VBF 2024 Band Profiles: Saturday

Saturday, July 27

The Alphorns

On a typical beautiful evening during spring, summer or fall, Ralph and Mary Brindle can be found playing alphorns somewhere…at home, at local parks, in the BWCA, in the mountains, even out in the snow while snowshoeing! Mary and Ralph play for outdoor weddings, Swiss Independence celebrations, and special occasions upon request. Active musicians with a variety of musical groups in the Twin Cities, Ralph and Mary began playing alphorns in 2004 and are excited to bring some alphorn serendipity to the Vintage Band Festival!

The Alphorns aren’t on a schedule when they perform at Vintage Band Festival. They wander up and down Division Street at their own pace, stopping to perform 10-minute pop-up concerts on street corners and in front of shops.

9:00-9:45 am

New Prague Area Community Band

The New Prague Area Community Band is a dynamic, non-profit organization of volunteer musicians who share a love for playing music that entertains diverse audiences. Our members range from high school students to grandparents, united in their passion for making music that’s enjoyable for all.

10:00-10:45 am

Dirty Shorts Brass Band

The Dirty Shorts Brass Band is local (Twin Cities) New Orleans-style jazz band with ten musicians that have played together in this and other many other bands for many years…as far back as the late 1960s, in some cases. New Orleans-style jazz is a blend of jazz, blues and Dixie, with a strong beat and a street corner feel.

The band has been together since 2010, for the pure joy of performing in front of live audiences everywhere. Venues over the years have included numerous city parks, county fairs, the Minnesota State Fair (several times on the International Bazaar stage), the St. Paul Winter Carnival, churches, fundraisers, weddings, funerals, and private events.

11:00-11:45 pm

Sheldon Theatre Brass Band

The Sheldon Theatre Brass Band was founded in 1989 as the resident performing ensemble at the newly-restored, turn-of-the-century T. B. Sheldon Theatre in Red Wing. The band is made up of cornets, trombones, tenor horns, euphoniums, tubas and percussion. They use the instrumentation of the traditional British Brass Band and play a broad variety of musical styles including original pieces for brass and percussion, marches, orchestral transcriptions, and unique arrangements for brass. In addition to regular performances at the Sheldon Theatre, the band performs at a variety of venues throughout Minnesota and western Wisconsin and has performed at many brass band festivals throughout the United States, including NABBA Great American Brass Band Festival. Jim Kurschner is the Director of the band.

12:00-12:45 pm

The Brian Boru Irish Pipe Band

The Brian Boru Irish Pipe Band from St. Paul, Minnesota was established in 1962 to preserve and advance Celtic piping, drumming, and dancing. They are one of the oldest existing pipe bands in the Upper Midwest. Over the years the Brian Boru Band has become a fixture in parades, celebrations, dances, and an increasing number of private festivities. We play for local, regional, and national events, adding a sense of tradition and spirit of pageantry to every program in which we participate They have performed with the Chieftains, Green Day, Blink-182 and Rod Stewart as well as local acts like The Northerly Gales, Wookiefoot and Mactir Academy of Irish Dance.

The distinctive Irish uniforms — the saffron kilt, black tunic, and black cabeen (beret) with green or red plumes — are modeled after traditional Irish pipe bands. A number of the band members wear the original brass buttons from uniforms of the Irish Volunteers, the very units involved in the historic Easter Uprising in Dublin, 1916. Officers of the Brian Boru Band, recognized by the distinctive red sash worn across their left shoulder, choose the tunes you hear.

Some of the music performed by the Brian Boru Band came out of that fierce era of Ireland’s past. Other pieces are more modern, and many are much, much older — ancient reels and airs, timeless ballads and war marches, and lively, lighthearted jigs.

Every member of the Brian Boru Irish Pipe Band is a volunteer, and each performance represents hours of personal time dedicated to providing our listeners with the finest pipe and drum music available.

1:00-1:45 pm

Minnesota State Band

The Minnesota State Band is the Official Band of the State of Minnesota and has been in existence for over 125 years (since 1898). The band is the only remaining State Band in the United States. While at one time the band received funding from the State of Minnesota, the band is now operated as a non-profit organization with an all-volunteer membership. The Band has represented the State of Minnesota on six International Goodwill Tours since 1986 visiting Austria, Czechoslovakia, England, France, Germany, Liechtenstein, the Netherlands (Holland), Poland, Spain and Switzerland. The band has extensive relations with the Musikverein Ellzee in Germany and with other bands from the countries it has visited.

While international travel is important, the band sees its primary mission as providing high quality music to the residents of Minnesota.

