As Billie Dibble described in "The Birth of The Deutsch Meisters" Dibble's Dabbles of Sept. 13, 1990, this beloved band has been "the big attraction at the Firemen's annual Ox-roast." The news that the group has decided to "disband" triggered sadness, and reminded me of some recent "discoveries" about the group while researching the history of The Bark Grill.
The first item was a short paragraph in the June 12, 1968 Westfield Republican article "A Little Bit Of The World Is Yours When You Dine At The Bark Grill" by Anne Johnson.
"Most Thursday evenings the Deutschmeister's Band gathers for a social hour at the Bark Grill after rehearsal. The evening is gay as the colorful group musicians play for fun trying new tunes and innovations of the old."
The Deutsch Meisters Band of Westfield gathered for a group photo on May 30, 1977. Members kneeling in the front row, from left are: Rick Mascaro, Bob Scarpine, Geo Dorance, Ron Catalano, Bill Stratton, Bill Davies and Herb Schultz. Members shown in the second row, from left are: Alva Mathews, Bill Ross, Bill Jackson, L. Lamb, Ed Lloyd, John Norton, Roger Waite and Al Holbrook. Pictured in the third row, from left are: Harry Ward, Stan Wilson, Gene Stebbins, Don Stafford, Peter Tempio and Dick Mathews.
A faded Sunday OBSERVER March 31, 2002 "Do you remember?" newspaper clipping photo of the Deutsch Meisters Band, from May 30, 1977, was among the items provided by Jim Blanchard when he was being interviewed about the history of "The Bark." When Kelly Mathews stopped by the historian office to identify some people in the Arnot staff photo, he was excited to see the old band photo and quickly identified many of the members, sadly shaking his head as he commented that most of the "old guard" are now "gone, but not forgotten."
A search through the 10 years of Dibble's Dabbles provided several more tidbits. In Dec. 3, 1964, new Main Street Christmas lights were dedicated "and part of the festivities was The Deutschmeister's Band playing lively music on Main Street sidewalks." And on June 10, 1965, at the fifth annual Miss Westfield Pageant, the Deutsch Meisters under Mattie Mathews played "Hello Dolly" and at intermission provided more exhilarating music to relieve the tension.
In addition to the September 1962 and July 1967 Westfield Republican articles quoted by Billie Dibble in her September 1990 Dibble's Dabbles, a few other articles were located in the Patterson Library microfilm archives. The Jan. 11, 1967, Republican headlined "WACS Bands - Deutsch Meisters Joint Band Concert Thursday" noting that this was not the first time the groups had performed in concert together.
Marybelle Beigh is the current Public Historian for the Town and Village of Westfield and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 326-6171 (home) or 397-9254 (cell).
"Deutsch Meister's Band to Play Benefit Concert in Westfield Next Wednesday - 'Musicolor' is Band's Contribution to March of Dimes Campaign" by Anne Johnson, was the main story in the Quality Guide supplement to The Westfield Republican of Wednesday, Jan. 15, 1969. The story featured a photo of Deutsch Meister's director "Mattie" Mathews surrounded by, "an assemblage of instruments and attach cases in which each member carries their musical arrangements ... It's reported that the musicians have as much fun at practice as they do at their public appearance - Photo by Blackburn." On Jan. 29, 1969, the newspaper reported that the Deutsch Meisters raised $250 for the March of Dimes at the "Musicolor" benefit concert.
The Deutsch Meisters continued to play for many celebrations including an Easter Monday Dance at the Eason Hall, April 23, 1973.
The Westfield Republican of Aug. 1, 1985, headlined "Deutschmeisters to dedicate bandstand August 10 - Fifteen years after the idea was first voiced, the Deutschmeister Band of Westfield has erected a bandstand in Moore Park." Alva "Mattie" Mathews, one of several deceased members of the band was specially recognized in the dedication ceremony.
In the Patterson Library Local History File is a folder of articles relating to the clubs and organizations of Westfield. One of these articles, "The organizations of Westfield" by Cindy Morse, April 19, 1971, includes an interesting section about the Deutsch Meisters. Morse wrote, "The purpose of the organization is to provide musical enjoyment for the members ... they play about 35 concerts a year ... will soon make their first record. They also present an annual music award to a student at WACS."