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Musikkapelle Assling

Johann Evangelist WARSCHER, created the Assling Musikkapelle in 1846. Two years earlier, in 1844, the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra had been founded and in 1848 Kaiser Franz Joseph acceded to the throne at the age of 18.
Warscher was born in Thal at Auerschmied on 13th November 1819 and grew up in Assling where his father had taken over the Schlossergütl estate, and he began his education at the Boys Choir School in Neustift. He completed his teacher training in Brixen and returned to Assling after 4 years as supply teacher in Sillian, and in 1846 he married Anna Mairer, the daughter of a senior teacher. This gave him the opportunity to develop his musical talents. He took over the school and the choir and put together a brass band of about 20 members and in this way the Assling Musikkapelle was born.

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1925: Gründung des Oberländer Musikbundes, dem unsere Kapelle beitrat. Dieses Foto wurde bei der Einweihung des Bezirkskriegerdenkmals gemacht.

Warscher received praise of the highest order from the great composer Ignaz Mitterer. He is reported to have said about him: "This man's organ playing is amazing and what he composes on the organ spontaneously is so good that it could be put in print at once." Between 1860 and 1870 under his leadership, the Musikkapelle blossomed for the first time and became known further afield as one of the best bands. Warscher led the band until the year 1874 when he died of smallpox raging at the time in Assling.

Difficult years followed since no-one could replace the founder of the Musikkapelle which continued, but only at half strength. Only later was another competent man found to lead the band, the owner of Kontriner farm Johann Duregger who took over the leadership until he died in 1891.

Sebastian Niederwieser, owner of Kohler farm, a young and extraordinarily gifted trumpeter, then became Duregger's successor. He was the band leader for the following 19 years (until 1910) and in all was a member of the band for 50 years. During his time in office, the Musikkapelle participated in the celebrations in Lienz on 14th August 1910 when the memorial was dedicated. The musicians met at 4.30 in the morning and marched together with the members of the Schützen club to Lienz where they arrived at 7.00. They enjoyed the morning celebrations before giving an afternoon concert at 2.30. After that the beer flowed freely and at 7.00 they returned home by train.

Also in this year, Benno Rutz, assistant priest in Assling, took over the leadership of the band for the following 2 years and he was the first to start writing the history of the Musikkapelle, dated 1st May 1910. Rutz arranged most of the music himself, establishing high standards and drawing attention to the band by including classical pieces.

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Concert in Assling

On 13th October 1912, the Assling Musikkapelle achieved legal recognition as a music band. Andrä Lukasser (Thole Hiebl) became the first manager of the band and Johann Lukasser, son of the farmer at Hiebler in Oberassling, took over from Benno Rutz who left the position of band leader. In the same year the new school building was finished and the band obtained its new rehearsal room in the old school at Weberhaus. After the outbreak of World War I, as more and more men were conscripted, the number of performances was reduced and the band only performed in religious processions.

Between 1915 and 1918, the Musikkapelle ceased to exist in Assling.

Regrettably, band leader Johann Lukasser and many of his comrades failed to return home from war. After World War I, it was the former mayor Andrä Lukasser who worked hard to re-form the Kapelle. In 1918, Anton Unterweger was chosen as band leader and it was also thanks to him that at the beginning of the war at least some of the church ceremonies could be given a musical framework as he changed his focus from the clarinet to the flugelhorn. However, it is said, that he more than once ended rehearsals early out of frustration putting down his baton and walking to the rehearsal room door where he then exclaimed:"Damn it, let's carry on!"

To celebrate soldiers returning home from war on 1st November 1919, the Musikkapelle was already performing again and life was starting to return to normal. In 1924, the band acquired its first official outfit: grey jackets with green trimmings and a silver lyre emblem, black trousers, grey hats with a green ribbon and a cockerel's white tail feather. In 1925, the Oberländer music union was formed and straight away the Assling Kapelle became a member. Four years later, the first Helikon (double bass) was purchased and the local authority of Assling made its first financial contribution to the band. Not until 1936 did the Musikkapelle acquire its present uniform thanks to the efforts of Engelbert Unterweger. When World War II started in 1939, Anton Unterweger gave up his position as band leader. Until 1940 the senior teacher Franz Hoffmann continued as band leader. However, due to the fact that numerous members were called up, the activities of the band stopped completely until the war ended in 1945. In 1946 Gottfried Duregger, farmer at Kontriner in Oberassling, returned home from captivity as a prisoner of war and was straight away appointed as band leader. He succeeded in re-building the band but unfortunately had to resign his position in 1949 through serious illness. His successor was the young Max Mitterer, primary school teacher and church organist. For many years the band benefited enormously from his seven years of service re-building the Musikkapelle (1950-1956). In 1953, Anton Libiseller who later became the mayor of Assling was to follow as manager of the band.

