Welcome to Mildred and Mareen – The Orchestra Years.

Around 1925 my great grandmother Mildred Couch formed an “All Girls Orchestra” (That is how they were billed back then). Rather unusual for that day and age. In addition to being the leader, Mildred also played the sousaphone. Her eldest daughter Mareen joined the orchestra when she was only 15 and played the banjo, piano and did some singing and dancing.

I have recently come across Mildred’s diary and some letters that she wrote to her husband Sigler Couch and youngest daughter Bonnie Couch and thought this would be a good way to share them with family and others who may be interested. I will do my best to post the entries word for word but naturally with the age of the diary, some of the entries have faded a bit. Also, Mildred always spelled Maureen’s name without the ‘u’ therefore that is how I will spell it throughout. For the most part the names mentioned in the diary will be either family members or other members of her orchestra. A lot of the places, restaurants and landmarks will be from around Minnesota, Wisconsin and Illinois. I hope you enjoy!

Mildred and sousaphone ca. 1925
Mildred and sousaphone
ca. 1925
Mareen and banjo ca. 1926
Mareen and banjo
ca. 1926