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About Us

Our Organization

Our mission is to preserve and celebrate German musical heritage and culture, develop the musicianship of band instrumentalists, and foster camaraderie among fellow musicians and performers .… and have a lot of fun doing it!


We are a not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) organization. We raise funds through our festival performances, concerts, our annual Jägerfest, and through donations. The funds we raise go towards the betterment of the band through instruments, music, travel costs and supporting other members of the German community in Cleveland.

The Band

We are a Blaskapelle, which is German for Brass Band. However that term is used loosely and often includes woodwinds as well as brass and percussion which is the make-up of the DMV. There are over 50 musicians associated with the DMV and we average 20 – 30 performers at most of our performances but can shrink down to a baker’s dozen if need be. On average we perform around 20 times each year. Primarily we perform across greater Cleveland but have made many appearances throughout Ohio and the Midwest and two tours to Germany and Austria.

Our Performers

We have a very diverse group of volunteer performers - executives, skilled tradesman, teachers, repair technicians, nurses, high school & college students and retirees from all across the Cleveland metro area from past Oberlin to the West, Euclid and Richmond Heights to the East and as far away as Youngstwon. But we all enjoy creating beautiful music, performing and getting together with great people - our DMV family.


Do you play an instrument? Then we should talk! Just because we have a large stable of musicians doesn't mean we don't have space for new members! Some members don't have the time to perform as much as they would like, but they still stay engaged. And guess what, you do not have to be German to join the group and we don't make you audition!

Our Director

Herr Direktor, Fred Ziwich, is one of the seminal musicians in the world of polka. He is one of the most versatile musicians ever on the Cleveland polka scene. A wunderkind on several instruments including the clarinet and button box. The DMV is proud to have the award-winning, Grammy nominee Fred at the helm, bringing his composing, arranging and polka expertise – you need to hear his arrangement of “We’re An Oktoberfest Band.” In addition to his work with the DMV, Fred performs many solo gigs, leads the ISM – the International Sound Machine and has a very health recording life. Check him out on Fackbook, In his free time he enjoys rainbows, the Cleveland Indians and long walks along the beach.

Hans und Franz

Hans und Franz, like Belushi and Akroyd or Laurel and Hardy there just aren’t words to sum them up. These two characters are the animated, dynamic duo of the DMV. From skits to videos they have brought some of the most memorable moments ever seen at many of our Jägerfest celebrations. Watch for more antics from these two wild and crazy guys. You may even see them wandering the streets of Cleveland – if you do, do not attempt to feed the animals and give us a call so we can round them up. Check them out on Facebook,

Our Leadership

The few, the brave, the man behind the curtain…or in our case the men and women behind the curtain. All of the members of the DMV pitch in and help out where they can and we appreciate and thank all of them! But we would like to acknowledge our two boards that deal with all the events, social media, planning, financial, legal, insurance, etc. stuff.

Board of Trustees

Greg Spangler – Chairperson

Christine Fowkes

Hannelore Gross

Dave Goebel

Reiner Mueller

Kenny Ott

Andi Udris

Executive Board

Christine Fowkes – President

Rosie Wittine – First Vice President

Carl Vavpot – Second Vice President

Jim Teubner – Secretary

Doug Marxen – Treasurer

Amy Vavpot – Performance Coordinator


Our Rehearsals
We’re always looking for new performers! If you play a band instrument and live in the greater Cleveland area, please contact us. We rehearse Monday nights (except during the height of 'Fest season!) at 8:30 p.m. Grab your instrument, jump in the car, and come on out to the Cleveland Donauschwaben German-American Cultural Center (aka "Lenau Park"), located at 7370 Columbia Road in Olmsted Township, less than a 25 minute drive west of downtown Cleveland.
Where we call home
Since 2013 we have called the Donauschwaben German-American Cultural Center – DGACC, aka Lenau Park – in Olmsted Township our home. The DGACC is a great club that offers a wide variety of activities for thier members - bowling, soccer, dance clubs, German language school and much more. The DGACC is located at 7370 Columbia Road, Olmsted Falls, Ohio. Stop by for lunch sometime or check out thier Oktoberfest! For more information check them on the web,
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