Milwaukee Mandolin Orchestra

BAMC Archive Photos from 1930 - 1959

Most sincere thanks to Charles Schultz descendent Jenny Pientka and Adolph Waech descendent Robert Waech for their valuable photo donations to the BAMC Archives.

Picnic At Waech's

A moment of levity for the Bonne Amie Musical Circle members. This picture shows the members horsing around during a picnic at the Summer home of then Director, Adolph Waech. Waech is standing and smiling, second from the right, with the skimmer. Charles Schultz is crouching, second from the left with cigarette dangling from his lip.

MMO and GK

The next moment of levity for the Bonne Amie Musical Circle. The archives are enriched by having two candid shots of the BAMC membership in such a casual and joyous situation. The photos beg the question, "Why the unseemly merriment?"


This is not a picture of the BAMC, but several members of the group sat in with other similar ensembles. Here are the Rigolettos, led by Austrian/American Joe Schnapp. The Rigolettos formed in 1925 as the "Rheinischen Mandolinenclub." Due to Mr. Schnapp's growing dissatisfaction with the German government in the early 1930s, the group changed its name to the "Rigolettos." BAMC members in this group are: Herman Klimpel, Charles Schultz, Walter Winter, and Walter Becker.

MMO in a boat

When weighing the pros and cons of boating safety versus playing music in an unusual setting, apparently the "fun factor" was key.

MMO in a boat2

Another astounding picture. For a mandolin orchestra research conducted by Paul Ruppa, Waech's neice, Norma Buchta recalled the times as a child when she heard the sweet music that her uncle and the MMO set in the evening air over Lake Keesis.

Waech and the boys

Adolph Waech leads a practice with two friends on Gibson F-4s. Note the spot on the headstock of Mr. Waech's mandolin. It is the official BAMC lapel pin that he had embedded into the headstock of his mandolin. The gentleman in the center has his pin in a more customary display.

Another Keesis Picnic

It appears that Waech took this picture at a BAMC Summer picnic. Identifiable players are Charlie Raasch with the guitar on the left, Joe Kaiser, Walter Jordens on mandolin standing two to the right, Paul Jordens seated with what appears to be a tenor manodola, Lorenz Pagenkop on mando-bass, and Herman Klimpel on octave mandola.

Art Hill's Picnic

Proving again that a live goose adds to a photo, here is a picture of the BAMC in 1952 at Art Hill's cottage in Colgate, WI. Back row: Jake, Herman Klimpel, Roy Thiele, and Joe Kaiser. Middle row: Herb Jeske, Walter Winter, Adolph Waech and Art Hill. Kneeling: Walter Trapp and Ewald.

Ewald's Basement

In the 1950's, BAMC practices still got goofy. Ewald Timm is playing some armadillo-backed instrument backwards. We don't know what Adolph Waech is playing. Herman Klimpel is playing the octave mandola on the left. Next to Klimpel is Walter Trapp who for a short time led the Bonne Amies. Seated third from the left is Jake Skocir with his Gibson mando-cello. The last seated player is mandolinist Herb Karnitz. Guitarist Walter Winter is having a good time in the back row. Is that a quarter barrel and glasses in front of the ensemble?

Adolph Through the Ages

Here are five pictures of BAMC director Adolph Waech. He was 22 when he joined the BAMC. At the age of 19, he started a Gibson Mandolin Orchestra in Milwaukee. Waech was a music teacher and store owner who led a number of ensembles in Milwaukee. He nevertheless, stayed with the Bonne Amies for more than forty years and did as much as anyone to keep the mandolin orchestra flame burning in Milwaukee.

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