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Sunday, February 04, 2007

Custer's Last Band Leader

Is Indianapolis Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri a genealogist? He's certainly familiar with one ancestor who narrowly avoided the fate of his patron, General George Custer.

My great-great grandfather [Felix Vinatieri] came over on a boat from Italy, entered the country somewhere on the East Coast and joined the military and got stationed at South Dakota as our government was heading west. He hooked on with Custer, who was a big music fan. My grandfather was a composer, and Custer really enjoyed him, so he did some symphony work for him. The band was there not only for marches but for entertainment, as a morale-booster. They knew at Fort Meade that they were going into some hostile areas, so they left the band behind. Thank goodness for my family that they decided that – I think one horse made it back from the Little Big Horn. Other than that. ... [Link]
At the Vinatieri Archive of the National Music Museum you can listen to, among other tunes, Felix's "General Custer, Last Indians Campagne March"—composed just months before the General met his end.

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