The AlpenBand California started in the foothills of El Dorado Co in 1988. We were a backup instrumental trio (accordion, trumpet, tuba) for a singing duo in the Placerville area. In 1992 we split from the duo and became a quartet adding a female singer. We also came up with the name Die Brueder von Karlsruhe. Our music was mostly German folk with a bit of American pop. Our venues expanded into the Sacramento area.
In the year 2000, we reorganized and became the AlpenBand California, a 4-piece group (accordion, trumpet, clarinet, and drums). We updated our music to today’s Volkmusik genre, adding the modern Oberpolka style. Whereas Polka has always been nicknamed Oompah with a 2/4 feel, the Ober style is a 4/4 style. This also launched us into disco polka, disco samba, and other current up tempos. We also changed from the typical German dance or polka band into high energy performing band with special costumes and even new audience participation dances.
In 2005 we added a bass player to the group and expanded vocals from solo and duet to 3, 4 and 5 part.
Over the years we have performed throughout the West, including Las Vegas, Leavenworth, Puyallup and Spokane Wa, and pretty much the entire northern California area. Our audiences have ranged from a few hundred to 9000.
We keep up each year with what happens at the current Oktoberfest, bringing into our repertoire the latest hits from Munich. We are known to write our own music and can surprise the audience with polka conversions of Rock and Roll. Our performances include audience participation in song and dance. We often teach the modern AlpenBand Boarischer or AlpenBand Shuffle. We often get a visit from the Chicken Dance Chicken and even Genghis Khan.
It is not uncommon for each of the performers to bring other instruments to performances beyond those listed as each plays multiple instruments in various voicings.
Our instrumentation and personnel:
Kevin McKnight – Leader, Trumpet, Euphonium, Alphorn, Vocals
Bob Jones – Soprano and Tenor Sax, Vocals
Jim Gallegos – Bass, Vocals
Roberto Rosa – Accordion, Vocals
Bill Roberts – Percussion, Vocals