2:00-2:45 pm

The Freier Department

The Freier Department is a seven piece band that effortlessly plays nasty Funk, swingin’ Jazz,and driving Latin music. Ethan Freier, leader and trombonist, has been a band director inNorthfield for 25 years while continuing a busy freelance schedule in the twin cities. In The Freier Department, Ethan is joined in the horn section by Rich Manik on saxophone and Bob Case on trumpet. These are horn players that can blow!

The amazing rhythm section of Bill Chouinard on bass, Northfield resident Steve Jennings on drums, Chris Olson on guitar, and Ted Godbout on keys will keep the grooves deep and the jazz smokin’. Freier’s arrangements of classic funk and jazz tunes are fresh and exciting. The Freier Department will also be performing some of Freier’s original compositions which can be heard on their 2021 album “Dysfunktion”. When you hear this band, you’ll know why these are some of the most sought after musicians in the Twin Cities.

3:00-3:45 pm

Bavarian Musikmeisters

The Bavarian Musikmeisters are a 35-member wind instrument band from the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota that have been sharing the beauty, enjoyment, and history of traditional Germanic band music and culture with people of all ages at festivals, park concerts, senior residences and private parties since 1985.

The Musikmeisters are modeled after the traditional village bands found in the German-speaking areas of Europe. Their attire, instrumentation, and musical arrangements of marches, polkas, waltzes, folk dances, and ballads are all authentic.

4:00-4:45 pm

The Twin Cities Trumpet Ensemble

There is only one regularly-performing 24-trumpet musical ensemble in the United States, and it has its home in the Twin Cities! The Twin Cities Trumpet Ensemble (TCTE) was founded in 2014 by a trio of trumpeters who decided to invite others to join them for trumpet playing and camaraderie. It took only a few months for the group to grow to 24 of the best trumpet players in the area.

Since its inception in 2014 TCTE has had over 100 players in its ranks and has played well over 100 performances. The ensemble has performed 264 works encompassing music from the Renaissance to the present. In 2021 TCTE released its first CD album, “Soundings”.

Under the direction of James Olcott and with an impressive repertoire, TCTE has given numerous successful performances and is in demand for appearances around the region. For variety, the ensemble also boasts a jazz group of six trumpets and jazz rhythm section, and is augmented by percussion/timpani, and occasional low brass.

Fans of the TCTE have come to expect the obligatory opening fanfare at concerts, but then are astonished at the range and virtuosity of both the musical selections and the players. A Twin Cities Trumpet Ensemble concert is a musical feast not to be missed!

Veteran Vintage Band Festival performer, Twin Cities Trumpet Ensemble, will once again perform its magic in Bridge Square this summer..

5:15-6:15 pm

Medalist Concert Band

The Medalist Concert Band, a volunteer group composed of 70 Twin Cities–area musicians, was founded in the fall of 1968. The primary purposes for the band are (1) to provide adult musicians with an opportunity to perform; (2) to provide Bloomington and the surrounding area with outstanding musical concerts; and (3) to provide young musicians with a model of music as a lifelong hobby.

Since its founding, the Medalist Concert Band has given more than 1,000 performances, many of them with high school and college bands, at summer concerts-in-the-park, and in church-sponsored programs. In addition, the band has distinguished itself through invitational appearances at such prestigious events as the Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic, the Music Educators National Conference, and the Minnesota Music Educators Association Conference.

The Medalist Concert Band is proud to have earned a reputation as “one of foremost community bands in the nation,” as described by the National Band Association. The band was the 1996 recipient of the John Philip Sousa Foundation’s Sudler Silver Scroll Award, which is given annually to the top two community bands in the United States.

6:45-8:00 pm

Brass Messengers

The 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 Caribbean, and the 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.

8:30-10:00 pm

Beasley’s Big Band with Courtney Burton

Beasley’s Big Band is a group of musicians dedicated to playing great big band jazz and having fun at the same time.  They are dedicated to preserving a “classic” big band style and  especially strive to honor the legacy of the Count Basie Orchestra.

Founded in 1991, Beasley’s Big Band has played many different venues for a variety of audiences, ranging from corporate parties and ballroom dances to intimate club dates and charity functions.  The name of the band comes from Chuck Beasley, the band’s founder, lead alto sax player, and chief musical arranger. Chuck passed in 2021, but the band and his legacy lives on.  The band’s classic big band sound can be attributed to Chuck, who arranged the majority of the songs the band plays. 

Jazz vocalist Courtney Burton was born to sing and she has been with Beasley’s Big Band for 18 years. With the band or her own combo—Court’s In Session—or a solo piano, she brings style, warmth, and a contemporary spirit to the music of the American Songbook and the swing era.