Stories from the Grave

Desire Maes: 1861-1946

Posted May 12, 2020

When I hear the expression, “He toots his own horn,” I get a bad impression of the person. I think he is a braggart or vain, someone to avoid. But in my case, I DID toot my own horn…a cornet. I tooted it most of my 84 years. I am Desire Maes, and if you’ve been to the Allouez cemetery walk, you’ve met me.

I began “tooting my own horn” after I immigrated to America. I joined Kimball’s Silver Band, organized in Green Bay in 1884. We were given bright new instruments and white uniforms with gold trim. The city, thrilled by our appearance and music, kept us engaged at park and indoor concerts and other functions. Though popular, the Silver Band disbanded after 5 years.

When M. J. Heynen formed a men’s concert band in 1902, I became one of the founding members of that band. The band, now known as Green Bay City Band, will be starting its 118th consecutive season this summer.

Obviously, I won’t be “tooting my own horn” as I passed away in 1946.