After a blistering July in the midwest, last Saturday turned out to be a spectacularly comfortable day in Northfield, Minnesota for the 2023 edition of Vintage Band Festival. The heat has returned to the 90s this week so we feel incredibly lucky for the weekend reprieve.
The music was fantastic, the audience was fabulous, and the setting was beautiful. If you were there you know what I mean! Thanks to the musicians for their skill and passion, thanks to the audience for being engaged, and thanks to our donors for their tremendous financial support. Thanks to the City of Northfield and our other community partners for their assistance, and thanks to Riverwalk Market Fair and their vendors for another successful collaboration. Thanks also to our food vendors: Little Frida Taco Shop, Maui Wowi, and the Knights of Columbus. We sincerely appreciate all of you!
Please stay in touch over the next many months until we can do this again in the summer of 2024. And don’t forget to mark your calendars for Tuba Christmas in Northfield on December 2, 2023 or the Tuba Christmas that’s closest to wherever you are.
It’s the day before VBF 2023 and all through Bridge Square, not a brass tune was heard, not even a note! That will all change on Saturday and the following bands will be a big help.
Kicking off the day at 9:00 am will be the New Prague Area Community Band. They’ve been our opening act on Saturdays as long as any of us can remember and we’re grateful to them and their fearless leader, Rush Wagner, for breaking the musical ice.
Right after New Prague finishes, we’ll welcome the Sheldon Theatre Brass Band coming to us all the way from Red Wing, Minnesota. The band was founded in 1989 as the resident performing ensemble at the then newly-restored, turn-of-the-century T. B. Sheldon Theatre in Red Wing. They have played at every Vintage Band Festival!
At noon on Saturday, say hello to the Twin Cities Trumpet Ensemble. Their ranks include 24 of the most talented trumpet players in the state of Minnesota. It’s always a kick to find out what new music they’ve added to their repertoire since the last time they were at Vintage Band Festival. Don’t miss their performance!
At 4:00 pm as the sun is passing over the Cannon River to the west, the stage will be set for Metro Brass, the mid-size band with a massive sound. Led by virtuoso trumpeter, Keith Thompson, the band is sure to put on a most entertaining show.
Closing out the day at 8:45 pm will be the Bend in the River Big Band. They will give us the swing music and the classic big band sound that will make sure you get out of your chair and your comfort zone and dance the night away. Vocalist Linnea Marrin will provide the lyrics to all of the tunes that you have been humming to yourself for the past oh so many years.
All in all it’s going to be a wonderful day. Join us, won’t you? Saturday, July 29, 2023 in beautiful Downtown Northfield MN. Get all the details at vintagebandfestival.org.
As part of a “Senior Outreach” project associated with the 2023 edition of Vintage Band Festival, there are three bonus concerts taking place in Northfield during the week preceding VBF 2023 on July 29.
The first features Northfield’s own FiftyNorth Band and takes place Monday, July 24 at 4:00 pm at the Northfield Retirement Community Chapel, 900 Cannon Valley Drive West, Northfield. Facial masks are required for those attending the performance.
The second bonus concert is a celebration of baroque and renaissance era music by the Northfield Early Music Ensemble. The performance will be given at the Northfield Public Library atrium on Tuesday, July 25, 2023 at 4:00 pm.
On Thursday, July 27 at 7:00 pm, RAVE Brass will present a lively show at FiftyNorth, 1651 Jefferson Parkway. RAVE Brass is a subset of the Rosemount (MN) Community Band and has musicians from Rosemount, Apple Valley, and Eagan in its ranks.
All three concerts are free and open to the public.
Based on the traditions of New Orleans brass bands, the Jack Brass Band is an ambassador of the Crescent City’s rich musical history. The 8-piece band plays “Feel-Good Music” for audiences of any age and any occasion. JBB has the ability and repertoire to play everything from old New Orleans jazz from Louis Armstrong’s era, to the modern street Mardi-Gras anthems with the instrumentation, feel and energy they have mastered through countless gigs, parades, festival appearances and trips to New Orleans to listen, learn and play alongside the masters.
Jack Brass Band takes the stage at 2:00 pm in Bridge Square on July 29, 2023.
