The Nebraska Czech Brass Band is a twelve piece instrumental ensemble that features many tunes sung in Czech by our two vocalists within the band. The band is fashioned after the traditional Czech-style brass bands that feature clarinets along with the standard brass and percussion instruments. This style of brass band music is known as Dechovka in the Czech Republic or Blasmusik in Germany and Austria. The group captures the spirit and precision of the European bands, playing authentic arrangements of polkas, waltzes, and folk music, many coming directly from the Czech Republic and Germany. The band plays music from many of the great composers of this genre including compositions by Karel Vacek, Jaromír Vejvoda, Karel Valdauf and numerous selections from the Ernst Mosch library. The Nebraska Czech Brass Band shows its versatility by including traditional marches, Dixieland, ragtime and other popular music in its repertoire, as the occasion demands.
Members of the band are well versed in this musical tradition as all have played with numerous ethnic bands over the years that emphasized the Czech and German polka and waltz styles. Adding to the versatility, the musicians have played many styles of music in a variety of settings, including symphony orchestras, wind bands, musical theater, jazz bands, country/western bands, rock bands, and others. The band members represent a variety of occupations including several current and former music instructors.
The Nebraska Czech Brass Band is a re-creation of the former Omaha Czech Brass Band that was led by the late Rudy Dvorak. The original Omaha Czech Brass Band was led by Rudy's father, the late Karel Dvorak, and was formed in the 1960's. Rudy reorganized the band in the early 1980's and enjoyed success and popularity in the midwestern United States through the early 1990's. The highlight of this period was a ten day tour of Czechoslovakia in 1987 where the band met and performed with many Czech musicians. The band was enthusiastically received by the Czech people and was even featured on the front cover of the then popular magazine Čechoslovenský Svět. The band is currently led by Ken Janak, Jr. Many of the current members of the Nebraska Czech Brass Band also played with the Omaha Czech Brass Band.
The mission of the Nebraska Czech Brass Band is to preserve the musical heritage of the Czech immigrants by going back to a more authentic and traditional musical format using the full instrumentation of the brass band. This format has European roots in the form of military and village bands, but also is reminiscent of the late 1800's and early 1900's in the United States where almost every town had its own band. The members of The Nebraska Czech Brass Band aim to proudly represent and share their Czech heritage while also encompassing the earlier traditions of American bands. The band keeps the tradition alive through high-spirited, heart-felt performances of this great music.
Band Leader and Manager
Ken Janak, Jr.
Ken Janak, Jr. (Eb)
Leslie Janak (Bb)
Paul Menousek (Bb)
Ken Janak, Jr.