Erika has continued to build upon the long-lasting vision and timeless tradition that was started by her father and grandfather. Serving as the band’s current leader and business manager since 2006, Erika also plays steel drum in the band. The group’s lineup also includes multiple vocalists, trombones, trumpets, saxophones and a full rhythm section.
Four generations strong, Erika’s daughter, Emily Muench, 19, performs regularly with the group. Her younger sons, Franz Horton, 7, enjoys singing and percussion, and John Horton, 9, has taken up the accordion. Erika’s older son, Thomas Muench, 16, is musical as well, but he is passionate about taking pictures at their performances. Several of Franz Jr.’s and Bill’s children and grandchildren have also been apprentices and active members of the group.
Reflecting on 90 years, Klaber said younger generations continue to get involved in the group, and the band continues to have more opportunities to perform, nationally.
“I think the other thing that sets us apart is our ability to connect with the audience. We’ve really tried to put on a show and entertain,” Klaber said.
She said the Friday, Feb. 21 concert will focus on the big band era with songs from The Great American Songbook featuring the music by greats like Glenn Miller, Duke Ellington and Benny Goodman. Audiences can expect to hear iconic classics like “In The Mood,” “Moonlight Serenade,” and “Sing, Sing, Sing.”
The second half of the concert will follow the evolution of big band music from the big, band era up to today. Audiences will also hear newer arrangements like Michael Buble’s “Save the Last Dance for Me,” and Queen’s “Crazy Little Thing Called Love,” done in a big band style, which was also arranged by Buble. Additionally, there will be a multi-media presentation highlighting the big band era.
Along with the 90-year tradition, the group is best known for keeping the German heritage alive in Southwest Ohio. They also host their own New Year’s Eve dance, a popular event in Hamilton that draws a sell-out crowd.
With an extensive touring schedule, the group performs locally, regionally and nationally at Oktoberfest celebrations in Cincinnati, Columbus, Cleveland, Indianapolis, Lexington, Nashville, and St. Charles, among many others. They have also performed at Disney’s Epcot Center and Yuenglings Oktoberfest in Bethlehem, Pa., as well as at Wurstfest in New Braunfels, Texas, one of the nation’s largest Oktoberfest celebrations.
HOW TO GO
What: The Klaberheads host "An Evening of Big Band"
Where: Parrish Auditorium, Miami University Hamilton, 1601 University Blvd.
When: Friday, Feb. 21, 7 p.m.
Admission: Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. Tickets may be purchased online or at the door the evening of the concert, if available.
More info: www.Klaberheads.com. Call (513) 218-6017 for wheelchair and handicap accessible seats.