The first band in Kiel was organized in the 1870s. However, the Kiel Municipal Band didn’t come into existence until March 7, 1928. In 1927 a group of civic-minded citizens decided that the selection of Kiel as the host community for the upcoming 1928 State Firemen’s Convention would bring considerable prestige to the city. They felt that a special band should be organized for the event with musicians from all groups in the city making up the new band.
Jacob Zwickey was the first conductor and held that post until 1934 when Edgar Thiessen, then only 20 years of age, was appointed to serve as conductor. Dr. Thiessen held that post until he died in 1984, at which time Dr. Lewis Schmidt was elected the third conductor of the KMB. In 2012, Dr. Jon Meyer became the fourth conductor of the band when Dr. Schmidt retired from the post.
During the past 95 years, the KMB has been meeting the musical needs of the City of Kiel and the surrounding area, as well as making national and international appearances. Over the years the band has been recognized with numerous honors and awards.
The KMB has performed at music festivals and major events in Chicago; Philadelphia; Washington, DC; Elkhart, Indiana; South Milwaukee; Waterloo, Ontario; and Kiel, Germany. The KMB has also appeared in the Great Circus Parade and the City of Festivals Parades in Milwaukee on several occasions.
Band members range in age from high school students to multiple members who have 60-plus years of service with the band. Many other members have more than 20 and 30 years of service. The KMB members represent a wide variety of occupations. All its musicians are volunteers (and receive no pay for their services), attending rehearsals twice weekly throughout most of the year.