Author Archives: Paul Niemisto

Vintage Band Festival announces lineup for the 2023 event on July 29

The music at Vintage Band Festival 2023 in Northfield, Minnesota will begin at 9:00 am and continue without interruption until 10:00 pm. Twelve bands from an array of musical genres will perform on the Wenger stage in Bridge Square throughout the day on Saturday, July 29, 2023.

One highlight of the day will be the first appearance at Vintage Band Festival of the Minnesota Pipes and Drums, a nationally recognized competition and performance bagpipe and drum corps based in Minneapolis. Their mission is “to carry on the rich history and heritage of Scottish music”.

Two bands will be returning to perform after lengthy absences: Brass Messengers and the 34th Division Regimental Band, “The Red Bull Band”. Brass Messengers is a street band from Minneapolis whose music originated in the Balkans, Africa and the Caribbean and the band last performed at Vintage Band Festival in 2010. The Red Bull Band is the musical cohort of the 34th Infantry Division of the United States Army, “The Red Bulls”, and currently part of the Minnesota National Guard. They have been deployed on missions around the world and last performed at Vintage Band Festival in 2019.

Other musical traditions represented at Vintage Band Festival 2023 will be New Orleans-style brass, German brass, an all-trumpet choir, a mariachi band, British-style brass, Mexican banda music, and a swinging big band to round out the evening.

Sharing Bridge Square with Vintage Band Festival 2023 is Riverwalk Market Fair. Every Saturday from May -October this weekly gathering features local artists selling their wares including pottery, jewelry, carved wood, granite charcuterie boards, and more. A rich array of local food is available and farmers will be offering products such as organically grown vegetables, seasonal jams, freshly baked breads, yarn spun from their own sheep’s wool, and goat milk soap.

Vintage Band Festival 2023 is free and open to the public. A blanket or folding chair is highly recommended for comfort. Stop by for an hour or stay for the day!

For the complete schedule of performances and important updates, visit For more information about Northfield, visit

Tuba Christmas 2022 in Northfield

There hasn’t been a Tuba Christmas in Northfield since 2019. We’re excited to bring you the following announcement.

Vintage Band Festival is presenting Tuba Christmas 2022 in Northfield, Minnesota on Saturday, December 3 at 3pm. The event will take place in Skinner Memorial Chapel, 405 1st St. E. on the campus of Carleton College. Retired St. Olaf College professor Dr. Paul Niemisto will be the conductor of Tuba Christmas 2022.

Tuba Christmas is an annual event that brings together euphonium, baritone, sousaphone and tuba players of all ages to play Christmas carols for the enjoyment of family, friends and the general public. The music made by dozens of low brass instruments playing as a choir is an experience not to be missed, either as a participant or as a listener.

2022 is the 49th anniversary of Tuba Christmas concerts/events which are presented throughout the world. Tuba Christmas was conceived in 1974 by tubist Harvey Phillips of Indiana University as a tribute to his teacher and mentor William J. Bell, born on Christmas Day, 1902. The first Tuba Christmas was conducted by Paul Lavalle at New York City’s Rockefeller Plaza Ice Rink on Sunday, December 22, 1974.

There are now over 300 Tuba Christmas events produced annually throughout the United States and internationally. Registration for participants in Northfield’s Tuba Christmas will open at noon on December 3. Registration fee is $10. There will be a rehearsal at 1:00 pm and the performance will be at 3:00 pm. Music played at Tuba Christmas will be from “Carols for a Merry Tuba Christmas” which will be available for purchase at registration. Participants should bring a music stand if possible. Details for the event can be found at .

Tuba Christmas 2022 in Northfield is made possible with generous assistance from Carleton College.

Music around town during VBF 2022

Tom Baker’s Mardi Gras Brass

OK, so there’s the fantastic lineups in Bridge Square for four days (Thu-Sun) and Central Park for two days (Sat/Sun) and  the 4 offsite location concerts on Thursday (Farmington, Cannon Falls, Montgomery, and Nerstrand), but is that all there is Vintage Band Festival?

Well, no. Windworks Quintet with play at Fifty North at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, July 29, and at the Northfield Public Library at 2:00 p.m. the same day.

Newberry’s Victorian Cornet Band will play at the VFW Post 4393 Hall at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, July 29. Tom Baker’s Mardi Gras Brass will play at the Contented Cow Pub at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, July 29.

Ameriikan Poijat will play at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, July 30 at Tanzenwald Brewing Co.

Oh, and did we mention that on Sunday, July 31, you can hear Vintage Band Festival bands in 8 Northfield churches?

OK, we’ll stop now. Good luck on getting to each and every one of these shows.

You’re welcome!

To view the complete Vintage Band Festival 2022 Program, click here.

Vintage Band Festival opens with Brass Lassie and Selby Avenue Brass Band

Thursday, July 28 at 6:30 p.m. the first notes of Vintage Band Festival 2022 will sound. Brass Lassie, a Celtic band from the Twin Cities with a brass horn component will play the opening set. Brass Lassie is a bold Minnesota-based ensemble combining Celtic music with a big band attitude, performing extraordinary takes on Scottish, Irish and Breton music. Brass Lassie features a four-piece horn section, a great rhythm section, fine fiddle, flutes, concertina and vocals in smart, joyous brass-driven arrangements. The band’s founder and leader is Northfield native Laura McKenzie and Vintage Band Festival is excited for their return to the VBF stage.

