Category Archives: VBF 2024

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 www.vintagebandfestival.org 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 3:00 pm.

The Twin Cities Trumpet Ensemble returns to Vintage Band Festival July 27

Twin Cities Trumpet Ensemble, VBF 2022

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. The band will take the Wenger Showmobile Stage at 4:00 pm on Saturday, July 27.

New bands to perform at VBF 2024

K-Libre24

K-Libre24

K-Libre24 is a Twin Cities-based, eleven-piece Latin Orchestra performing various styles of dance music from the Spanish-speaking regions of the Caribbean such as salsa,merengue, cumbia,and bachata. K-Libre24 was formed to provide great dance music for the Twin Cities and surrounding regions. The musicians of K-Libre24 represent some of the finest musicians in the Twin Cities Latin music community. K-Libre24 performs locally and around the region at restaurants/bars, Latin festivals, private engagements, and other locations and events. This is the first time that K-Libre24 has appeared at Vintage Band Festival. They will be performing on Friday, July 26 at 5:30 pm.

The Freier Department

The Freier Department is a seven-piece band that plays nasty Funk, swingin’ Jazz, and driving Latin music. Ethan Freier, leader and trombonist, has been a band director in Northfield for 25 years while continuing a busy freelance schedule in the Twin Cities. 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 band released an album in 2021 titled “Dysfunktion”.

When you hear this band, you’ll know why these are some of the most sought after musicians in the Twin Cities. The Freier Department will be on the Wenger Showmobile Stage in Bridge Square on Saturday, July 27 at 2:00 pm.

Let’s look at the VBF 2024 lineup: 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, MN. 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.

The band has posted a detailed history of their organization in a YouTube video  that’s worth a look.

It just so happens that their 2024 spring concert is this weekend, Sunday, April 28 at 3:00 pm in Red Wing, MN.

The Sheldon Theatre Brass Band will perform at Vintage Band Festival 2024 on Saturday, July 27 at 11:00 am in Bridge Square, Downtown Northfield MN.

Bridge Square Redux

Bridge Square has been the central gathering place of Northfield, Minnesota since the early days of the 20th century. Originally, it was a place to park your horse and buggy. In later days it has hosted governors, European royalty, carnival booths, political rallies and protests, and, of course, brass bands.

The City of Northfield has been planning a substantial renovation of Bridge Square in Northfield’s for several years. The sidewalks and plazas are deteriorating and the infrastructure needs to be reshaped to better accommodate the increasing numbers of people attending the annual cycle of events. It’s likely that the construction process will occur in 2025. If you’re curious about what the outcome might look like, click here for architectural renderings of the changes.

What does this mean for the Vintage Band Festival event to be held on August 2, 2025?

VBF 2025 will not be presented in Bridge Square as the reconstruction won’t be finished until later in the summer. Instead, the festival will take place in Central Park, a wonderful venue just three blocks east of Bridge Square. We have used Central Park in past years as an auxiliary location when we’ve needed a second stage.

It’s likely that in future years (beginning in 2026), whenever Vintage Band Festival is a multi-day event, the main stage will be in Central Park and the secondary venue will be Bridge Square. After the Bridge Square rehab is complete, there won’t be a space in the park large enough for the the footprint of the larger stage that’s needed.

That being said, VBF 2024 on July 26 and 27 will be staged in Bridge Square in its customary location in front of the Post Office. We hope to see you there!

Meet the VBF 2024 bands: 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. They play for local, regional, and national events, adding a sense of tradition and spirit of pageantry to every program in which we participate The band has 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.

The Brian Boru Irish Pipe Band will perform at 12:00 pm on July 27 at VBF 2024. See the complete schedule on the Vintage Band Festival website.

Vintage Band Festival 2024 fund drive

We have just mailed our spring fund drive letters. If you’re a past donor, look for one in your mailbox in the coming days. If you are just learning about Vintage Band Festival or you haven’t yet donated to support our work, read on to find out how you can do that.

The generous and loyal financial support from businesses, foundations and individuals like you continues to make it possible for Vintage Band Festival to present such amazing musicians and ensembles and not charge admission. We are fortunate to have the Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council as our principal funder in 2024, but their support accounts for just 30% of our $30,000 budget. The rest will need to come from other grants, and businesses and individuals such as you.

