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Vintage Band Festival 2016 Features Music and Good Stories

July 11, 2016


Vintage Band Festival 2016 Features Music and Good Stories

Artistic Director: Paul Niemisto,; 612-308-6857

Media Contact: Dan Bergeson,; 507-581-0553

Northfield, MN —Vintage Band Festival 2016, July 28-31 in Northfield, MN, will feature four days of non-stop brass and wind band music, but it will also be an occasion to witness historic achievements, meet internationally renowned artists and interact with hundreds of musicians and their families. Read on to learn about two of the highlights of this year’s festival.

Friedemann Immer, Master Trumpeter

Freidemann ImmerFriedemann Immer will be a special guest trumpet soloist at Vintage Band Festival 2016, joining the Kentucky Baroque Trumpets under the direction of Don Johnson.

Friedemann Immer, born 1948 in Duisburg, Germany, is one of the best known Trumpeters in the musical world. Early in his career he specialized in the playing of the Baroque Trumpet and played with orchestras such as Concentus Musicus Vienna, Freiburg Baroque Orchestra, Academy of Ancient Music Berlin, Musica Antiqua Cologne, la Stagione Frankfurt, Academy of Ancient Music London, Boston Baroque and Aston Magna USA . He has worked with conductors Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Frans Brüggen, Thomas Hengelbrock, Ton Koopman, Philippe Herreweghe, Marcus Creed, Martin Pearlman, Ivor Bolton, Christopher Hogwood and Hellmuth Rilling. Immer has made over 200 recordings and appeared many times on radio and television. This includes more than 10 recordings of J.S.Bach´s second Brandenburg Concerto on period instruments.

Friedemann Immer was invited – as a soloist and with his “Trompeten Consort Friedemann Immer” –  to the Historic Brass Symposium in Amherst, Massachusetts (1995) and New York City (2013) and to several International Trumpet Guild Conferences, the last one in 2014 in Valley Forge/King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. This is his first visit to the Vintage Band Festival.

Friedemann Immer is Professor for Baroque Trumpet at the Hochschule für Musik und Tanz Cologne, Germany, and at the Royal Music-Academy in Copenhagen, Denmark. He taught 20 years at the Sweelinck Conservatorium in Amsterdam. In addition to these activities he continues to give master classes all over the world.

For more information about Friedemann Immer or to schedule an interview, contact Don Johnson, phone 270-699-5764.


Vintage tuba found in Northfield, MN antique shop is now restored

1st brigade tuba before restoration


Three years of work and the Northfield tuba mentioned in the article “Trash to Treasure” (Northfield News, 8/5/13) has come back to 1st Brigade Band to begin a new life in 2016! Nancy Campbell-Pierce has done a wonderful job restoring this irreplaceable part of history.
This horn was spotted in a Division Street shop window in by Doug Condon and Elsa Condon, members of 1st Brigade Band of Watertown, Wisconsin, while in Northfield, MInnesota for Vintage Band Festival 2013. The two talked with the shop owner, Devin Johnson. Mr. Johnson had found this piece of musical history in a Twin Cities scrap yard about to be melted down. The shop owner purchased the scrap and was going to make jewelry out of the parts.
1st Brigade tuba after restoration


Doug and Elsa Condon saw the importance of the instrument and with impeccable timing, persuaded Bandmaster Jon Condon and the instrument curator of the band, Dan Woolpert, to negotiate the preservation of the instrument with the shop owner. 1st Brigade Band will have this instrument in playing condition for their return trip to Northfield for Vintage Band Festival 2016, July 28-31.

For more information about this amazing instrumental transformation or to interview the musicians involved in the process, please contact Doug Condon, phone 920-342-6361.


This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.

