Author Archives: Dan Bergeson

Thanks to our Sponsors and Community Partners

Vintage Band Festival 2024 is one week away. In past newsletters this spring and summer we’ve been highlighting the bands that will be performing at VBF 2024 on July 26-27. If you missed any newsletters or want to get a refresher, the complete schedule of concerts and all of the band profiles are on our website Just click on the pull-down tab “VBF 2024”.

Today we want to thank our sponsors and community partners for their support. Without their financial and logistical support we would not be able to do what we do. Our Festival Sponsors this year are the Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council (SEMAC), the City of Northfield, JoAnn Polley and Mark Ulmer, Mary Rosenberg, David and Nan Shumway, and Barbara Zaveruha and Glen Castore.

Our 2024 Stage Sponsors are Community Resource Bank, Merchants Bank, David Clarke, David and Martha Brown, Lee Engquist, Tyler and Kari Holden, and Lois and Noel Stratmoen.

A huge shout out to Isaac Leonard at Festival Production Services and Roger Fette at Fette Productions for our stage, audio and lighting tech. Thanks also to By All Means Graphics/Graphic Mailbox for our marketing support, Kathy Bjerke, our accountant and Jim Haas, our donor database manager.

Music Festivals Galore in Northfield

If you think that Vintage Band Festival is all that Northfield, Minnesota has to offer, think again! There are three music festivals in July and one in August. In addition, every Saturday there is an open-air market with produce vendors, food trucks, and artisans of all kinds from 9 am – 1 pm.

Why not stay in Northfield for the summer? This week we’ll explore the inaugural Northfield Jazz Festival.

The Northfield Jazz Festival is set to take off in Northfield, MN on Sunday, July 14. The core of the festival will occur in Way Park from 1 to 5pm, featuring three bands led by Northfield resident jazz musicians: pianist Laura Caviani, vibraphonist Dave Hagedorn, and trombonist JC Sanford. This will be followed by a jam session at Imminent Brewing (519 Division St S #2) in downtown Northfield hosted by Jack Schabert’s Blue Ox Trio. All events are free and open to all ages. Festival Director JC Sanford received a 2024 Southeast MN Arts Council Grant (SEMAC) to fund much of the festival and has partnered with the Friends of Way Park organization to organize the event.

Opening up the festival at 1pm, JC Sanford’s Imminent Standards Trio was named for his frequent appearances at Northfield’s own Imminent Brewing before the pandemic put a pause on live performances. He went on to record two volumes of recordings of jazz standards (Imminent Standards Trio, Vol. 1 & 2), and this performance will feature the personnel of Vol. I, bassist Anthony Cox and drummer Phil Hey. When discussing this group, Scott Yanow of LA Jazz Scene says, “In addition to his fluent technique, Sanford has an expressive tone of his own, a sound that holds one’s interest in this sparse setting.” Sanford still regularly performs in New York City and internationally as a trombonist/composer/conductor and is commonly recognized as a “Rising Star” trombonist in DownBeat Magazine’s annual critics’ polls.

Maintime is a group of musicians that formed in 1999 to explore the music of Keith Jarrett, Kenny Wheeler, Jan Garbarek, and other performers influenced by the ECM record label in the 1970s. The band consists of Chris Olson, guitar, Jay Epstein, drums, Kevin Clements, bass, and Dave Hagedorn, vibraphone. Andrea Canter of Jazz Police has said, “The empathy among these musicians is immediately apparent from the first chords.” Their recording In the Meantime is available on BandCamp, and they will appear at 2:30pm.

For over 10 years, the Laura Caviani Trio has featured bassist Chris Bates and drummer Dave Schmalenberger. For this special performance, they will feature selections from their recordings Confluence and Mysterious Thelonious, along with recently written vocal originals fresh from Laura’s Carleton sabbatical. They also play every Sunday for the First Service at Plymouth Congregational church in Minneapolis. Pamela Espeland of MinnPost described Mysterious Thelonious as a “a joyous romp through ten of [Thelonious Monk’s] tunes, played by someone who knows them intimately yet continues to discover new things about them.” They will close out the Way Park portion of the festival at 4pm.

Though only recently a graduate of St. Olaf College in May, Jack Schabert has already released two recordings as a leader with a third on the way. In additional their frequent performances at Twin Cities venues like MetroNOME and kj’s hideaway, the Blue Ox Trio have also performed at numerous private events and nursing homes throughout the state. The jam session at Imminent Brewing will occur from 6 to 9pm.

