MMHF Jamboree serves up warm memories of Schmidt/Schuft band

Staff photo by Clay Schuldt Concertina player Brian Brueggen said he was honored to play in the tribute band for Earl Schmidt and Jerry Schuft. He also wished to acknowledge Marville Schmidt (far right) for her support of upcoming musicians. He said she gave “a lot of us our first chance to play” and called her the “Grandmother of all Concertina players.”

NEW ULM — For the first time in three years the Minnesota Music Hall of Fame (MMHF) was able to hold its Concertina Jamboree fundraiser.

The musical fundraiser served to raise money for the Hall of Fame, but the previous two years faced extreme weather that forced the cancellation of the event. This year, aside from the extreme cold, the fundraiser continued.

MMHF Assistant Executive Director Bonnie Ubl said the turnout was great. Many of those who attended the fundraisers showed up early to hear the Wendinger band perform or take part in the Concertina Jamboree in the lower levels of Turner Hall.

The big event was a performance from the Reunion Band of Earl Schmidt & Jerry Schuft. In 1960, Schmidt and Schuft organized the Earl Schmidt Orchestra featuring Jerry Schuft. Together they played ballrooms, performed over radio, over TV and went on numerous tours. The group was inducted into the MMHF in 2004.

As part of the fundraiser, Schmidt’s daughter Nancy Buckentine, organized an Earl Schmidt & Jerry Schuft tribute band. Buckentine personally selected each of the Reunion band members including Brain Brueggen, Steve Moran, Rick Kane, Marty Nachreiner, Chics Langen, Gary “Bud” Schrader and David Kroells. Kroells, the band’s drummer, was only original member of the Earl Schmidt Orchestra in the group.

Staff photo by Clay Schuldt The Turner Hall Dance floor filled up fast for the Earl Schmidt and Jerry Schuft tribute band. The musical fundraiser brought in dancers from all over the region.

Before their performance, Brueggen said he travelled from Cashton, Wisconsin to play this concert for Kroells and for Schmidt’s wife Marville Schmidt. He said Marville was responsible for helping many young concertina players their first chance to play. He gave Marville the honored title “Grandmother of all Concertina Players.”

The Earl Schmidt and Jerry Schuft Reunion Band gave two performances Sunday afternoon with a performance from George’s Concertina Band in between.

The Hall of Fame fundraiser had no fiscal goal. Ubl said the extra money helps cover the annual costs of changing the displays in the hall and other upkeep.

MMHF Executive Director Nathaniel Sperl said they are also working a new computer system for the Hall and creating a new interactive website to better help visitors research inductees.

Anyone wishing to donate to the MMHF may send donations to MN Music Hall of Fame, P.O. Box 1 56073.

The winter hours for the MMHF are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays only. In April, the hours will expand to 10 a.m to 2 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The Hall is always open by appointment.