SYL LIEBL and The JOLLY SWISS BOYS

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Copyright 1999-2010 Gary Brueggen

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Earliest photo obtained so far, that shows Syl playing his concertina.  Does
anyone have an earlier photo of Syl?




This is an early scene showing the band at Wilhelm Oelke's barn dance barn,
southeast La Crosse.  Back row is Ben Fiebig on bass horn and Bill Oelke on
drums.  Front row shows Joe Formanek on clarinet and saxophone, Syl, Jr. on
trumpet, Joe Mader on trumpet, and Syl, Sr. on concertina.  Date is from their
old WKTY days.

Caption for this photo says "In October of 1961 a La Crosse radio station, WKTY,
put the group under contract.  The Swiss Boys started at that time with a half
hour Sunday noon program.  After a short time it was necessary to bring the group
in for a second weekly show which was done as soon as another band completed its
WKTY run, when the spot was filled by Syl and the Band. Syl originated the
          "Swinging Concertina" whereby he swings the concertina above his head."

Here is Syl, dressed up in his lederhosen, getting ready to celebrate one of La
Crosse's Oktoberfests.  Please note how Syl has decorated his hat.




Here, Syl poses with one of his early concertinas, as well as one of his early
and ever-present bow ties.  Rumor has it that when Syl was a young man, he got
his long tie caught in the bellows of his concertina - and never wore one again
while playing a dance job.


Syl Liebl in a familiar pose, with his concertina above his head.  This photo
was taken when he sat in with the Wayne Solberg Band which was playing at
Krome's Bar in West Salem, WI.



Info that came with this 1980's photo, states that Syl has been on radio since
1934 in La Crosse - the past 21 years on W.K.T.Y. - two seasons on television.
Band members at the time are Syl Liebl Jr., 1st trumpet and trombone; Carol
Seebauer (Syl's daughter), Piano; Syl. Sr., concertina; Tom Langen, bass, started
in the band when he was 13 years old; Tom's father-in-law, Bill Oelke, drummer;
          Amy Sampson, 2nd trumpet; Joe Formanek, sax and Norbert Langen, trombone.

Early 1950's -  Radio Station WLCX studio promo photo. Left to right is Joe
Formanek, saxophone; Leo Wuensch, saxophone; Wayne Solberg, trumpet; Gerhard
(Shorty) Stalsberg, guitar; Syl Liebl, concertina; Harold (Curly) Kately,
drums; and Wayne Jerome, bass horn.  Photo taken in 1950.


1962 Oktoberfest photo, taken at La Crosse Airport.  Left to right is Syl Liebl,
concertina; Tom Langen (Rudy's son), bass horn; Carol Seebauer (Syl's daughter),
piano; Rudy Langen, trumpet; Wilhelm Oelke, drums; Joe Formanek, saxophone; and
Syl (Butch) Liebl, Jr., trumpet.


Photo taken at the Concordia Ballroom.  Same crew as above except that Joe
Formanek is missing.




Syl Liebl in Octoberfest garb





1962 Oktoberfest photo, with band in action.  Left to right (front) is Syl Liebl,
concertina; Rudy Langen, trumpet; Syl (Butch) Liebl, Jr., trumpet; Joe Formanek,
saxophone.  Left to right (rear) is  Carol Seebauer (Syl's daughter), piano;
Wilhelm Oelke, drums; and Tom Langen (Rudy's son), bass horn.


This photo was taken sometime after Syl's band started making recordings on Cuca
Records (Sauk City). Regular band members were augmented by Ray Wuensch playing
saxophone (left front).  Notice that Rudy Langen is bringing his banjo along and
playing on dance jobs.


Here, Syl is given an award during his induction into the Minnesota Music hall of
Fame.  There's that bow tie again.




Syl is congratulated by none other than Harold Loeffelmacher, owner of the Six
Fat Dutchmen Orchestra.  Syl is celebrating the event with a Ginger Ale.  Date
is November 02, 1970.



Syl is shown here playing a duet with the young son of Reuben Lorenz.  The event
took place at the Stelloh Country Store in Barre Mills, WI.  Date of the event
is unknown.



