Have you ever wanted the chance to get to know a Music Hall of Famer? The Rosemount Town Pages interviewed Clem Brau, who still entertains his peers at The Rosemount every Thursday afternoon with a song selection spanning nine decades. Brau performed professionally, with his bands The Clem Brau Orchestra and The Jolly Lumberjacks from 1937 until New Year’s Even of 1985 and was inducted into the Minnesota Hall of Fame in 1995.
Brau was 8 when he decided to start a band. By the time he was 14, he could play trumpet, alto sax, piano and clarinet. He began to play with a local band called The Knights of Harmony.
At age 15, Brau decided to form The Clem Brau Orchestra, writing and arranging all the music playing trumpet, clarinet and saxophone. Two years later the band booked six nights a week at the Nightingale Club in New Ulm.
After being drafted in WWII, Brau enjoyed playing with the United States Air Force Band and was the youngest member of the Hammer Field Bombasies. He played with celebrities such as Kay Kyser, Danny Kaye and Red Skelton. After his honorable discharge, he reformed The Clem Brau Orchestra and started The Jolly Lumberjacks, a polka and waltz band. Brau specialized in rearranging twelve-piece band arrangements into eight-piece arrangements. The two bands played for the next forty years.