Category Archives: VBF Bands

VBF 2019 International Bands: À Râse dè têre

It’s time to start highlighting the amazing roster of bands for 2019. We’ll begin with an international ensemble from Belgium: À Râse dè têre.

À Râse dè têre (literally meaning “at ground level” in Walloon language) was created in 2005. They play dance tunes called “arguèdènes” in the Walloon dialect spoken in southern Belgium. Traditionally, the melody line is orally transmitted and the accompaniment is improvised. A flugelhorn, cornet, euphonium, and helicon form a balanced ensemble that is well suited to this musical genre in vogue from the mid-19th century until the turn of the 20th century. The group is composed of four passionate amateur brass musicians: a museum curator, a psychologist, a postman and a police officer. They received their initial musical training in Belgian village bands before improving their skills in music academies or conservatories. They learned numerous “arguèdenes” on the job when they were young bandsmen, alongside older musicians. They want to perpetuate this rustic and old-fashioned music and thus prove that it can also be charming and full of subtleties. The band leader is Géry Dumoulin. This is the first time that À Râse dè têre has performed at Vintage Band Festival.

À Râse dè têre

VBF 2018 Band Profiles: Buddy Koopmans Orchestra; Twin Cities Brass Band; Metro Brass

Buddy Koopmans Orchestra

Buddy Koopmans Orchestra

Roger (Buddy) Koopmans of Faribault, Minn., organized the Buddy Koopmans Orchestra in 1948 when he was still in high school.Back then, young musicians dreamed of being part of a Big Band.He brought together up to 16 instrumentalists from the region (including Northfield resident Hartley Clark, then a Carleton Col­lege student) and arranged for 4-5 gigs each year.Recently Gary Anderson, a clarinetist who started playing in the Buddy Koop­mans Orchestra at age 13, bought the band from Roger.What do you get when you “buy a band.” Books of music, the classic Big Band fronts (music stands), and the right to use the name.Gary brings 16 musicians together, pulling from around the region including the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St.Paul.Fine musicians come together to perform just because they love playing this kind of music.

Buddy Koopmans Orchestra will be onstage at 8:30pm Saturday, July 28 at VBF 2018.


Twin Cities Brass Band

Twin Cities Brass Band

Twin Cities Brass Band aims to bring the grandeur and excellence of European-style brass bands to the heart of Minnesota. The band also strives to promote leadership and inspiration for younger generations and to enrich lives through music. Based in Bloomington, Minnesota, the band’s 25 members rehearse year-round and dedicate themselves to performing exciting and challenging literature at a high level. This is the band’s first appearance at the Vintage Band Festival. Its conductor is Adam Hille.

Twin Cities Brass Band will peform at 3:00pm on Saturday, July 28 at VBF 2018.


Metro Brass

Metro Brass

Metro Brass is a group of 11 amateur musicians from the Minneapolis-St. Paul area who have only played together for five years. They all play in other ensembles, but come together for the “Metro Brass Sound.” Metro Brass is led by Keith Thompson (trumpet). Recent performances include a concert with the St. Croix Valley Concert Band in Hudson, Wisconsin, and a concert for the opening of the Shell Lake Concert Band camp in Shell Lake, Wisconsin. This is the group’s first appearance at the Vintage Band Festival.

Metro Brass will play at VBF 2018 beginning at 5:00pm on Saturday, July 28 in Downtown Northfield, MN.

VBF 2018 Band Profiles: Copper Street Brass; Minnesota State Band; New Prague Community Band

Copper Street Brass

Copper Street Brass

Copper Street Brass (CSB) is the premier brass chamber ensemble in Minnesota and one of only a handful of self-sustaining brass groups in the country. The ensemble was founded in 2008 as a professionally trained classical chamber music ensemble (which means they perform without a conductor) with two trumpets, horn, trombone and tuba. CSB presents exclusively its own music, which is an original blend of musical styles from Mozart to Madonna, in over 35 concerts and 80 outreach services each season.

The six core musicians of CSB, Allison Hall, Josh Cameron, Tim Bradley, Alex Wolff, Nick Adragna, and Reid Kennedy have a combined 11 professional music and education degrees and thousands of performances under their belts. These artists have performed with world-renowned classical ensembles like the Minnesota Orchestra, SPCO, MN Opera and Malaysian Philharmonic, and also have the versatility to perform with jazz/blues groups such as Davina and the Vagabonds and Nooky Jones. They have recorded for Prince, Grammy-winner Big Walter Smith, and many other groups.

CSB has been heard by thousands of people outside of the Twin Cities area on local concert series performances, summer music festivals, performances with school bands, and collaborations with other local arts groups. Recent performance activities include concert tours throughout Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Kansas, Montana, and New Mexico. CSB has captured its exclusive arrangements on five CDs.

Copper Street Brass will take the stage at VBF 2018 at 6:30pm in Bridge Square on July 28.