Now that Syl has retired, his son, Syl, Jr., is continuing in the music business
with his New Jolly Swiss Boys band.  Syl sometimes makes guest appearances.
This photo shows what Syl enjoys most when he is relaxing, now that he is
retired. Syl calls that drink he is holding, a "Paddy Eyewater".


Daughter Carol and her husband Frank formed the "Daddy's Girls".  After ten years
or so, Frank, retired.  Jeff Langen replaced him as drummer in the band. From top
to bottom in the picture is Jeff Langen, drums; Amy Seebauer, on concertina and
guitar; Lisa Meyer, on fiddle, banjo, and keyboard; Carol Seebauer, on piano; and
Linda Seebauer on bass.  All three girls are featured on vocals.

Here is Syl, playing with his grand son-in-law, Kevin Liss on an unknown dance
job.  Playing drums in the rear is Syl's son-in-law, Frank Seebauer.




Syl, Jr. with his New Jolly Swiss Boys Band. Syl, Jr., on trumpet, is next to
Kevin Liss, on concertina.  Sister Carol is on piano, with husband Frank
Seebauer on drums, Tom Langen on bass and Bernice Celius on trumpet.



     Sylvester E. Liebl, Sr.  Jan 18 1917-May 10 2003

   BARRE MILLS, Wis. -- Sylvester E. Liebl, Sr., 86, formerly of Barre
Mills, passed to eternal rest Saturday, May 10, 2003, at Bethany St. Joseph
Care Center after a courageous battle with cancer.

   Syl was born Jan 18, 1917, to Joseph and Mary (Helget) Liebl in Willow
Lake Township near Wanda, Minn. His parents were Austrian and German
immigrants. Syl married Ann Mary Hohfield on June 14, 1939 in La Crosse.
Life's journey found him working as a poultry man, railroad worker, mason,
carpenter and musician. Syl's musical talent was a wonderful gift, as he
never read a note and could play music by ear.

   He formed the nationally acclaimed Jolly Swiss Boys polka band. He and his
band members entertained people for more than 55 years, playing in all of the
major ballrooms in the tri-state area. Syl had four weekly radio programs on
WKTY for 22 years and appeared on television stations in La Crosse and
Rochester, Minn. He composed numerous songs and had copyrights on 33 of them.
In 1972, he won the "Best Band in the Land" award. Syl was inducted into the
Minnesota Music Hall of Fame in 1993. Induction into the World Congress
Concertina Hall of Fame came in 1997, and in 2001, Syl was honored as an
inductee into the Wisconsin Polka Hall of Fame. He was still playing his
beloved concertina five days before he died.

   Syl was a loving father and grandfather who enjoyed fishing, ball games and
spending time with his family. He was a dedicated member of St. Leo the Great
Catholic Church in West Salem, Wis., and a member of the Barre Mills Lions
Club.

   Sylvester is survived by two daughters, Carol (Frank) Seebauer and Judy
(Dennis) Miller; four sons, Syl (Marce) Liebl, Jr., Lawrence (Jane) Liebl,
Randy (Kris) Liebl and Gregory (Mary) Liebl; 16 grandchildren; 31 great
grandchildren; two sisters-in law, Bernice Hohfield and Eileen Schroeder; one
brother-in-law, Willis Becker; and many nieces and nephews. He was preceeded in
death by his wife, Ann, on May 2, 1997; three sons, Doug, who was also a gifted
concertina player, Richy and Tommy; his parents; and nine brothers and two
sisters. Sylvester will be remembered for his wonderful sense of humor and his
love of polka music.

   A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Wednesday, May 14, at 11 a.m. St.
Leo the Great Catholic Church in West Salem.  The Rev. Robert Hagenbarth will
officiate. Burial will take place in Gate of Heaven Cemetery.  Friends may call
at the Schumacher-Kish Funeral Home of La Crosse on Tuesday from 4 until 8 p.m.,
where a rosary will be recited at 7:30 pm, and at the church on Wednesday from
10 a.m. until time of services.