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Copyright 1999-2014

Please pause and listen to Karl and the gang play the Mud Puppy Polka

Property of Gary Brueggen, Ontario, WI 54651

For information, additions or corrections, send message to Karl Hartwich

Copyright 1999-2014 Gary Brueggen


In 1973, at the age of 12, Karl Hartwich got his first concertina (a
Silberhorn) as a combination birthday and Christmas present.  Karl's mom and
dad bought the Silberhorn from Christy Hengel (who manufactured the Hengel
Concertina) in New Ulm, Minnesota.  Karl had never played a concertina before
he'd gotten the Silberhorn as a gift from his parents.  During the seven hour
drive home to Orion, Illinois from New Ulm, Minnesota, Karl was teaching
himself how to play the concertina.  By the time they reached their final
destination, Karl was playing two waltzes and a polka.

Six months later, Karl formed "Karl & The Country Dutchmen".  The original
band started out with only three musicians, consisting of Karl's mom, Norma on
the tuba, Karl's schoolmate, Doug Ihlefeld on drums and Karl on concertina.
Three months later, Karl's sister, Holly took over on drums and another
classmate, Amy Sampson started on trumpet.  Shortly after, Karl's sister Joyce
started playing piano and Karl's dad, Herb Hartwich did the announcing and
some singing. Within a two year span the band grew to six and sometimes a
seven-piece band.

Karl has owned six concertinas since he first started playing.  The concertina
he currently uses is a Hengel that he has had for approximately 18 years.
Karl has played in at least 30 states, the Caribbean, Europe, Mexico, and in
1998 the band was chosen to represent the State of Wisconsin at the
Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington D.C.  Karl and his band were also
filmed for two television specials (River of Song and Wisconsin Folks) in 1997
and 1998.  Karl has also played for Garrison Keillor.

In the early years, Karl's dad drove the band from job to job since Karl was
too young to drive.  All those miles have taken its toll on 1 truck and
camper, 3 cars, 4 vans, 3 buses, 1 motorhome, and 7 trailers.  Karl has about
20 of his own original tunes.  The most popular tune is his very own "Christmas
Toy Polka".  Another favorite of the crowd is "Flasher on the Rhine".  The
amazing thing about Karl is that he does not read music, nor does he write
music.  Karl plays all of his music by ear.  Karl has nine recordings
available on cassette tapes and compact discs.  Some of his recordings are
still available on records.  Karl has also played and recorded with several
other bands.

Schedule of Dances, Concerts, etc.
Recordings; LP's, cassettes, CD's
Songs Karl Composed
Photo Gallery of the Band