Minnesota State Band

Minnesota State Band

The Minnesota State Band, the official band of the State of Min­nesota and the only remaining state band in the United States, formed in 1898. Its history is closely tied to state military traditions, as well as a tradition of touring; since 1986 it has taken six international concert tours. While international travel is important, the band’s primary mission is to provide high-quality music to Minnesota residents. It operates as a non-profit organization with an all-volunteer membership. It will present a 120th anniversary concert this fall. The Minnesota State Band is conducted by Chuck Boody.

Minnesota State Band will play at 2:00pm on July 28 at VBF 2018 in Northfield.


New Prague Community Band

New Prague Community Band

The New Prague Area Community Band consists of community members ranging from teenagers to retirees. It plays a diverse selection of band repertoire, striving to entertain all sorts of audiences. Band members are an energetic group who believe that music is fun; they try to show that in their attitudes and in the songs they play at local events and area celebrations throughout the year. The conductor of the New Prague Area Community Band is Rush Wagner.

New Prague Community Band will perform at 9:00am on July 28 in Northfield at VBF 2018.

VBF 2018 Band Profiles: Ameriikan Poijat and Brio Brass

Ameriikan Poijat

Ameriikan Poijat

The brass septet Ameriikan Poijat (Boys of America) appears at ethnic festivals, regional tours, and music conferences, presenting authentic social dance music and concert repertoire.The band is composed of Finnish-American musicians and teachers from Minnesota and Michigan, and its repertoire is derived directly from original hand manuscript sources found among Finn­ish bands and archives.

During the 1980s, group founder Paul Niemisto made contact with many Finn­ish brass players and discovered this relatively unknown musical tradition; he formed the group in 1990.Ameriikan Poijat has toured in Finland several times, most recently in 2013, and trav­eled widely in the United States and Canada.

Ameriikan Poijat will perform in Bridge Square at 1:00pm on July 28 at VBF 2018.


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.Expect lots of humming, toe tapping and even dancing in the aisles! Brio Brass is led by Rick Rueckert.

Brio Brass will appear in Bridge Square at VBF 2018 on July 28 at 4:00pm.

VBF2018 Band Profile: 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, Minnesota.The band is made up of cornets, trombones, tenor horns, euphoniums, tubas and percussion.In addition to its regular performances at the Shel­don Theatre, the band performs at a variety of venues through­out Minnesota and western Wisconsin, and it has performed at many brass band festivals throughout the United States including NABBA Great American Brass Band Festival.

Jim Kurschner was named Music Director of the Sheldon Theatre Brass Band in January 2002. Since 2001, he has been a member of the faculty at Normandale Community College in Bloomington, Minnesota, where he conducts the Concert Band and teaches courses in music fundamentals, music literature, jazz history, and chamber music.

The Sheldon Theatre Brass Band will perform at Vintage Band Festival 2018 at 11:00 am on July 28.

VBF 2018 Band Profile: 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 (also trumpet) is the group’s director.

Finally it is possible to bring together a group that could produce the full sound of authentic 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. Mariachi Mi Tierra has played previously at Vintage Band Festival in 2014 and 2015.

Mariachi Mi Tierra will perform at 10:00am on July 28 at Vintage Band Festival 2018.

VBF 2018 Band Profile: Southside Aces

Southside Aces perform traditional New Orleans jazz. The band first began as the brainchild of Clarinetist Tony Balluff and Sousaphone player Erik Jacobson. Their whispers and rumors materialized in Tony’s foyer near Pillsbury and 27th in South Minneapolis, late August 2003. Since their first gig on a flatbed truck in Apple Valley, they’ve played weddings, festivals, clubs— “music furnished for all occasions”. The Aces self-produced and released five albums : All Aboard!! , Bucktown BounceA Big Fine Thing, their Christmas album, Santaphone, and their latest, Second Thursday. Their music garnered the declaration, “A true authentic New Orleans dance-hall style band” from the New Orleans Traditional Jazz Quarterly.

In New Orleans, the jazz tradition thrives off a wide array of tunes and styles. With such a wealth of good music from which to draw, the group is dedicated to highlighting the songs and not the players. They possess a diverse repertoire, with a roll call that includes the names of Louis Armstrong, Jelly Roll Morton, Hoagy Carmichael, Duke Ellington and Bix Beiderbecke. Many songs from lesser-known constellations in the jazz firmament such as AJ Piron and Tiny Parham found their way in there, plus Crescent City classics like Bourbon Street Parade, Just A Closer Walk With Thee and St. James Infirmary. Finally, lets not forget the funky rhythms of brass band powerhouses like Mardi Gras In New Orleans and Palm Court Strut. Songs as good as these don’t need a lot of help!

