Gustav Hilverkus

Left: Gustav Hilverkus performs at an Easter Sunrise Service on Mount Rubidoux. Right: In 1915, Marcella Craft, shown in this photo by the cross, performed “The Holy City” instead of Hilverkus

Hilverkus traveled to the U.S. in 1893 to perform with a German band at the Chicago World’s Fair. He initially settled in Des Moines, Iowa, but came to Riverside and directed the Riverside Military Band. The band, formed in 1900, is Riverside’s oldest band. Under Hilverkus, the band played frequently at the Fairmount Park band shell and also at funeral parades. Hilverkus also led the band at the original Riverside High School, located at 9th and Lime Streets.

Hilverkus was the featured performer at Riverside’s first Easter Sunrise Service, organized by Frank Miller and held on Mount Rubidoux on April 11, 1909. He played “The Holy City,” a favorite of Miller’s, on his coronet. This music was part of the service for most of the years the Miller family was involved, and Hilverkus performed the piece for 16 years with one interruption. In 1915, Riverside international opera star, Marcella Craft, sang the piece instead.

Many of Hilverkus’s students went on to professional careers in music.