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Young German Band musicians from Cleveland in 1967.
The DMV was founded in 1967 as the Deutsche Musikschule – auf Englisch the German Music School – by Stefan Bell and other members of Branch 1 of the Alliance of Transylvanian Saxons at the Westside Sachsenheim. Open to everyone and supported by the dedication of Saxon families and countless volunteers, the Musikschule provided private lessons to students of all ages and gave them the opportunity to play with multiple performing groups under the organization’s music director, Herbert Kusber.  
Two trumpet players in lederhosen and dirndl playing outside.

Our History

Young German Band musicians from Cleveland in 1967.
1968 - 1979

The organization enjoyed a rich history of cultural events, travel and education – many of which happened during this time. When Peter Glatt – who also directed the Cleveland Donauschwäbische Blaskapelle at one point – joined the Musikschule as the music director the focus moved away from classical repertoire to dance music. During the 1970s they performed at Milwaukee Fest, had several appearances on Polka Varieties, performed on the stairs of the Capital Building in DC and had their first European tour in 1977 organized by Rudi Mueller.

Three women in dirndls and one man in lederhosen poing for a picture.
1980 - 1989

The Musikschule had provided excellent music instruction to hundreds of children in the Cleveland area, but times were changing. The performing groups began to dwindle and the membership to continue just wasn’t there. It was time for a change. With help from Paul Psota the Musikschule was renamed the Deutscher Musik Verein – auf Englisch the German Music Society – with a stronger focus on performing and entertaining. The DMV continued to support young musicians by giving them the opportunity to play with a band of high caliber musicians where they could expand their music skills.

Five guys in lederhosen.
1990 - 1999

In the 1990s the DMV saw a great resurgence. Fred Ziwich came on-board as Herr Direktor and new members joined the band – many of which are still with us today. The DMV began to expand its repertoire and became a mainstay in the Cleveland German community as a top-notch performing organization. A new band was emerging by the end of the 90s. As the band continued to grow it was time for the next big step, planning their first trip back to Europe in over 20 years.

Two trumpet players in sombreros.
2000 and beyond

In 2000, 2007 and 2017 the DMV toured Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic including performing at the Hofbräuhaus in Munich and receiving acclaim for their performances and sharing gemutlichkeit with their sister organizations abroad. During this time the DMV produced a couple CDs, performed at the opening of Hofbräuhaus Cleveland and was featured on multiple episodes of the Mollie B Polka TV show which aired nationally. In 2013, the DMV moved its rehearsal location to the Donauschwaben German-American Cultural Center – aka Lenau Park – in Olmsted Township. 2015 will go down as one of our busiest performance years with 29 performances which included monthly performances at the new Hofbräuhaus Cleveland. In 2017 we celebrated our 50th Anniversary. Our group perseved the challenges of 2019 & 2020, coming out stong and ready for a great fest season in 2021. As we look to 2022 we are getting ready for our first Jägerfest since 2019, scheduling fest events for the new year and beginning to look at when a future trip back to Germany will work for us.

Exterior sign for the Sachsenheim Hall.
Sachsenheim Hall

From 1967 to 2013 the DMV called the Sachsenheim our home at 7001 Denison Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio. We loved it there but needed to make the move from the Sachsenheim as part of the continued growth the DMV is having. If you are in the area we recommend you stop in and say hi to Grumpy and Moe – it’s hard to beat Grumpy’s food. Checkout their Taco Tuesday, it truly is one of the best in Cleveland! Check them out on Facebook, You can also find out more about the history of the Sachsenheim at

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