Author Archives: Paul Niemisto

VBF 2019 USA Bands: Territorial Brass: Arizona’s Official Historical Brass Band

Territorial Brass was formed in February 1987 and was quickly recognized by museums across Arizona as an entertaining living history resource. Dressed in turn-of-the-century costumes, Territorial Brass captures the golden age of the American town band. This twelve-member ensemble specializes in 19th century American brass band music, playing authentic arrangements from 1835, through the Civil War, to Arizona’s year of statehood. It is the goal of Territorial Brass to replicate the brass bands that were active in Arizona and New Mexico during the territorial period. This is the first time that Territorial Brass has performed at Vintage Band Festival.

Territorial Brass

VBF 2019 USA Bands: Imperial Cornet Band

Photo credit: Rob Mesite Photography

The Imperial Cornet Band performs music of the World War I era. Music by Sousa, George M. Cohan, W.C. Handy, Irving Berlin is featured along with selections written and performed by James Reese Europe of the famous 369th Infantry Division, the “Harlem Hellfighters” Regiment. Their programs give audiences a chance to hear what this music sounded like performed by a small band and gain insight on how music was used to further the war effort at home and on the battlefield.

The Imperial Cornet Band performs under the auspices of the Maryland Military Band and is conducted by Jari Villanueva. Mr. Villanueva and several other musicians in the band have played at Vintage Band Festival in the past as members of the Federal City Brass Band or the 26th North Carolina Regimental Band.

Mark your calendars so you can stop by and say hello and hear their concerts of WWI era music!

Thursday August 1 at 8 PM Reunion Restaurant, 501 Division St S, Northfield, MN 55057

-Friday August 2 at 10 AM “The Yanks Are Coming!” Jari Villanueva’s lecture on WWI Bands, Weitz Center for Creativity on the campus of Carleton College in Northfield.

-Friday August 2 at 4 PM Way Park, 720 1st Street West Northfield, MN 55057

-Saturday August 3 at Noon Battle of the Bands Bridge Square, Northfield, MN
-Saturday August 3 at 2 PM Bridge Square, Northfield, MN
-Saturday August 3 at 6pm Northfield Cemetery, Veteran’s Memorial Concert

-Sunday August 4 at 1030 AM Church Service at First United Church of Christ, 300 Union St, Northfield, MN

VBf 2019 Minnesota Band: Brio Brass

Brio Brass

Brio Brass has delighted and entertained audiences throughout Minnesota’s Twin Cities Metro area since 1999. Composed of more than 50 adult musicians, the group performs its own unique arrangements written specifically for its members. The ensemble’s large repertoire features a broad spectrum of musical styles. Audiences are entertained with fluid ballads, pop of all eras, show tunes, funky rock and lots of jazz. All of the music that Brio Brass plays has been composed or arranged by the director, Rick Rueckert. He has written more than 200 arrangements and compositions. Expect lots of humming, toe tapping and even dancing in the aisles! Brio Brass will play at the Bridge Square Main Stage for VBF 2019 on Sunday, August 4 at 2 p.m.

Brio Brass

VBF 2019 USA Bands: Independent Silver Band

Independent Silver Band (IL)

In 1884 to 1889 the prosperous and energetic Illinois community of Mt. Vernon enjoyed the music of its own Independent Silver Band. In July, 2004, the music of the Independent Silver Band came to life once more. It was composed of 10 local men, all of whom attended the same church and Sunday school. By bringing together interested brass players and percussionists from Mt. Vernon and surrounding cities and towns in southern Illinois, the Independent Silver Band assembled the proper team of dedicated persons. They all shared the vision of giving audiences the chance to hear the music of a bygone time. The band leader of Independent Silver Band is William Reynolds.

Independent Silver Band at VBF 2016

VBF 2019 Minnesota Bands: 34th Infantry Division Band

Officially organized 30 April 1900, the 34th Infantry Division Band has proudly served state and nation for over 114 years, seeing service in WWI, WWII and the Global War on Terrorism. Whether performing for the public, supporting military ceremonies, or entertaining US Service members and our allies, the Soldier-Musicians of the Red Bull Band are honored to serve in one of the US Army’s most respected Divisions. The 34th Infantry Division Band performs many free public performances throughout Minnesota, including the Minnesota Music Educators Conference, the Minnesota State Fair, and Vikings and Twins sporting events among others. The Red Bull Band will be performing on Saturday, August 3 at 4pm on the Bridge Square Main Stage.

34th Infantry Division Band “The Red Bull Band”

VBF 2019 USA Bands: Newberry’s Victorian Cornet Band

The musicians of Newberry’s Victorian Cornet Band are dedicated professional and semi-professional brass, reed, and percussion players whose performance is as close to that of a late 19th-century professional touring band as is possible today. Like bands from that era, the group ranges from six players to a full ensemble of 30. It usually tours with 17 reed, brass and percussion players. The band plays only music that would have been heard between the end of the Civil War and the advent of the Sousa Band in 1892, primarily dance music. Concerts feature the most popular examples of polkas, waltzes, quicksteps, schottisches and mazurkas, as well as the march. The band is conducted by Elisa Koehler and managed by Michael O’Connor. Newberry’s Victorian Cornet Band will be playing on the Way Park Stage at 1pm on August 2 and on the Bridge Square Main Stage at 5pm on August 3.