The Selby Avenue Brass Band featuring Thomasina Petrus is a relatively new voice in the Minneapolis/St.Paul music scene. The group is led by Tom Wells, tubist, arranger and composer and music educator in the Twin Cities area. Tom’s compositions and arrangements fuel a band comprised of enthusiastic and experienced musicians (including a couple of Grammy winners). While their musical roots come from the streets of New Orleans, they expand from that genre into many others. Thomasina Petrus is a Minneapolis actor and jazz vocalist, known for her signature role as jazz icon Billie Holiday. In 2019 the band did a club gig at the festival, but this is the group’s first appearance at the Bridge Square Legacy Stage. The music starts at 8:00 p.m.

VBF music in neighboring communities

In 2022, the Vintage Band Festival music won’t be heard only in Northfield. We’ll have our bands playing in four different counties! We think of these events as musical evangelism. If you love the concert tonight, come to Northfield tomorrow for three more days of this premier brass band sound.

On Thursday, July 28, four veteran VBF ensembles will give concerts in Montgomery (Le Sueur County), Nerstrand (Rice County), Cannon Falls (Goodhue County) and Farmington (Dakota County).

Independent Silver Band from Mt. Vernon, Illinois, will play at 7:00 p.m. at Memorial Park in Montgomery in the city’s “Concert in the Park” summertime series.

Dodworth Saxhorn Band

Dodworth Saxhorn Band from Ann Arbor, Michigan, will play at 7:30 p.m. at the City Park in Nerstrand.

Also at 7:30, Newberry’s Victorian Cornet Band will perform at St.Ansgar’s Lutheran Church in Cannon Falls. Finally, Kentucky Baroque Trumpets will play at Farmington Lutheran Church in Farmington. The concert begins at 7:30 p.m.

Newberry’s Victorian Cornet Band

If you are in these areas or your schedule won’t allow you to be in Northfield on the festival weekend, visit one of these locations for a rewarding Vintage Band Festival experience.

Stage Sponsors for VBF 2022 are the best!

The number of Stage Sponsors ($1,000+) for Vintage Band Festival 2022 is record-setting. We’ve never had such a fantastic response to our action call! We need to thank the following from the bottom of our hearts:

Carl and Joan Behr

By All Means Graphics (in-kind)

Capital Construction

Carleton College

City of Montgomery MN

City of Northfield (in-kind)

Northfield Rotary Club

Mary Rosenberg

Nan and Dave Shumway

Jan Stevens

Lois and Noel Stratmoen

Three LInks Care Center

Looking for Vintage Band Festival 2022 Volunteers

St. Olaf student Sarah Stevens staffing the VBF 2014 Info Tent


There are many ways to volunteer for Vintage Band Festival 2022. We need folks to help with setup in Bridge Square on July 27 and 28. We also need folks to help with take down on July 31 and August 1.

From Thursday, July 28 to Sunday, July 31 we need folks to staff the VBF Information Tent to take donations, sell merchandise and tell visitors about the festival. We also need people to manage chairs, music stands, and percussion equipment on the stages at Bridge Square and Central Park.

If you have a couple hours or a couple days, please visit our SignUp Genius website and choose your shifts.


Evening entertainment for VBF 2022

Vintage Band Festival 2022 will boast three successive evenings of high-energy entertainment this coming summer.

On Thursday, July 28, the festival kicks off with the return of Brass Lassie, a Twin Cities Celtic fusion band with traditional flutes and pipes backed by a fine group of horns. At 8:30 Selby Avenue Brass Band takes the stage featuring Thomasina Petrus. Expect a wonderful melding of New Orleans Jazz with the blues. Thomasina Petrus is a veteran stage performer and recently starred in a production of “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill” about the life and legacy of Billie Holiday.

Banda La Verdadera


Friday evening begins with Banda La Verdadera at 5:00 followed by Mariachi Mi Tierra at 6:30. Both bands have become crowd pleasers at past Vintage Band Festivals. The final ensemble of the evening is Malamanya at 8:00. Malamanya plays traditional rhythms and melodies from the Caribbean and Latin America. They are legendary in the metro Twin Cities for those who love to salsa and samba. Malamanya is making it Vintage Band Festival debut.


Jack Brass Band

Saturday the music in Bridge Square starts at 9:00 AM, but things really start jumping at 6:00 when Jack Brass Band takes the stage. They play New Orleans jazz with a happy up-tempo style. They call it “feel good music.” Perennial favorites Copper Street Brass are up next at 7:15 and the evening closes with the return of Buddy Koopmans Orchestra. Big band sound with swinging rhythms and great vocals will fill the air.

Buddy Koopmans Orchestra

Northfield Shares recognizes Vintage Band Festival volunteers

April was National Volunteer Month. Throughout the month the Northfield News and Northfield Shares, an advocate of volunteer activism, highlighted several local organizations and individuals in a series of social media posts and newspaper stories. One of the organizations they chose to feature was Vintage Band Festival. During the 16 years that VBF has been in operation, all of the work done to present live band music in dozens of Northfield locations has been performed by volunteers. From the 12-member working Board of Directors to the homestay host families to the majority of the musicians, the volunteer ethic is alive and well. Thanks to all of our volunteers! Read about all of the volunteers honored on the Northfield Shares website.

If you’d like to volunteer to help with VBF 2022, check the VBF website later this month to learn what tasks need doing and when.

Dan Bergeson, Randy Ferguson, Jan Stevens at a recent VBF Board meeting