A successful spring fund drive outcome is essential to the success of our summer festival. A gift in any amount is welcome, but gifts of $100 or more are critically important right now. Donors are featured prominently in the festival program and in onsite signage at Bridge Square.

Our goal for the spring fund drive is $10,000. We need to have that in-hand by June 15 in order to fulfill the commitments we will be making to our musicians and our partners. Please help us achieve that goal!

If you are donating by check, use Vintage Band Festival as the payee and send it to 204 W. 7th St. W #130/Northfield, MN 55057. If you want to make your gift with a credit card, go to http://www.vintagebandfestival.org and click on the big green “Donate” button and follow the prompts.

Thank you for your consideration and we hope to see you July 26-27 in Downtown Northfield for Vintage Band Festival 2024!

Rase de Terre, Vintage Band Festival 2022 (Photo credit David Perez)

Vintage Band Festival Announces 2024 Festival Schedule

Vintage Band Festival has selected the roster of bands and the complete schedule of VBF 2024 which will take place in Northfield, Minnesota July 26-27, 2024.

VBF 2024 will be a 1+ day affair with music on Friday night and all day Saturday. Friday the music will kick-off at 5:30 pm and Saturday the music will start at 9:00 am and continues non-stop until 10:00 pm.

All performances will be along the banks of the Cannon River in Downtown Northfield.

New to the festival in 2024 are five bands: The Freier Department, Beasley’s Big Band, the Medalist Concert Band, the Brian Boru Irish Pipe Band, and K-Libre24. The other bands have performed at VBF before, but for some it’s been more than five years.

Here is the complete schedule for the weekend.

FRIDAY               July 26, 2024  

5:30                    K-Libre 24 *        

7:00                    Mariachi Mi Tierra         

8:30                    McNasty Brass Band                               

SATURDAY        July 27, 2024

9:00                    New Prague Area Community Band  

10:00                  Dirty Shorts Brass Band           

11:00                  Sheldon Theatre Brass Band  

12:00                  Brian Boru Irish Pipe Band *     

1:00                    Minnesota State Band

2:00                    Freier Department  *     

3:00                    Bavarian Musikmeisters          

4:00                    Twin Cities Trumpet Ensemble            

5:15                    Medalist Concert Band *            

6:45                    Brass Messengers        

8:30                    Beasley’s Big Band *    

 *first appearance at Vintage Band Festival 

Riverwalk Market Fair will be sharing Bridge Square with Vintage Band Festival on Saturday. There will be more than 30 vendors in the park from 9:00 am – 1:00 pm showcasing fresh produce, baked goods, visual artists, textiles, jewelry, and more.

Visit the Vintage Band Festival website often to get updates and background information about the performing ensembles.

Meet the new VBF Board members

At its February 2024 Board of Directors meeting, the Vintage Band Festival board elected three new members to the group, bringing the total number of directors to fifteen. We’re pleased to introduce Lee Enquist, Vicki Scott and Bonnie Jean Flom.

Lee Engquist

Lee is a recently retired Corporate Tax Director at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota where he worked for more than 20 years. He is a graduate of St. Olaf College from Fairmont, Minnesota and sings in the I Cantanti choral ensemble in Northfield. He is a dedicated donor and volunteer for Vintage Band Festival.

Vicki Scott

This winter Vicki opened a new record store in downtown Northfield called Verbena Vinyl. Previously, she was the social media coordinator at Just Food Coop in Northfield from 2016 to 2020. She has also been the marketing manager at the coop in Hastings, Minnesota. She’s written grants for her personal art projects. During the pandemic she worked as a training manager with a health care company. Vicki has an MFA in creative writing and an MA in secondary ed/teaching.

Bonnie Jean Flom

Bonnie is life-long education professional beginning with a teaching position at Longfellow Elementary School in Northfield. She later became the principal for several years at Greenvale Elementary School. After that she held positions in public schools in the Twin Cities. For many years, Bonnie was the lead singer in a popular local ensemble called Bonnie and the Clydes.

Bonnie Jean Flom, Lee Engquist, Vicki Scott