1886 -The first attempt
In 1886, a few music enthusiasts laid the foundation from which the actual HMD emerged. 19 people met at the 'Café Gindt' in Tattenberg and called to life a music society. Unfortunately, for mostly financial reasons, after 9 years, this first try fails.
1896 - The birth of the band
Only one year later, they give it another try. Under the name of 'Musikgesellschaft Düdelingen', on the 11. July of 1896, they resurrect the band. This day is now considered as the official birthday of the HMD.
Under our first conductor, Fr. Pommerelle, we participate in 1897 at a first music contest organised by the UGDA and we are awarded the 1st price for musical execution. After some more undocumented turbulences, we keep going on with some excursions and concerts in Ettelbruck (1904), Brussels (1905), Rumelange (1906) and Vianden (1906).
1907 - On the 4th August 1907, the town of Dudelange reaches 1.000 inhabitants and therefore is declared City of Dudelange, which allowed us to be called Municipal Harmony of Dudelange, 'Harmonie Municipale de Dudelange', the name we still have today. The following years are a musically fruitful period, with many contests and competitions won, but financially, those efforts brought the HMD to the brink of bankruptcy.
1914 - The first World War
The financial situation being back on track in 1914, our band sees the outburst of World War I and plays concerts for the benefit of the victims of the war. But not only the world war makes life difficult; an internal dispute in the band makes it even worse.
The musicians find their conductor's way of treating them and the pupils intolerable. They ask for the dismissal of Mr. Bertiaux, which is refused by the responsible from the board. The members then ask the whole board to quit, which finally results in the conductor being sacked at the end of 1918.
Learning from the mistakes of the past, the band decides not to leave the musical education solely to the conductor - there was no conservatory or music school those days - but also hires 2 assistants to help him with this important task.
In 1920, the band counts at that time 49 musicians, wins the national band contest organised by the UGDA with the highest score in all disciplines.
1921 - 25th anniversary
In August of the year 1921, we celebrate our 25th anniversary.
For this event, the three bands from Dudelange at that time, Concordia, Fratellanza and ourselves give concerts throughout the whole city.
A merger of our band with the Concordia is attempted, but does not finalise.
A first sort-off uniform is ordered in the form of hats for everybody, a complete uniform being too expensive.
In 1928, the UDGA classifies our band in the top national division of that time, where the best bands in the country challenge us and we win all competitions. To recognise our effort for the whole reputation of the city of Dudelange, the mayor grants us the amount needed to get a full uniform.
1932 - In 1932, we play in front of the largest audience till now.
Over 5.000 people are at our concert on the 'Champ de Mars' in Paris, and their applause (as reported by the press) is unimaginable.
1933 brings new tensions and the whole board plus the conductor are replaced.
Charles Lanser replaces M. Bohnenberger as our conductor.
1934 - 1934 brings another two 1st prices at the national wind band contest.In 1935 our band makes a trip to Heidelberg and Rüdesheim in Germany
In 1937 the musicians get new uniforms and start the preparations for next year's competition.
1938 - The contest in Diekirch in 1938 is a great success.
All disciplines are won by our formation with the special encouragement of the jury.
The situation for our band seems to stabilise.
Musically and economically, the band is on the rising track.
Trips to Wiesbaden and Nice combined with concerts help to bring our excellent reputation over the borders of Luxembourg.
1939 - Our band develops into an important part of the cultural and social life in Luxembourg.
Every manifestation in the City of Dudelange is now unimaginable without the presence of our band.
Trouble seems far away at that time.
But soon, this is going to change.
1940 - World War II and the German Occupation
World War II with the occupation of Luxembourg by the Nazis brings our darkest hour. Only the energetic work of President Francois Berwick and his loyal help from Nic Bastien, Ad. Bissen, René Bontemps, J.P. Gindt, Jean Neiseler and Marcel Soffiaturo prevent the band from being dissolved. The Nazis want to use our band for their propagandistic work, which encounters considerable and steady resistance of our musicians.
The band is put under control of the 'Gesellschaft für Deutsche Literatur und Musik'. Our band as well as the Concordia are dissolved and re-organised under the name 'Stadtmusik Düdelingen'. The uniforms are changed and the band's repertoire is re-orientated. The musicians sabotage the rehearsals and refuse to participate at local propagandistic manifestations. Only the 'Hämmelsmarsch', being a part of our 'Volksgut' (folk art), is tolerated.
This refusal leads to the band not being able to participate in those manifestations. Which in turn causes more pressure from the Nazis. Every musician who does not participate at the propaganda-marches has to personally excuse himself in front of the 'Ortsgruppenleiter', with the threat of losing his work or being deported. The band uses every possible imposed manifestation to call back from the deportation former members of the band. War rages on and the pressure becomes unsupportable. To escape the obligation of supporting the nazis in their propaganda, the band as a last solution switches to a form of symphonic orchestra, which does not have to participate in the SA-Marching Band.