VBF Celebrates 10 years: 2006-2016

VBF 2016 Cloisonné pin

For Immediate Release

July 1, 2016

Vintage Band Festival Celebrates 10 Years: July 28-31, 2016

Artistic Director: Paul Niemisto,; 612-308-6857

Media Contact: Dan Bergeson,; 507-581-0553

(Northfield, MN) – Northfield, located in southern Minnesota — known for its appreciation of music and history — has become a travel destination within the Midwest sought out for its authentic experience. The Vintage Band Festival, to be held July 28-31, will be the highlight of the summer as it welcomes re-enactment bands from across the US and abroad to “dust off their horns and old sheet music” and bring music to life — in all of its glory — from days gone by.

The international festival boasts 100 concerts at outdoor parks, performance stages, dining establishments and pubs in the picturesque river town of Northfield and at a multitude of festival concert sites in nearby communities. Find a full schedule of “living history” performances, auxiliary events and attractions, plus a sample travel itinerary for discovering more treasures in southern Minnesota, at

Amid the vast collection of performing bands that accentuate cultural influences, genres and period-inspired repertoires several Midwest historic revival bands are participating in this year’s Festival. Today’s audience can hear what Presidents Lincoln and Davis, Generals Lee and Grant, and their contemporaries heard in their

The 1st Brigade Band, from Watertown, Wisconsin, dressed in navy blue uniforms takes as its inspiration the  eighteen men from the Brodhead Brass Band who enlisted in the Union Army in 1864 as the Band of the 1st Brigade, 3rd Division, 15th U.S. Army Corps. They served under the command of General William T. Sherman. After locating and restoring dented and broken instruments and reconstructing torn music sheets, the 1st Brigade Band continues this musical legacy from 150 years ago. This will be the third time this band has performed at the Vintage Band Festival.

Another ensemble which will relive music of the 19th Century is the Independent Silver Band (ISB) of Mount Vernon, Illinois. Back in its heyday, the community enjoyed “first class entertainment and boundless enjoyment” as the ISB played for “balls, picnics, parties, political rallies, and more.” By bringing together interested brass players and percussionists from Mt. Vernon and surrounding cities and towns in southern Illinois, William L. Reynolds created a proper team of dedicated persons who could provide the chance to hear the music of a bygone time. With their very stylish green uniforms, unique helmets, and a complete “show” with narration, they will be coming to Northfield to entertain for a second time.

19th century brass bands have been described as having sweet and mellow intonations, but to have survived and flourished in a time of great conflict within our country, the music served a broader, brasher purpose that uplifted the morale of its people during an era of clashing dissonance. This unforgettable time would become a defining part of our national heritage and have a pronounced and resounding effect on the history of music in America today.

2016 is also within the centennial period of World War I and some bands will honor this history and present an additional focus for the Festival.  A highlight will be an outdoor Victory Dance with the Buddy Koopmans Swing Orchestra on Saturday night.

While the bands will perform individual concerts on all of the Festival days, on Saturday, July 30th, the Battle of the Bands takes place at noon on the Riverfront. Many community bands from all over Minnesota will also be included in the schedule each day. Evening entertainment will include appearances by Copper Street Brass, Jack Brass Band and Banda La Verdadera, all well-known professional ensembles from the metropolitan Minneapolis/St. Paul area.

Brass bands have been important in Minnesota since the 1850s. The Great Western Band was active as early as 1858. The St. Anthony Brass Band played for the grand opening of the suspension bridge over the Mississippi in St. Anthony in 1863. In 1861, the Red Wing brass band played as they sent Civil War volunteers to Fort Snelling. When the soldiers returned after the war, they were greeted by the Great Western Band at the St. Paul Train Station. A group from the Vintage Band Festival, The Manitou Regimental Band, played in 2015 for a reenactment of the return of Minnesota troops from the Civil War arriving on a paddle wheeler at Fort Snelling.

For more information on how the pages of history turn as the musical faintness has been captured in the wafts of distant winds and brought into the present, visit the Vintage Band website at The 2016 band roster and complete schedule of events is located there. Find Vintage Band Festival on Facebook at “Vintage Band Festival” and Twitter at @vintagebandfest.


