Alex Meixner is a nationally acclaimed musician, performer, bandleader, educator and a leading advocate of polka music. Formally trained in classical, jazz and ethnic music, Alex has cross-pollinated his versatile playing styles through pop music, funk, jazz and polka. He is an active ambassador for polka music, revitalizing interest coast to coast resulting in sold out shows, renewed cultural interest, and growing mainstream acceptance. For Alex, it’s more than playing energetic shows; it is a mission to provide a much needed positive experience that pulls communities together to celebrate history, culture and genuinely good times.
Bolzen Bier Band
Hailing from Nebraska, this 3-piece party polka band is nothing else like you have ever seen. Their music brings polka into the next generation!
We are the Bolzen Beer Band bringing our brand of extreme party punk polka from the plains of Lincoln, Nebraska and taking it around the United States, and of course Germany! With a vast array of polka traditionals, covers from multiple genres, as well as 2 albums of original music, Bolzen will get anyone drinking and dancing no matter who you are or where you come from. What started out as a mad scientist experiment has become the new wave of polka that is taking over the world! Come along and get your ass on the dance floor!
Narren of New Ulm
Inspiration to form the The Narren of New Ulm came from a chance encounter with a narren group from Germany who appeared at New Ulm’s Heritagefest in 1988. Taking advantage of an opportunity to purchase two masks from Germany, the seed was planted to start The Narren of New Ulm. What started out as two masked characters making their first appearance at Heritagefest in 1989…
has become a group of over 30 masked characters and more masks are in the process of being added to the group.
All the masks are hand carved wood. Some carved by master wood carvers from Germany, some carved by master wood carvers in the U.S.
A few have been carved by hobby carvers with the skill of the masters. Members design the costumes to compliment the mask and the character represented.
The Narren of New Ulm, are often described as “the relatives everyone has but nobody wants to claim”, They are a composite of people who give life and color to communities throughout the world. Their hometown is the village of Ganse-Stadt which is located along the river just below the rolling hills on the edge of the prairie.
However, they find that conducting business from the city of New Ulm is more efficient.
Nonetheless, each character has a story*, which makes them a legal resident of Ganse-Stadt giving them the privilege to participate in Ganse-Stadt activities.
Ganse-Stadt activities include (but not limited to) teaching and promoting the German culture and traditions through stories and music
aka “The Young Rascals”, are back for another great year at Oktoberfest. Known for their upbeat and enthusiastic music, everyone gets involved when they are on the stage!
Die Spitzbuam (the young rascals) are a five-piece German band from St. Louis, Missouri. Since 1992, the members have celebrated their German heritage by playing contemporary and traditional folk music from Germany and other European regions. The band has performed at dances and festivals in Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, and Ohio. They add a German touch to Weddings, Anniversaries, and any festival.
Terry has been a staple at the entrance of Oktoberfest for many years! He gets you in the mood to enjoy the whole weekend!
Al’s Pals Polka Band
Peoria area’s best musicians performing music in its highest art form – the Polka and other related Germanic folk music.
Al’s Pals Polka Band began in 1993, when Lloyd Hedges was associated with the Caterpillar Big Band. A small band that practiced before the big band and needed a bass horn player. Lloyd Hedges then contacted Al Hedemann and began playing with the band in early summer.
When Al’s daughter, Debbie, was having an Oktoberfest theme for her wedding reception, Lloyd and the group agreed they should play for the event. The name was decided that evening and has stuck ever since.
Kaiser Wilhelm Ratskeller Brummers
Peoria’s local favorite! Formed in January 1971, they have been providing quality German entertainment for many years.
The Kaiser Wilhelm Ratskeller Brummers are sponsored by the Harmonie singers of the German-American Central Society.
Formed in January 1971, the band is comprised of school teachers, engineers, and business men of this community. Specializing in German folk music, the Brummers have played at nursing homes, Bradley homecomings, for the Governor of the State of Illinois, and the opening band at Peoria’s Oktoberfest!
For over thirty years, the Kaiser Wilhelm Ratskeller Brummers have entertained for many business concerns in the Peoria area and have been the featured band at the famous German Fests held at Hickory Grove picnic grounds.
Lindenhof Echoes Alpine Horns
Home-grown talent from the Lindenhof, playing harmonious tunes from Germany, Austria, and Switzerland on wooden horns longer than Pinocchio’s nose!
In 2005, Al Hedemann and Todd Meier started playing two horns mounted on the wall at the Lindenhof. The two horns (both in the key of F) were bought by the club to be used by bands that came from Germany for the local Oktoberfest. They played the horns for a few events for about a year when a club member, Tom Stanesa, donated a horn to the club he had acquired and decided he didn’t want to play. Merv Rennich was asked to join the group and the Alpine trio was formed. They called themselves the Lindenhof Echoes and began playing for local fests and events.
In 2007, Merv acquired his own Alpine horn made in Germany and Tom Howard joined the group to make up a quartet. They entertained at Oktoberfests, club fests at Hickory Grove, World Fest, church events, and private parties.
In 2010, two more horns were acquired from Germany. Chad Rutschke and Dick Hanson joined the Echoes and the group became a sextet. Listeners are captivated by the rich tones of the resonant instruments. The ensemble continues in popularity and has increasing requests to play throughout Central Illinois and surrounding states.
Enjoy Peoria’s folk dancers perform traditional dances from all regions of Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.
The Peoria Volkstaenzer (folk dancers) play an important role in keeping German culture alive in the Heart of Illinois through dance. The group is dedicated to learning traditional folk dances from all regions of Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and more. The dancers enjoy learning new dances and performing at the club’s fests and other events throughout the area.
The dance group has adult members and recently formed a children’s group for ages 7 through 15.
Folk dancing / lessons take place at the Lindenhof on Sunday nights—stop by if interested in learning a new dance, joining one of our performing groups.
Springfield International Folk Dancers
(SIFD) is a non-profit organization that aims to promote appreciation of world cultures through learning and presenting their native folk dances.
The Springfield International Folk Dancers (SIFD) strongly believes in the idea that folk dancing is for everyone. We celebrate world cultures, including our community’s connection to Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War era. We strive to preserve each culture’s unique heritage through learning about their traditions and sharing them with our local community.
This lively ensemble is equally adept at the oldies as they are with their German Folk and Oompah music favorites.
Their band leader, Wilanna Jo Vogel, widely recognized as one of Illinois’ top accordionists, complements their brass and percussion, giving this small group a big German Band sound.