VBF 2019 Concerts in Nearby Communities

Most of the performances at Vintage Band Festival 2019 take place in Northfield, Minnesota. However, on Thursday, August 1, the first day of the festival, some VBF bands will be appearing in other communities to share the spirit and the music with a regional audience. All of these concerts will be free and open to the public. Tell your friends!

Newberry’s Victorian Cornet Band

Red Wing

Newberry’s Victorian Cornet Band

August 1, 7pm, First Lutheran Church, 615 W. 5th St.

 

 

 

 

Original Drachenfelser Musikanten

Montgomery

Original Drachenfelser Musikanten

August 1, 7pm, Memorial Park

 

 

 

 

À Râse dè têre

Nerstrand

À Râse dè têre

August 1, 7pm Grace Lutheran Church, 301 1st St. S.

 

 

 

Owatonna

Territorial Brass

August 1, 7pm , Central Park

 

 

Kentucky Baroque Trumpets

Cannon Falls

Kentucky Baroque Trumpets

August 1, 7pm St. Ansgar’s Lutheran Church, 7459 Hwy19 Blvd

 

VBF International Bands: FinnBrass and Original Drachenfelser Musikanten

FinnBrass is a “project ensemble” that was formed to do tours and performances. They are made up of players from two communities in Finland, Kokkola and Kronoby. They specialize in performing traditional Finnish brass music from earlier decades. They represent a wide range of professions (from education, to medicine, to technology and engineering). Their instrumentation is based on the traditional village brass band of the 1800s. This is FinnBrass’s first appearance at Vintage Band Festival.

 

Coming from Germany is Original Drachenfelser Musikanten, a folk music brass band reflecting the Rhineland tradition of the Drachenfels Mountains. Masters of polka, the band features a tenor horn, trumpet, tuba and accordion. Their leader, tuba player Erhard Schwarz, was at the VBF for the first time in 2006 and is a noted specialist on such exotic instruments  as the ophicleide and helicon. Drachenfelser have been regular participants in the Vintage Band Festival in recent years and have a dedicated fan club among the locals of German and Czech traditions. Original Drachenfelser Musikanten has previously played at Vintage Band Festival in 2010, 2013 and 2016.

Vintage Band Festival has an new HQ

Mickaylie and Landry

Vintage Band Festival Headquarters is now open for business at 19 Bridge Square in the Northfield Office of Business and Tourism. Hours of service will be 1pm-5pm Monday-Friday. The phone number is  507-581-2360. Our email address is vintagebandfestival@gmail.com

The office will be staffed by two student interns from St. Olaf College: Mickaylie Bade and Landry Forrest. Mickaylie is a rising senior English major with a concentration in Women’s and Gender Studies and Landry is a rising sophomore with the goal of a Bachelor of Arts in Music and Arts Organization Management.

Find souvenirs, get information, make a donation, stop by to say hello!

A Brief History of Vintage Band Festival

What is Vintage Band Festival?

Vintage Band Festival (VBF) is designed to celebrate the beautiful downtown of Northfield, Minnesota as an outdoor music performance venue and an attractive destination for local music and history lovers, as well as for tourists from all over the United States.

VBF strives to create a high quality music listening experience that will satisfy and be memorable; to cultivate the historical theme of our city through emphasis on historical music, dress, dance, and ambience; and to use the entire city as an outdoor performance venue, including parks, retirement centers, as well as Division St areas, and churches.

VBF engages the cooperation of many interested local organizations, institutions and businesses in a united effort to accomplish a great cultural event and to reach audiences of all ages and backgrounds with a wide variety of performances.

VBF has become a destination for nationally and internationally known wind bands as well as for regional and statewide groups.

Mariachi mi Tierra at VBF 2018

Background and History

The “Vintage Band Music Festival” was founded in Northfield in July 2006. The motivation for this new festival stemmed from often-expressed general feeling among Northfield arts supporters that the city is a ready-made outdoor performance venue waiting to host a significant event. VBF was an idea developed by Artistic Director Paul Niemisto, inspired by his previous experiences with similar festivals such as The Kaustinen Folk Music Festival in western Finland, the Lieksa International Brass Week, held annually in eastern Finland in late July, and the Great American Brass Band Festival in Danville, Kentucky, the only other event of its kind in the U.S.

Matterhorn Alphorns at VBF 2006

Another motivator for 2006 Festival came from having the International Society for the Promotion and Research of Wind Music, (International Gesellschaft zur Erforschung und Förderung der Blasmusik) and the Historic Brass Society hold their joint academic conference concurrent with the VBF event. The idea of a “major music festival” and “a major international music conference” taking place in Northfield began to develop in 2002, and the resulting synergy allowed for a successful outcome for both events. The academic conference, while not essential to the VBF festival, did lend the whole event an importance that was significant for the inaugural event. The Historic Brass Society returns for each large conference. (http://www.historicbrass.org/)

The models and subsequent plans for the first VBF 2006 created a success far beyond expectations. 50 musical performances were presented in 2006 by 20 ensembles over four days. Additional festivals have taken place in 2010 (4 days), 2013 (4 days), 2014 (1 day), 2015 (1 day), 2016 (4 days), 2017 (1 day), and 2018 (1 day). Recent multi-day events now have 35 or more bands and present more than 100 performances in the Northfield/Dundas area and surrounding communities.

Today Vintage Band Festival has an international reputation and  enjoys a treasured place in the cultural life of southern Minnesota. VBF 2019 will take place August 1-4, 2019.

–Paul Niemisto