1944 - The Liberation
On the 9th September 1944, the Germans leave our country with the arrival of the Americans. At the end of WWII, the band takes up the rehearsals with only 25 musicians left. But, only those brave men helped our band to pass those difficult times.
On the 13th October 1944 the band gives is first post-war concert and the earnings are donated to the deported people and the victims of the concentration camps.
1946 - 50th anniversary
On the 20th and 21st July of 1946, HMD celebrates its 50th anniversary. Together with the 'Biergaarbechtermusek' (Miner's Band) and Concordia, various concerts are organised in different places. Then band gets new funds and can order new music-instruments to keep the pace with the growing number of active musicians.
The municipality decides the foundation of a music-school, to give musically motivated people a chance to get a solid knowledge in performing music.
In the year 1947, the band already counts 60 active musicians.
But again, new internal conflicts threaten our future. A new conductor is needed and Pierre Schonckert takes over the post of René Eiffes.
In 1949 the 3 bands from Dudelange find a way to co-ordinate their issues and problems.
A first concert of the 3 bands performing together is put under the direction of the former conductor of the Luxembourg Military Band, Fernand Mertens.
Another musical highlight is achieved at the contest in 1952 in Ettelbruck.
The year 1953 sees the first female musicians in the band.
1955 - Les Sables d'Olonnes
The year 1955 brings one of the biggest successes for our band, our participation at the international wind band contest in 'Les Sables d'Olonne'. Among 50 bands from all over Europe, we win the 1st price. And, guess what, we have a recording of the some of the pieces performed. Just click on the red button on the left to listen to that historical document!
This international success attracts new musicians and in 1956, we already count 89 active members.
This evolution reaches its peak with 92 musicians in
1957, the year of the 50th anniversary of the City of Dudelange.
In August 1957, 124 musicians and members participate to a trip to Konstanz at the 'Bodensee'. Also, in 1958, new uniforms are ordered. In 1959, the band makes a trip to Misano Mare at the Italian Adria. In 1961, a trip of 7 days to Munich is organised.
After 30 years of activity in our band, Pierre Schonckert takes his well-deserved pension and during a last concert he passes the musical lead to Eugène Weber.
1963- A brilliant result in 1963 at the national band contest brings us in the highest possible musical division at that time. (Division Honneur A)
In November, a concert is given with the title "Gala d'Operas".
Our band takes a vacation in Bordighera, with excursions to Juan-Les-Pins and Monte Carlo.
Furthermore, a separate drum-band is created 1965 as part of the band in order to enhance the band's presentation at marches and other manifestation.
1969 - The first youth band
In 1967, we have 17 pupils inscribed at the local music school.
To help the problem with the continuity in the band and recruit new young musicians, the first youth band of the HMD is created in September 1969 under the lead of John Fellerich. And we even have some sound samples available...
The remainder of 1969 year as well as 1970 are busy with the preparations for our 75th anniversary.
1971- 75 Years HMD
All the musicians and the members work hard to make our 75th anniversary an unforgettable event. To start the festivities, we give a concert to celebrate the partnership between our city and Manom in France. Then, we give a remembrance concert for Jean Eiffes, a famous luxembourgish composer and former conductor of our band. On the 6th June, we inaugurate a new flag, designed by Frantz Kinnen.Although the weather does not contribute to our joy and tests the water resistance of our brand-new uniforms, the festivities are a big success.In September, to recover from the stress of blowing the candles, we regain forces on the Italian Adria.
1972 - During the preparation for the next national band-contest, our conductor leaves the band and is replaced by Francois Tommasini, and therefore we retire from the contest for this year.
Our president August Gretsch leaves us forever and is replaced by Fernand Wagner.
Amongst many concerts that year, a concert held in the high school for boys in Esch-Alzette, is recorded and aired by Radio Saarbrücken.
1973 - Through the intense work of our new conductor, we are ready to face the challenge and participate at the national contest.
And to the surprise of all, we pass the test and are accepted in our first attempt to the highest possible division in national wind band music ("Divison Nationale")
In October, the new sports centre Rene Hartmann is inaugurated with a concert from our band.
1974 - During the following 2 years, the band is working hard to increase its musical skills. Up to 5 rehearsals per week were needed to get to the desired level!
1976 - We are ready to face the international band-contest 'La Lyre d'Or' in Vichy (France). But we had a bad start in the competition. During the opening parade where every band made its marching appearance, one of our members, Michel Reiff, gets a heart-attack while playing and dies.Under those circumstances, we still make a 3rd place among international competitors.
