The Sauerkraut Band originated in the New River Valley in 1989 and became popular playing at Octoberfest at the Mountain Lake Lodge and other events in the area. They are back for four special performances.
The Sauerkraut Band is what is known in the United States as an Oom-pah or traditional German Band. This band typically is comprised of 12-14 people and play brass instruments with trumpets and trombones, drums, and wind instruments, to name a few. The full sound of the various musical instruments is complemented with song and of course, lively dance encouraging participation from the audience.
“Most towns would have a community band and they would play outdoors under a gazebo,” Tom Williams, long-time band member said.
Ed Schwartz is the founder of the group and was previously in a military band. He collected music when he was overseas and has a German background.
“We always enjoyed playing Mountain Lake,” Williams said. “Most nights we were sold out or nearly sold out. We were playing there during the filming of Dirty Dancing. There were evenings we played there, and some of the cast would come,” Williams said. “We performed there until 2012, when the hotel went in a different direction… of course, the lake had dried up at that point,” Williams said.
Since that time, the band has traveled around Virginia and surrounding states, including many local breweries. They are available for reservations to perform at events.
Heidi Stone, President and CEO of the Mountain Lake Lodge, is excited to see the band come back for their Winterfest event this January.
“When we rebranded in 2013, we became known for other things like weddings and such. So, we decided to bring them back. It is something people can do in the wintertime,” Stone said.
Mountain Lake Lodge is offering a special package that includes performances by the Sauerkraut Band, a buffet of German cuisine, and a stay in the hotel. The band performance will be lively with lots of community engagement and authentic German dances in their traditional Bavarian-style of clothing. The dates of the events will be January 19, 20, 26, and 27.
More information about the band’s music stylings with audio samples of a couple of their songs can be found on their website at www.sauerkrautband.com or on their Facebook page.
Reservations can be made at www.mtnlakelodge.com or by calling their reservation desk at 540-626-7121.