Vinzenz Lukasser in front of the band

After Mitterer, in 1956, the next band leader was the young, dynamic and energetic Vinzenz Lukasser who successfully guided the band through various competitions. In 1957, the Assling Musikkapelle became a member of the music partnership of Lienz and the surrounding area. In 1966, there took place the first exchange visit of the Hohe Wand Band from Lower Austria. Anton Lukasser who at the time was working in a coalmine there initiated this partnership which is still in existence today. In 1969, for reasons of bad health Anton Libiseller resigned from his position as official manager and became an honorary manager.
Karl Lukasser,Karler was to take over this role until 1972. Walter Annewandter who later became mayor of Assling succeeded him as manager in the same year. In 1974, Vinzenz Lukasser handed the position of Kapellmeister to the first outsider, Herbert Pramstaller who was widely known for his flugelhorn playing. In 1976, for the first time Assling hosted the district music festival on the occasion of the 130th anniversary of the Assling band.

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district music festival in Assling

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district music festival in Assling

Vinzenz Lukasser, in 1977, returned to the podium for the second time as band leader. During the next ten years, there were radio recordings made, a record release, a 5-day trip to Eschwege and Cologne together with the Thal Choir and the folk-dancing group of Assling, the 2nd district music festival (140th anniversary) as well as two visits to the miners' band Hohe Wand in Lower Austria. Thanks to his determination and hard work, the band became one of the best at the time in all of East Tyrol. Also, through his initiative the spring concert in May was introduced which is now an annual event. In 1983, Oswald Walder was chosen as the new manager and he carried out this function until 1985 and in the following year, Helmut Kraler-Bergmann took over his position.
After 29 years with the band, in 1987, Vinzenz Lukasser took his leave as Kapellmeister and became the first honorary band leader.

In the following year, he was succeeded by Herbert Vergeiner as band leader. Under his leadership, the traditional spring concerts were continued, trips to South Tyrol and North Tyrol undertaken, and the band contributed both to the secular and ecclesiastical musical life of the community.

Herbert Vergeiner's first concert at the annual spring concert

In 1991, the musical leadership was handed over to Robert Lukasser-Weitlaner (Kolbenhaus Weber) who had been until then his deputy.

Robert Lukasser-Weitlaner's first concert at the annual spring concert

His determination and single-mindedness soon bore fruit as he considerably increased the number of rehearsals and therefore the level of performance. The following activities are just some of the many activities carried out under the leadership of Robert Lukasser-Weitlaner und Helmut Kraler-Bergmann:

  • 1991 - 3day trip to Moischt (Germany)
  • 1992 - trip to miners' band Hohe Wand (Lower Austria)
  • 1996 - record release on the occasion the 150th anniversary of the band

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    District musical festival in Assling

  • 1996 - 3rd district music festival in Assling (150th anniversary)
  • 1998 - trips to Sistrans (North Tyrol) and Kötschach- Mauthen (Carinthia)
  • 1999 - trip to the Wachau
  • 2001 - 2nd trip to the miners' band Hohe Wand and concerts in Carinthia, Salzburg and South Tyrol.

In addition, Robert Lukasser-Weitlaner deserves credit for enlarging both the number and range of instruments (e.g. oboe, bassoon, and saxophone) as well as increasing the number of musicians in the band.

Martin Mairer's first concert at the annual spring concert

In 2002, after 11 years of service, Robert Lukasser-Weitlaner passed on the leadership of the band to his deputy Martin Mairer.

Since 2011 Gerhard Pitterle leads the band.

Gerhard Pitterle

From 2002 to 2006 Werner Gasser (grandson of Gottfried Duregger, bandleader in 1946) took over from Helmut Kraler-Bergmann as manager who had served for 17 years. In 2007 Reinhard Weiler (Tschicker) was elected band manager.

Both Robert Lukasser-Weitlaner and Helmut Kraler-Bergmann became honorary band leader and manager respectively.

Robert and Helmut became honorary band leader and manager.

Since 1846, when the band was founded, according to records there were only three members who served the band for over 50 years. They are Sebastian Niederwieser (50 years service and former Kapellmeister), Konrad Mairer (51 years service) and Anton Unterweger (53 years service and former Kapellmeister).

The present number of participants shows that the band has no problems attracting members, which is good because, as appropriately said in a speech by former mayor Anton Libiseller 30 years ago:

"Where there is no music, there is no soul."

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ordination to the priesthood of H.H.Johann Stocker from Oberthal 1961: band leader Vinzenz Lukasser, manager Anton Libiseller 1937: district music festival. New official outfit.

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