We showed great courage and dignity in this contest. Somehow disappointed not to be able to dedicate the first price to their fallen friend, the band returns home.
1977 - President Fernand Wagner is replaced by Jean Zeimetz.
A campaign titled 'Ech gin an d'Stadtmusek' (I join the municipal band) to attract new young musicians does not live up to the expectations. Musically, a trip to Burscheid in Germany with 2 concerts in front of a full house highlights our agenda. That's also the first year, where we participate in the 'Dancing Las Vegas' hall in Dudelange at the 'Bal des Camisards'.
1978 - The national band contest in the year of 1978 puts us in second place, only missing the top spot by one point from the jury. At the end of 1978, we give a concert together with the mixed choir "Sängerfreed" from Bettembourg, celebrating the music of Jempy Kemmer.
1979 - Three concerts are played together with other ensembles:
on 1st April, in Differdange together with the HM Differdange and HM Schifflange
on 22nd April, in Bettembourg, again together the choir "Sängerfreed" and
on 12th May in Ettelbrück together with the HM Esch-sur-Alzette and HM Ettelbrück.
To assist the president in its representative functions, Mr. Bontemps and Mr. Fairon are promoted to vice-presidents.
1980 - Our agenda is somewhat overloaded with 109 events, such that 15 concerts have to be rejected!
One of the highlights of this year is a concert in Paris in front of an enchanted crowd.
As reported later by the press, the director of the French music-federation as well as some composers could not believe that they were listening to an amateur orchestra.
1981 - We produce our first and only studio record at the Linster-Studios in Frisange. This is also the last big event under the lead of François Tommasini, who resigns after 9 work intensive years and passes control to Marc Müller.
1982 - We switch from the old rehearsal room in the town hall to a bigger one in the "Wolkeschdahl" school.
1983 - The year 1983 bears a bad surprise: 3 days before the spring concert, our conductor gives up, and so the concert has to be postponed. A new conductor is found in the person of Francis Schummer.
Also, the post of the president is taken over by Joseph Elvinger, Jean Zeimetz quitting because of health problems.
Various concerts in Oberauerbach (D) and Bouzonville (F) among others are the musical highlights of this season.
1984 - 1984 kicks off with a well-attended concert in the Theatre of Luxembourg-City.
A concert in Trier (D) also stands out from all the other regular appearances.
Really bad weather during our traditional 'Bësch-fest' (forest celebration) has a large negative impact on our annual budget.
1985 - 1985 is marked by the national wind band contest, at which we finally do not participate due to a lack of competitors. Only three bands attend that year's competition!
It is also the year, in which Grand Duchess Charlotte dies.
1986 - 1986 brings a victory at the national wind band contest in Schifflange.
Under the direction of Jean-Marie Grimler, the youth-band is resurrected.
Our gala-concert that year is supported by the jazz-quintet "Artscenic".
1987 - Our long time friend and active musician Camille Soffiaturo dies.This year's vacation takes us to Cesenatico in Italy. Musically, we contribute to the visit of our Grand Duke Jean.
1988 - Marcel De Marchi leaves us forever in 1988.
1989 - For a change, we visit the brewery in Bascharage. Some 50 thirsty members attend this important event. Musically, our gala and a concert at the Place d'Armes have to be mentioned among other duties.
At the 1989 Gala-Concert, Francis Schummer passes over the musical control to Christian Gregorius.
1990 - Our youth band still keeps going on and some of the younger ones have been integrated into the 'Big' formation. A group travel takes many of us to the music fair in Frankfurt.
The first European wind band contest in 1990 at the Luxembourg conservatory earns us the 8th place, just in front of the other Luxembourg bands.
Two German composers from the former GDR, Otto Wagner and Siegmund Goldhammer, visit our band and perform as guest conductors.
1991 - In July, we provide the musical part at the international CSIO Horse-Jumping Contest in Oberanven.
At our traditional 'Cäcilien Familjen-Feier', long-time and most active members are honoured. René Bontemps is decorated by the UGDA for 65 years of musical activity!
Our president Jos Elvinger resigns due to professional reasons. Also, our secretary Romain Champagne puts down the pencil. The post of the secretary is provisionally taken over by Romain Haas, who is still doing the job today.
A new president is found in the person of Armand Reuter, at that time already member of the board.
During our annual general assembly, the 'Bauere-Kapell' (Farmer's Band) provides the musical entertainment.
1992 - The musical direction of our youth-band is taken over by Marc Rehlinger, at that time active musician on the french horn.
After a concert in Mondorf, we have a good time at the Restaurant Kohn in Altwies, where we perform a march specially written for the Restaurant - in that restaurant, of course!
