After the West Bend Independence Day parade, John Searle, a member of local choir and theater groups, questioned why there wasn’t an adult West Bend band. That December, he met with David Schleif, orchestra director for the West Bend School District, and four other area musicians and the band was formally organized.

John Searle


The first rehearsal was held in the spring, followed by the first concert at Old Settler’s Park on June 28. The band’s first parade appearance was July 4 of that year. Later that year, the “Brass Ensemble” formed, performing Christmas and holiday music. In 1990, the ensemble was renamed “River City Christmas Brass”.

First Concert
First Parade
Brass Ensemble


The “RCI German Band” ensemble formed, performing authentic German blasmusik. In later years, the ensemble was renamed “River City Blaskapelle” (Blaskapelle meaning “brass band”).

RCI German Band



1984-2003David Schleif
2004-2004Keith Reynolds
2005-2014Dr. Daniel Ackley
2014-2015Mitchell Milligan
2016-2021Bill Berlyn
2022-PresentPamela Harrison

Assistant Directors

  • Bart Fojtik
  • Joe Pieper
  • Karen Wachholz