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FUERSTE, F. Hunter

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Dr. F. Hunter Fuerste is one of the Midwest's most accomplished physicians and musicians.

FUERSTE, F. Hunter. (Dubuque, IA- ).

                   My suspicion is that physicians think he's a doctor who
                   dabbles in music and his musical friends think he's a
                   musician who dabbles in medicine.

While a student at DUBUQUE SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL, Fuerste studied trombone with Tom Richards who performed with the Paul Hemmer swing band. After graduation, he attended North Texas State University and majored in music. Even after deciding to change the direction of his life's work to medicine, Fuerste disrupted his undergraduate studies from 1976-1977 to play trombone with Guy Lombardo's Royal Canadians. In 1977 he performed with the orchestra at New York's Waldorf Astoria Hotel on what was to be Lombardo's last nationwide New Year's Eve broadcast. He then attended the University of Iowa School of Medicine, interned at the Los Angeles County Hospital and did his residency at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. (1)

Fuerste returned to Dubuque as an ophthalmologist but quickly resumed his music. He played trombone with Hemmer's band and arranged some of the music performed for dances. In 1991 he became the musical director of "Show Boat," the first summer-long show performed at the GRAND OPERA HOUSE. He was also president-elect of the DUBUQUE ARTS COUNCIL and played trombone in two local musical groups he organized. (2)

In 2000 he introduced the Iowa Medical Society, of which he was president, to "Dubuque Brass Quintet" which since has annually performed “sell-out” Christmas concerts. Fuerste introduced his American Vintage Orchestra in October, 2000. Featured at the annual Glenn Miller Festival and on Music Television, it performed music of the 1930s and 1940s that he transcribed by hand as he listened to old 78 rpm records. (3)

He spent more than two years creating “Swing Out! The Big Band Show” which performed sell-out concerts annually in Dubuque as well in other locations around the Midwest. The show features recreations of the original hits of Glenn Miller, Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey, Artie Shaw, Benny Goodman, Harry James, and Count Basie. In addition to a fourteen piece big band, the two hour program features singers, dancers, and a special tight harmony vocal group, "The Penthouse Serenaders." The band jackets were made in Hollywood as authentic recreations of what was worn at the time. The RCA 44 microphone, typical of the era, is used to deliver the warm, smooth sound of the day. Hunter is featured on the trombone solos originally performed by Tommy Dorsey. (4)

Fuerste worked as an opthalmologist at The Fuerste Eye Clinic with his brother, Rommel, and sister, Gretchen. The family business in 2008 had eighty years of history. It was founded by his grandfather, Frederick, who practiced medicine as an eye, ear, nose and throat specialist. His father, Frederick, was an ophthalmologist. In 2000 Fuerste was president of the Iowa Academy of Ophthalmology. Among his writings in the field is "Lacrimal Intubation in the Primary Repair of Midfacial Fractures" with Dr. Gerald J. Harris which appeared in Ophthalmology, Volume 94, Issue 3, March 1987 (Online: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0161642087334669) and "Epibulbar Osseous Choristomas with Scleral Involvement" with Russell Gonnering, Bradley N. Lembke, and Paula R. Sonneland in  Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Volume 4, February, 1988. Online: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/20001009_Epibulbar_Osseous_Choristomas_with_Scleral_Involvement)

In 2002 Fuerste received a distinguished service award from the Iowa Academy of Ophthalmology, was inducted into the Grand Theater Hall of Fame, and received the FIRST CITIZEN AWARD. (5)



1. Voight, Sandye, "Master of Music, Medicine" Telegraph Herald, January 1, 2002, p. 1

2. Ibid.

3. "Hunter Fuerste and his American Vintage Orchestra," Online: http://www.hunterfuerste.com/aboutus.html

4. Ibid.

5. Voight

"2010 Season of the Arts," Julien's Journal, October 2010, p. 47

"175 Years" Vol. II Telegraph Herald, p. 115