STORY OF THE GERMAN-AUSTRIAN MUSIC AND BENEFIT ASSOCIATION OF JOHNSTOWN, PA.
October 15th, 1885, flve musicians—Frank Wehrberger, Frank Thomasberger, Frank Partsch, Ernest Heinrich and Alois Koenig, composing a string orchestra, met in Charles Oswald’s hall on Clinton Street and formulated a plan to organize in Johnstown an association of German-Austrians.
It was the idea of these men to form a musical society for the benefit of their fellow-countrymen and to promote their welfare, as at that time their countrymen were not numerous in this locality. In order to further the interests of this society the original founders solicited among the German-Austrians to learn their attitude towards the formation of such an organization, and found the majority so enthusiastic that they had a meeting called November 22nd, 1885, in the Oswald hall. There were present twenty-two men who expressed their desire to become members of the organization. The names of these organizers were as follows: Frank Wehrberger, Frank Thomasberger, Frank Partsch, Ernest Heinrich, Alois Koenig, Ferdinand Bittman, Joseph Riedel, Robert Riedel, John Lux, Frank Lux, Joseph Stahr, Joseph Wildner, Charles Bischof, Edward Groeger, Frank Heinrich, Charles Partsch, Ernest Bishop, Ernest Klein, Ernest Springer, Julius Bishop, Joseph Heinrich and Theodore Warner.
Organizers, Left to right:
Front row: C. Partsch, Joseph Heinrich, Sr., Robert Ridel, Frank Lux, Julius Bishop, E. Springer.
Back row: E. Heinrich, Sr., Theodore Warner, E. Bishop.
Absent when photo was taken W. Moschget.
It was then decided that the name of the organization should be “Austrian Musical Society” and that the main object would be to further the interests and development of music. The first officers elected were: President, Frank Thomasberger, vice president, Joseph Riedel; secretary, Ferdinand Bittman; treasurer, Frank Partsch; director of music, Frank Wehrberger.
The monthly dues were fixed at twenty-five cents, and the initiation fee at one dollar. At the beginning regular meetings were held every first and third Sunday in the month, but later the first meeting became a directors’ meeting and the second a general business session, a rule that has prevailed to the present day.