Members of Bavarian Musikmeisters hail from southern Minnesota and model themselves after traditional German village bands, lederhosen and all. The band’s 35 musicians perform authentic musical arrangements on a variety of brass and woodwind instruments: flute, clarinet, trumpet, flugelhorn, tenor horn, baritone, trombone, tuba and percussion. They perform for numerous events in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area and have performed at Germanic festivals in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa and South Dakota, as well as at the German-American Mardi Gras Association annual meeting in Las Vegas.
Bavarian Musikmeisters will perform at 1:00 pm on July 29 at VBF 2023.
The most common form of pipe band, the Scottish/Irish pipe band, consists of a section of pipers playing the great highland bagpipe, a section of snare drummers (often referred to as ‘side drummers’), several tenor drummers and usually one, though occasionally two, bass drummers. The entire drum section is known collectively as the drum corps. The tenor drummers and bass drummer are referred to collectively as the ‘bass section’ or as the ‘midsection’. The band follows the direction of the pipe major; when on parade, the band may be led by a drum major, who directs the band with a mace. Standard instrumentation for a pipe band involves 6 to 25 pipers, 3 to 10 side drummers, 1 to 6 tenor drummers and 1 bass drummer. (Minnesota Scottish Fair & Highland Games website)
Vintage Band Festival relies heavily on volunteers to stage its annual events. Without our loyal donors and helpers, we couldn’t do what we do. If you’re interested in joining us on July 29 and you have a couple hours to help out, we’d love to meet you and give you a set of tasks. You could help us with set up on Friday afternoon and Saturday morning, you could work in the information tent recording donations and answering questions or you could help us on Saturday evening as we close out the show and put stuff away.
Minnesotans are fortunate to have a number of bands that focus on Mexican and other south of the border musical traditions. Two of the best (in our opinion!) are veteran performers at Vintage Band Festival and we’re excited to welcome them back to Northfield in 2023.
Banda La Verdadera
This high-energy Minneapolis band is a favorite Vintage Band Festival performer. Banda La Verdadera plays a type of traditional Mexican music that features brass instruments, woodwinds, drums and singing. The band performs a variety of musical forms, including rancheras, boleros and cumbias. They are in high demand in Minnesota and we’re lucky to have them back in Northfield in 2023.
Mariachi Mi Tierra
The mariachi ensemble is the only ensemble that requires the vihuela and the bass (guitarrón mexicano). These two instruments are the rhythm section. There’s no other ensemble in the world that uses them, except mariachi. If you go to a festival or a party and they say they have mariachi and they don’t have a vihuela and a bass, it’s not really Mariachi. The rest of the instrumentation is pretty straightforward. They include trumpets, violins, and vocal singers.
Mariachi Mi Tierra is the oldest Mariachi ensemble in the Minneapolis and St. Paul metropolitan area. Rosalio Castro (trumpet), who formed the group in 2003, has played various Mexican styles of music since he was in his teens. Eduardo Castro (also trumpet) is the group’s director. Together, the Castros have brought together a group that produces the full sound of authentic mariachi in Minnesota.
Mariachi Mi Tierra will perform at 5:00 pm on July 29, 2023 and Banda La Verdadera will take the stage at 6:00 pm. View the complete schedule for VBF 2023 here: https://vintagebandfestival.org/vbf-2023/ and check back for any updates.
Brass Messengers are a Minneapolis street band playing mostly original music inspired by global sources. The BMs formed from the annual rubble of of the Heart of the Beast Mayday Parade and Ceremony in Minneapolis. The musical origins were found in the music of Africa, the Carribean and Balkans, but now the BMs play whatever works, throwing in a country song to the crying drinkers, a high speed polka or two for the midwest dancers, running in circles with the little ones, activating gatherings of our activist kin or a bit of Black Sabbath for the metal crowd. But mostly, it is an original music that rises from the heart of the band that can only be described as a homegrown Minneapolis street music sound.
The Messengers play stages large and small, events from parties to bars, large theaters to street parades and funerals. The Mess have been a part of the HONK community for nine years running, attending more than ten HONK festivals in Sommerville, Seattle and Austin, TX.
Vintage Band Festival 2023 will take place on Saturday, July 29,. 2023 in Northfield, Minnesota’s Bridge Square. Brass Messengers will take the stage at 7:15 pm.