SAN JOSE, Calif. - How many credit union CEOs can say they've toured Europe with a popular band and plan to do it again in 2007? Jan Meere, president/CEO of $143 million Peninsula Postal Credit Union, has done so and will do just that for a second time. Meere is a member of The Internationals, a 25-year old band that plays traditional German style music including Waltzes and Polkas as well as "rock-Polka." But the four-member band also plays a diversity of music to attract a younger crowd, Meere emphasized, such as Latin, Tex Mex, Dutch, Italian and American standards. A native of Holland, Meere plays most of the brass instruments including trumpet, flugelhorn, baritone, valve trombone and alphorn, that beautifully elongated horn seen in the Riccola cough drop commercials. He also yodels, sings in several languages and started playing his first instrument, the trumpet, at the age of three. The band is so popular that it has gigs booked all the way to Dec. 31 not counting private weddings and events. Beyond California, it has played at numerous Oktoberfests in Texas and New Mexico and is planning to travel to Rochester, N.Y. in the fall for another one of the popular German festivals. In 1997, The Internationals linked up with the Chico Bavarian Band to tour Europe, performing at 10different venues including the "Superbowl" of them all, the Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany. The band will return to Europe in 2007 for another 16-day tour. Meere, who joined the band nearly eight years ago, credits his father, Jan Meere who incidentally was also a credit union CEO of what was then Valley CU in San Francisco, for his love for music. The senior Meere, who passed away in 2004, started a band in the 1960s when the family moved to California. "My dad had been playing since World War II when Holland got its independence," Meere said. "When we moved (to Northern California), there were a lot of German immigrants here. Those numbers have gone down. We love the music so much, we want to keep it going by attracting a younger crowd." The Internationals have become such a hit with the Santa Clara chapter of the California CU League here that this year will mark their fourth year performing at one of their big meetings. As for giving up his day job to become a full-time musician, Meere, without a hint of pause, says no way. "I really love credit unions," Meere said. "I've been bred in credit unions. It's a job that gives me such satisfaction. I'm fortunate to have this other side which also brings pleasure to my mind but I think once you make the switch, it becomes a `job,' and that might take some of the fun out of it." More information on the band can be found at www.theinternationals.com. -email@example.com
Peninsula Postal CU CEO Keeps Music Going with Non-Traditional Polka Band
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