later became director of the Grand Opera House orchestra. In 1905 Henry built and managed Lakeview Park on east Wabash and owned Breinig & Miller Furniture. By 1910, the Ringgold Band was disbanded. Henry died April 22, 1938, in Rockford, Ill., at age 82. For several years before Peter's death in Terre Haute on Dec. 8, 1943, at age 77, he was music director of the traveling MacCauley Opera Co.TERRE HAUTE(812) 238-6000NATIONAL BANKAlways Close to HomeDate published: August 24, 2000Filename: Ringgold Band profile
Terre Haute Tribune-Star
Vigo County Historical Society
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