In June, we raise money through concerts for the charity organisation 'Kriibskrank Kanner Tchernobyl' (Aid for kids with cancer from Chernobyl).
That year's vacation goes to Bellaria.
To encourage young children to learn music, we perform with our youth-band a concert for school classes, presenting music in an attractive and educational way.
The 1992 gala is well visited, and our fans are (as always) satisfied.
1993 - Several concerts are given, amongst others two "Jempi Kemmer" Memorial Concerts in Esch-Alzette (L) and Trier (D), as well as a concert at the Echternach Basilica (L) and one in Guise (F).
Unfortunately, in 1993 our long time friends and members Marcel Soffiaturo, René Bontemps and Charel Fellerich leave us forever.
1994 - A concert with the music of Norbert Hoffmann at the Luxembourg conservatory is another highlight. Nico Gindt, our drummer, performs an unforgettable hilarious version of Jerry Lewis' typewriter sketch.
That year's vacation goes to Palma de Mallorca.
At the end of 1994, we have the pleasure to perform during our gala concert the Concerto for Cello and Orchestra by Friedrich Gulda, featuring Christian Jüttendonk, a member of the philharmonic orchestra of Luxembourg, as soloist.
1995 - In 1995, we are invited for the first time to play at the Arsenal in Metz (F), with again the Cello Concerto in that evening's repertoire. The public is pleased with our performance and so, this isn't our last performance in this great concert hall.
At the peak of its musical level, the youth band has reached a point where all the musicians are members of the 'big' orchestra, and so its main target to recruit youngsters bring them up to speed for the HMD was missed due to a lack of new pupils. The youth band is only re-activated with new members in 1997.
1996 - 100 years HMD
Two world wars and many other hiccups later, we still keep going after 100 years.
The love for the music kept us all on track during all those years.
Our anniversary is a firework of cultural events. Some of the highlights:
A trombone workshop + concert with the "Quatuor de Trombones de Paris" (Michel Becquet, Jacques Fourquet, Alain Manfrin, Gilles Millière)
A workshop for our band followed by a concert under the brilliant direction of Philip Sparke himself.
A concert by the Harmonie Municipale de Ettelbruck
A clarinet-workshop with Piet Jeegers and his Clarinet-Choir
A concert by the Harmonie St Joseph Nederweert (NL)
A concert by our national Military Band
A concert by the Deutsche Bläserphilharmonie with Stephen Mead as soloist.
In late 1996, Marc Rehlinger, the former conductor of the youth band, takes over the HMD.
The highlight of the 1996 Gala Concert is the performance of Schumann's "Konzertstück für 4 Hörner" (concert piece for 4 horns) with the Liège Horn Quartet as soloists.
1997 - Some impressions from the "Hämmelsmarsch"...
In December 1997, the new youth band made its first appearance at the Gala concert.
1998 - 1998 brings again a new conductor: Marc Meyers, a young dynamic musician which grew up in the HMD. Actually Marc is the youngest conductor we ever had.
From that year on, the traditional gala concert is given a theme, such as a given composer, a region, etc. This is started in December 1998 with the gala concert which has the theme "New York"
1999 - Spring 1999 brings the "Russian Concert", and December 1999 sees the Italian evening.
2000 - 2000 is rather busy; there are 4 main events:
The spring concert in March with the "Concerto Humoristique" for bass clarinet and orchestra by the luxembourgish composer Walter Civitareale.
A trip to the Alsace in May, combined with 2 concerts.
The Arsenal 2000 concert in Metz (F) in October.
And finally, in December, a very British Gala 2000 - "Great Britain"
2001 - The HMD Big Band is founded. In February 2001, a concert under the title "The Soloists of the HMD" is organised, and after many great solos of several musicians, the Big Band makes its first public appearance. Consequently the Gala 2001 (theme: Fiesta Latina) features many Big Band elements.
And another project is finally realised: Aged 105 years, the HMD goes online at www.hmd.lu !
But there are also sad news: trombone player Erny Weis dies unexpectedly in October '01, and on 15th November, Victor Schalz, bassist and archivist, dies after long illness. Thanks to his work during the years 1965 to 2000, the HMD has one of the best managed sheet music archives.
2002 - Whoever thought that the concert given in Metz in the Arsenal with the performance of Modest Moussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition was the highlight of the year, was wrong. In December the HMD performs Igor Stravinsky's Firebird Suite - which in fact is a first for a luxembourg amateur wind band.
The youth band is renamed to "Young Harmonists Diddeléng" and has a rehearsal and concert week in Oberägeri (Swiss). The Complesso Bandistico di Fagagna visits Luxembourg.
Our ex vice president and member of the committee Jean Fairon dies.
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