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GUS FUHRMAN*Dubuque*East Dubuque

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Page under construction 3/08/05 thanks to  the love of a 90-year-old wife and son of another famous Big Band Leader from the Dubuque to Davenport corridor along the muddy Mississippi.  Thank you Mrs. Fuhrman and son S. John Fuhrman.  Updated July 22, 2005.

 Gus Fuhrman was born in 1909  in Dubuque, Iowa.  To pursue his love of music and work towards  a professional career Gus  took the train  to Chicago for  piano lessons or to Milwaukee for lessons on the accordion.  One can only imagine the sense of adventure it must have been for a teenager from a small town in Iowa to  take the train on Saturdays  to the "big city" during the "Roaring 20's" for his  lessons, returning  late at night to the quiet of Dubuque.
 
    He began his musical career in 1926, while still in high school,  playing in a trio at the Hilltop Casino in East Dubuque, Illinois.  After graduation he moved to Iowa City, enrolled at the University of Iowa,  joined Delta Upsilon fraternity and in 1927, founded his first orchestra, Gus and His Merry Mad Gang of Collegians.   In the mid-1930's Gus returned to his hometown and married Mary Jane Corbett in 1936.  For the next several years, Gus and Jane traveled south for the winter tourist season to play in the nightclubs of South Florida.  There he played at the then famous Jimmy's Bar in Fort Lauderdale in the early evening and then drove to Miami for  late evening gigs. These "Gold Coast" nightclubs featured dinner, dancing and wide open (though illegal) gambling.  The audiences were made up of tourists, baseball players from the spring training camps, and the occasional gangsters on holiday.  Later he traveled the East Coast  with Cato and His Vagabonds
 
    The Gus Fuhrman Orchestra was an ongoing band from the late 1920's until about 1980.  During that time Gus had either a full orchestra or a small trio, combo, or whatever the occasion called for.  Those occasions could be high school proms,  Christmas parties, private occasions, or the numerous holiday parties like St. Paddy's Day, New Years Eve, etc.  Needless to say he was very well known in the small towns in Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin that he brought his music to.  Dance halls like The Dell in Durango,  Melody Mill  and the German Club in Dubuque,  Fairyland Ballroom in DeWitt on Sunday nights, and the oh-so many Country Clubs in the Tri-State area, especially  Freeport and Rockford.  As a life long Elk, Gus also played the numerous Elks clubs in the Tri State area.
 
    For over  50 years Gus Fuhrman shared the stage with many Dubuque area musicians.  Following are the names of some of the 'guys in the band": Ralph "Whitey"  Woelk , "Skinny"  Ellis, Willy Sutter, Ronnie Pline, George Flanders, Mssrs.  Luckritz,  Dewey and Ferris,  Art Trannel, Roy Bowman, Bob Hein, Dick Spautz, Joe Chevalier, Mark Gavin,  Joe Schmidt, and last, but surely not least, his dear and  close friends, Russ Evans on the drums and his wonderful wife, Fanny.   Our apologies go to anyone who has been unintentionally overlooked.
 
    A very sincere thank you goes to Scott Law for putting together this fabulous  tribute to the not-to-be-forgotten musicians of a bygone era.  And to Jane Fuhrman, at the ripe young age of 90, for her unbelievable  memory and help in putting together this short bio. And to the unknown tourist on the Las Vegas Strip in 2005 who upon meeting me asked if there was any chance I could be a relation to a Gus Fuhrman, a man whose music he had danced to 40 years earlier.  Yes, I said, I'm proud to say he was my father.

GUS FUHRMAN Dance Cards Dubuque, Iowa 1926-1927... this will take 1 to 2 minutes to load to pdf Acrobat, but they're worth it!

Handbill courtesy of Gus Furhman's son John 2005
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Dr. George Flanders has supplied the following sidemen of the Gus Fuhrman Orchestra:
 
Charlie Ferris - saxophone; Bob Dewey - bass fiddle
Other sidemen who worked with the Gus Fuhrman Orchestra were:
Myron (My) Biggins - trumpet
Rex Goldthorpe - trombone
Will Sutter - bass
Jack O'brien - drums
 
At first I didn't realize it, but now I do.  Dr. George Flanders forgot to mention that he too was a musician of  the Gus Fuhrman Orchestra.
 
To learn the names of more sidemen, review the the bio of Gus Fuhrman by son John Fuhrman above.
 

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