Little German Band

The Little German Band is a popular State College-based group that has been performing around Centre County since 1960.

The band got its start when a group of HRB-Singer employees who were musicians played Christmas carols in the German “oompah” style that features bass horn, trombone, clarinet, and trumpet.

The Little German Band’s music ranges from traditional polkas to more recent songs arranged in the “oompah style.” (Photographs by Vonnie Henninger)

The three original members, Al Brogdon, Dick Greene, and Hubie Haugh, began performing around Centre County, joined by other musicians. By 1965, the group had grown to twenty-six members and was playing about forty concerts a year.

The Little German Band’s music ranges from traditional polkas to more recent songs arranged in the oompah style. The group has released several albums and CDs.

For many years, the band was made up entirely of men, though there was a female singer. In the early 1990s, women began joining the group and playing various instruments. In concerts, the men dress in lederhosen and the women in dirndls.

Guy Rachau of Coburn was the band’s director for 46 years, and numerous band members have performed for decades. Current members include children and grandchildren of original members.

The Little German Band has performed across Pennsylvania, as well as in New York, Washington, D.C., Baltimore, and other cities. The group played for President Jimmy Carter when he visited the Harpster Farm in Spruce Creek in 1989. It also performed for the United States Gymnastics Team during a gymnastics exhibition at Penn State.

The band, which currently numbers about twenty-five members, continues to play at many Centre County events, including the Boalsburg Memorial Day celebration and the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts.  

Vonnie Henninger


Sources:

Little German Band Archives.

Cousins, Connie. “Music continues for Little German Band,” Centre County Gazette, December 30, 2021.


First Published: February 1, 2022

Last Modified: March 6, 2022