There will also be food trucks: Praeliza Fusion Kitchen at Way Park and Deep Roots at Imminent Brewing.

The Northfield Jazz Festival is taking tax-deductible donations for operating support and funding for this year and beyond through their fiscal sponsor Zeitgeist. Any sponsors and/or donors interested in financially supporting the festival or any volunteers looking to be involved should contact JC Sanford at Planning for the 2025 festival is already underway.

Tune in next week when we’ll talk about the Noontime Organ Recital Series in July and the August Bridge Chamber Music Festival.

Laura Caviani, Dave Hagedorn, JC Sanford (photo credit David Milne)

McNasty Brass Band to headline Friday eve, July 26

McNasty Brass Band is a collection of Minneapolis/St.Paul-based horn players and percussionists that fuse the Minnesota metropolitan sound with the spirit of New Orleans. The outcome of this fusion is hard-hitting dance music and high-energy live shows.

Each player works tirelessly outside McNasty Brass Band as a side man, some with national and international touring acts. That’s what makes McNasty special – these youthful but experienced side men come together and showcase their compositions, solos, group vocals and stage presence as front men. “McNasty Brass Band is a perfect example of why you shouldn’t make fun of the kid who is super into trumpet in 5th grade” ( Their recordings King Size Life and MNBB, encapsulate their live energy with exciting compositions, rowdy gang vocals and rip-roaring solos. The only thing missing is their dance moves!

McNasty Brass Band will play at 8:30 pm on Friday, July 26, 2024.

Beasley’s Big Band with Courtney Burton

Beasley’s Big Band with Courtney Burton 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.

Beasley’s Big Band with Courtney Burton will perform at 8:30 pm on Saturday, July 27 in Downtown Northfield MN.

Brass Messengers return to Vintage Band Festival

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.

Brass Messengers will be on the VBF 2024 stage beginning at 6:45 pm on Saturday, July 27, 2024.

The 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.

The Medalist Concert Band will perform in Bridge Square on Saturday, July 27, 2024 at 5:15 pm. This is the band’s first appearance at Vintage Band Festival.

VBF 2024 schedule changes

In an earlier post we announced the incorrect time for the concert by the Minnesota State Band. The band will take the stage at 1:00 pm on Saturday, July 27. The Bavarian Musikmeisters will play at 3:00 pm on Saturday, July 27.

We apologize for any confusion this may have caused. Please refer to the complete schedule on the Vintage Band Festival website for dates and times of all the bands at VBF 2024. Check the Vintage Band Festival Facebook page for any updates.

VBF 2024 welcomes returning friends

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. Their members range from high school students to grandparents, united in their passion for making music that’s enjoyable for all. This New Prague, Minnesota ensemble has been the opening act at Vintage Band Festival for many years and we’re delighted to welcome them back in 2024.

The New Prague Area Community Band will kick off the Saturday VBF 2024 schedule when they take the stage at 9:00 am on 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. Go find them, they aren’t going to come to you!

The performers at VBF 2024 continue: Dirty Shorts Brass Band and Bavarian Musikmeisters

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.

The Bavarian Musikmeisters will perform at 3:00 pm on Saturday, July 27 in Bridge Square in Downtown Northfield, MN.

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.

Dirty Shorts Brass Band will play at 10:00 am on Saturday, July 27 in Bridge Square in Downtown Northfield MN.

For the complete schedule of Vintage Band Festival 2024 visit or the Vintage Band Festival page on Facebook.

VBF 2024: Mariachi Mi Tierra on Friday evening; Minnesota State Band on Saturday afternoon

Mariachi Mi Tierra

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 been playing various Mexican styles of music since he was in his teens. Eduardo Castro is the group’s director.

Mariachi Mi Tierra produces the full sound of authentic mariachi. 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.

The members of Mariachi Mi Tierra have brought a great number of regional and current favorites into the group’s repertoire. In addition to events in the local Mexican community, Mariachi Mi Tierra also plays at schools, colleges, businesses, casinos, and festivals. In 2020, the ensemble enjoyed a residency with the Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies.

Mariachi Mi Tierra will perform at VBF 2024 in Downtown Northfield MN on Friday evening, July 26 at 7:00 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.

The Minnesota State Band will play in Bridge Square on Saturday, July 27 at 1:00 pm.