Custer's Last Band, Part 1
Felix Vinatieri was the first musician and composer of note to have lived and worked in Dakota Territory. Not only was he known for his skill on the cornet and violin, Vinatieri also composed well over one hundred marches, polkas, schottisches, waltzes, gallops, mazurkas, quadrilles, overtures and the first two American operas composed west of the Mississippi. Many of his titles made frequent reference to Dakota Territory including ‘Dakota State Lancer’, ‘Mosquito Bites of the Dakota Waltz’, ‘General Custer, Last Indian Campaign March’, and ‘Sounds From Fort Abraham Lincoln Quadrille’. But perhaps what Vinatieri is best remembered for is his position as Custer’s last bandleader. On this day, May 7, 1873, Felix Vinatieri left his home in Yankton, bound for his new post at Fort Abraham Lincoln.
Tune in tomorrow for the rest of this story.
Written by Christina Campbell