Snohomish Sauerkraut Band bids farewell

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The energetic Snohomish Sauerkraut Band began on a lark over 50 years ago and has become a long-time entertainment feature at regional parades and watering holes.

SNOHOMISH — Well, it’s a wrap. The end of the show, and the end of an era. Two Saturday nights ago, in a jubilant and somewhat emotional reunion, the famous sauerkraut band Snohomish called it quits. Gathering at the American Legion Post on First Street, the band played, reminisced and entertained the modest crowd that had gathered.
For over 50 years, the band has brought smiles and laughter to people all over the Northwest. Performing in parades, events and fundraisers from Winlock to Williams Lake, Concrete to Conconully and Bellingham to Butte, the ‘Krauts were never without invitations.
What began as a tentative effort to ensure the 1968 Kla Ha Ya Days parade had a marching band (since the high school marching band was in Europe that year) became an instant hit. Founder Art Schwartzmiller, a local jazz trumpet player, and several other prominent musicians from the area have been the core of the group for years. As time and membership passed, new blood kept coming in, eager to share in the fun of entertaining people with music and “schtick”.
Mike Guyot, the band’s business manager said: “I’ve never met a better group of people. They will do anything for you, and for anyone else too. The good music they play is just a bonus.
In recent years (well, before 2020), the group has partnered with the Seattle Seafair Pirates to host a Christmas celebration for adult citizens with special needs. The band also sponsored music scholarships to Snohomish High School and made regular contributions to local charities and families in need.
At the last gathering, a number of members shared their thanks and best wishes. The hats were tipped towards the band’s only original member, Jim Werder. Jim was always there, and always in rhythm with his kraut-rock snare drum.
Gordon “Animal” Taylor, the band’s “artistic” leader, was at a loss for words. “It was a good race, so much fun, so many memories.”
On behalf of the Snohomish community, we say thank you for the memories. The ‘Krauts are gone, the ‘Krauts are gone, tra la, tra la, tra la!

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