This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.

Vintage Band Festival 2016 Band Roster

March 14, 2016

For immediate release

Artistic Director: Paul Niemisto,; 612-308-6857

Media Contact: Dan Bergeson,; 507-581-0553

Northfield, Minnesota—The Board of Directors of Vintage Band Festival has announced the roster for Vintage Band Festival 2016 scheduled to take place in Northfield July 28-31, 2016. 2016 marks the tenth anniversary for the Vintage Band Festival organization which has staged five previous events. Festivals in 2006, 2010 and 2013 were four-day affairs and those in 2014 and 2015 were each one-day “Mini-Fests.”

There will be both international and domestic bands at this year’s festival. The international bands are traveling to Minnesota from Belgium, Germany and Sweden. The domestic bands represent seven states: Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Minnesota bands comprise the largest contingent with 18 bands on the list. The complete roster can be found here.

Vintage Band Festival 2016 will showcase seven bands making their first appearance at the festival. Four of the first-timers are Civil War re-enactor bands, one is a brass quartet, one is a clarinet sextet and one is a Hispanic “Banda”, Banda la Verdadera, from Minneapolis, MN. Two of the Civil War bands are from Iowa, one is from Illinois and one is from Indiana.

Bridge Square Main Stage headliners at the Vintage Band Festival 2016 will be Copper Street Brass, Jack Brass Band, Banda la Verdadera and Brass Messengers.

Vintage Band Festival 2016 is a four-day brass and wind extravaganza taking place in multiple locations throughout Northfield and surrounding southern Minnesota communities. 30 bands will present over 100 concerts during the festival in parks, churches, retirement communities, veterans clubs, bars and pubs. The festival is free and open to the public. Complete information can be found at

This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.

VBF Receives $10,000 SEMAC Grant

Vintage Band Festival is pleased to announce that on November 17, 2015 VBF received a $10,000 Arts and Culture Heritage Grant from the Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council (SEMAC). This grant will be used to support several Minnesota bands that will be appearing in the next Vintage Band Festival July 28-31, 2016.

SEMAC awarded 38 grants in this cycle for a total of $234,460 in funding to applicants throughout southeastern Minnesota. This included eight Presenter/Production Assistance grants for $22,500, eight Small Towns/Rural Areas grants for $19,605, and 22 Arts & Cultural Heritage grants for $192,355.

Many thanks for the efforts of Joy Riggs, Vintage Band Festival Board member and Secretary, for her fine work in writing a successful application. This is the second SEMAC grant that Joy has written. The first was a $4,000 General Operating Support grant awarded in August 2015.

Spring 2015 Report from Vintage Band Festival

Great news since the fall 2014 report was sent out:

  • The VBF received a First Place Award, Non-Profits, for our presence in the 2014 Defeat of Jesse James Parade last September! We had the Bridge Square Band riding on a hayrack and pulled by a tractor, following several WW II military vehicles carrying veterans. We expect to continue our participation in this event to honor veterans and provide brass band music.
  • It is with a sense of satisfaction that we report that with your help we have raised over 80% of the funds needed to pay off our debt from the 2013 four day festival. We expect to have our 2013 financial debt fully paid off by August 2015. In addition, the VBF produced a very enjoyable one-day mini festival in August 2014 on Bridge Square.
  • The VBF board researched and leased an excellent donor management program. “Kindful” is a terrific tool to help us do more efficient fund raising and data management. Donors now have access to their own donation data plus the program enables easier communication with our loyal supporters.

