First published Sept. 13, 1990
"Newly Formed Westfield Band Rehearsal" was the heading of an article which appeared in The Westfield Republican of Sept. 12, 1962, and I wondered if that could possibly be the birth announcement of our beloved Deutsch Meisters Band. A brief conversation with a present member of the band convinced me that it probably was.
Twenty-eight years ago, when a preliminary meeting to discuss the organization of the village band was held in Eason Hall, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Lamb, Dorothy S. and J Brownell, Roger Waite, Lester Johnson, A.M. Mathews, Jr., Richard Mathews, Frank Mallozzi and Salvatore Caruso were in attendance. Others who had signed up and hoped to take an active part in organizing the band were Mr. and Mrs. Warren Hill, Lloyd Wright, Richard Brooker, Jr., Don Stafford, Warren Quinn, Sally Grosser, John Clement, Karen Johnson, Tommy Tetrault, Stan Wilson, Don Larson and Joe Criscione.
Photo courtesy of Patterson Library
On July 9, 1967 “Matty” Mathews presented a $200 check to John Norton, Rotarian and Chairman of Community Division to raise funds for the swimming pool and ice skating rink at Welch Field. The Deutsch Meisters’ contribution was in addition to the individual pledges made by members of the 22-man band. Front row: Waite; Scarpine; Stratton; —; Falvay. Middle row: Wilson; Davies; Catalano; —; Ertle; Caruso; R. Mathews. Back row: Hanselman; Dinsbier; Schultz.
The 1962 article quotes Dick Mathews as saying, "It's been 25 years since we've had a village band and in that time the full burden of band music has fallen upon the High School Band. There are many times when a Village Band would have helped hour the High School Band and have met some of the needs that students should not have to meet alone. A good Westfield Band will give young musicians an outlet for their musical talent which now has no outlet once they are out of school. A lot of us got our start in the school band and have wanted to continue to play together after we left school. This is a change for our young musicians to keep on with their music."
A member of the Deutsch Meisters Band recalled that the band started as an Adult Education project. For a time it was a "Clown Band." Somewhere along the way Walter Falvay gave it a shot in the arm in the form of a contribution of the music from the old Westfield Band.
If 1962 was indeed the birth date of the band, I believe the name Deutsch Meisters was not taken until about two years later.
In July of 1967 The Westfield Republican carried a fine photograph of the Deutsch Meisters showing Matty Mathews presenting a $200 check to John Norton, Rotarian and Chairman of The Community Division of fund raisers for Westfield's swimming pool and ice skating rink at Welch Field. The band, officially only three years old at that time, had already become a popular attraction at fairs, parades, and outings throughout Chautauqua County and the surrounding area, giving freely of it's time and talent for the people of Westfield.
There is no possible way of measuring the joy these "youngsters" have spread during the past quarter century. They add color to each holiday parade, in recent years riding on the horse-drawn band wagon. They are the big attraction at the Firemen's annual Ox-roast. They have provided music for innumerable dances, including the annual Charity Ball.
Some time ago, they took their German Band to Germany, and it was reported that they had a hilarious time.
The beautiful gazebo in Moore Park is dedicated to the memory of "Matty" Mathews, who was leader of the band for many years.
Surely these all American Dutchmen have been, and continue to be, a real asset to our community.