What we are doing in 2015:

  • Multiple grant applications have been made and more are in progress. These grants are for both our August 1, 2015 one-day festival and our 2016 four-day festival, July 28-31.
  • Board members who are available meet weekly to work on our funding and planning. The official board meetings are once per month with full attendance.
  • We are communicating with the City of Northfield to schedule the August 1 event, close down streets, set up the Northfield Rotary Club Showmobile (Wenger) and other matters, including insurance and permits.
  • The board negotiates with other non- profit organizations we share the square with during our festivals, including Riverwalk Market Fair and Northfield Downtown Development Corporation.
  • Committees are being developed and filled for the 2015 and 2016 festivals.
  • Bands continue to ask about our festivals and ask perform in them. Time is required to vet them.
  • Funding is being sought for new bands and for favorites as well as well as funds for general operations. This is primarily donations but also advertising dollars.
  • Looking for new partners to expand our audience and share the expenses and work load.
  • Small groups and individual board members are making personal visits to individuals, businesses, and non-profits for VBF targeted fundraising.

VBF auxiliary programs in 2015

The first was on April 12 at the Northfield Senior Center, recognizing the 150th Anniversary of the end of the Civil War and the assassination of President Lincoln. The St. Olaf Manitou Regimental Band accompanied a Civil War sing-a-long at 3 PM in the Senior Center Theater Room. Prior to the music St. Olaf Pastor Emeritus, Bruce Benson, shared Lincoln’s immortal words from the Second Inaugural Address. We partnered with the Northfield Senior Center and the Cannon Valley Civil War Round Table. The Northfield Senior Center and the Cannon Valley Civil War Round Table supported the expenses for this event. In period dress, Jan Stevens, the VBF President, introduced the performers. That same week Northfield’s Bridge Square Band (a VBF regular) played in Civil War dress for an April 14th Northfield Historical Society re-enactment of “Our American Cousin” to commemorate the anniversary of President Lincoln’s assassination at Ford’s Theatre.

This fall there will be three Vintage Band programs scheduled on September 28, October 26 and November 23 at 3:15 PM in the Northfield Retirement Center Community Chapel (which will also be broadcast to shut-ins.) The same day the programs will each be presented a second time at 7 PM at the Senior Center with dessert and coffee afterwards. The Northfield Senior Center is providing space, funding, publicity and refreshments for the programs. The VBF provides the programming. Our plan is to continue year-round programming on vintage band music with historical and social context.

While the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War is ended, we will continue to provide Civil War Music at the festivals. Brass Band Music from the WW I era as well as period Jazz and Swing will be added to our programming. The VBF Board has established a relationship with the 34th Infantry Division Band (the Red Bull Band) of the Minnesota National Guard based in Rosemount, MN. Various ensembles from the Red Bulls will be participating in our upcoming festivals, including jazz, historical, and show bands. We plan to add a special program honoring our military veterans at our mini-festivals as well as continuing our special performances at the Northfield Veterans’ Memorial and cemeteries in Northfield and Cannon Falls during our big festivals. Two Board Members are active in Minnesota Civil War Round Tables. This relationship is building a new audience for the VBF as the 150th Civil War Anniversary Activities are coming to an end.

Since WW I, military bands have not had a role during military action. Bands are used for troop ceremonies and public relations. These military bands are in danger of severe reduction nationally because of budget stresses, while public school music programs are also suffering reductions. The VBF works to provide our community with live music and recognize the institutions that create this music.

Partnering with other organizations in our community and our state is a great way to continue the joy and excitement of the Vintage Band Festivals all year around. We think this is a reasonable and practical way to continue and to expand this splendid festival. The VBF Board Members feel called to expand the impact and enjoyment of vintage band music. The combination of top quality live music, history and pageantry is thrilling and engaging!

New Donors Get VBF Programs In Advance

If we receive your DONATION before July 15th, we will mail you a copy of the OFFICIAL VBF PROGRAM before the festival starts. How to donate: Click on the “Donate Now” button on the VBF Homepage, or send your check to “Vintage Band Festival” at 204 W Seventh St #130, Northfield, MN 55057; or you can stop at “By All Means” on Bridge Square and donate in person. Pledge on the phone? 507-321-1250. Thanks for your support in advance. Each new donor also receives a classy cloisonné lapel pin.