The Southside Aces have performed at the Times and the Dakota jazz clubs, Peavey Plaza, Mears Park, Twin Cities Jazz Fest, Hopkins Jazz Festival, and the Doc Evans Jazz Festival. They have driven dancers to a frenzy at national lindy hop competitions: “Showdown”, in Minneapolis; “Big Apple” and “Cowtown Jamborama” in Omaha. We have Balboa covered as well: “Rocky Mountain Balboa Blowout” and “Minnesota Balboa Fest.” All of which, if you’re keeping score, makes us a “territory band”. Found at weddings, birthdays, banquets and memorials, the Aces utilize the traditional cannon for its sweetness, its spice, its joy, its sorrow; whatever the mood should call for. They’ll even take requests.

Southside Aces will take the stage at 12:00pm on Saturday, July 28 at Vintage Band Festival 2018.

Vintage Band Festival Announces 2018 Bands

May 29, 2018

Vintage Band Festival today announced the band roster for the Saturday, July 28, 2018 one-day concert schedule. The bands will play on the Wenger Showmobile stage in Bridge Square in downtown Northfield from 9am-10:30pm.

There will be several bands playing at Vintage Band Festival for the first time. Southside Aces will take the stage at 12 noon. This sextet from the metro Twin Cities is an all-star lineup that plays traditional New Orleans jazz. Their music garnered the declaration, “A true authentic New Orleans dance-hall style band” from the New Orleans Traditional Jazz Quarterly. They play for weddings, banquets, dance competitions, etc. as well as the best clubs in the Midwest.  They recently released their 5th CD “Second Thursday.”

Metro Brass is a group of 11 amateur musicians from the greater Minneapolis/St. Paul area that has only been playing together for five years. They all play in other ensembles, but come together for the “Metro Brass Sound”.

Twin Cities Brass Band is a European-style brass band that calls Bloomington, Minnesota home.

In addition to the newcomers, Vintage Band Festival is presenting the following favorite groups that have played in Bridge Square several times: New Prague Community Band, Sheldon Theater Brass Band (Red Wing), Ameriikan Poijat (Boys of America), Brio Brass and the Minnesota State Band. Minnesota is the only state in the country with a publicly funded band!

Headliners for Vintage Band Festival 2018 are Copper Street Brass and Buddy Koopmans Orchestra. Copper Street Brass takes the stage at 6:30 and Buddy Koopmans begins their set at 8:30. Buddy Koopmans Orchestra is a swing-style big band and the audience will be invited to get on its feet and dance!

Buddy Koopmans Orchestra

Copper Street Brass









For more information and the complete festival schedule, visit 

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.

Copper Street Brass in Northfield December 8

There’s no better time for brass than the holidays! Now a family tradition for many audiences, Copper Street Brass’ popular holiday concert celebrates the stories and sounds of the season. You’ll hear everything from traditional carols and classical music to funk and rock holiday tunes – crafted with Copper Street’s signature original arrangements and performed with passion, humor, and virtuosity.

You’ll also hear music from favorite childhood movies and TV specials like The Nutcracker, The Snowman, A Charlie Brown Christmas, and The Grinch.

One night only, Friday December 8th at 7:30 PM – St. John’s Lutheran Church. Tickets $20-$25 adults, $10 students. Tickets available at or call (763) 307-3452. VBF fans use code “vbf” for $5 off your advance tickets!



Final Reminder: Tuba Christmas will take place Saturday, December 2!


Kick off the holiday season on Saturday, December 2, by going to Tuba Christmas at Skinner Memorial Chapel on the campus of Carleton College at 3pm. Picture a stage filled with tubas, sousaphones, euphoniums and baritones all playing Christmas carols for your enjoyment. Be prepared to sing along as instructed by host, Paul Niemisto, and guest conductor, Ron Rodman, and be sure to bring your family and friends to this community celebration. If you know musicians that play these instruments, invite them to participate. Musicians of all ages are welcome. Registration begins at noon, there is a rehearsal at 1pm and the performance is at 3pm.

Visit for more details.

Welcome Back Copper Street Brass!

Copper Street Brass

Have you experienced Copper Street Brass before? They’ve performed at Vintage Band Festival many times, but maybe you haven’t seen them yet. So what do they do?

Here’s what they say about themselves, “The mission of the CSB is to represent the Evolution of the Brass Quintet. Through inventive concerts, engaging educational programs, and original musical arrangements, we bring a fresh perspective to instrumental music. To express our artistic voice, we use a dazzling fusion of brass, keyboard, guitar, percussion, and electronic instruments to appeal to a universal audience and go beyond ordinary. This is why the Copper Street Brass matters: we de-compartmentalize music through bold and innovative programming that breaks free from your favorite playlist or expected concert experience. We present an unparalleled variety of music on every single performance, and this variety has become the calling card of the Copper Street Brass.

Copper Street Brass will perform at 6:30pm on Saturday, July 29 in Bridge Square. Hang around after their gig and pick up a CD or two and get to know the band.

Sheldon Theatre Brass Band

A perennial favorite at Vintage Band Festival is Sheldon Theatre Brass Band from Red Wing, Minnesota. 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. The band plays in the British style of brass bands and is made up of cornets, trombones, tenor horns, euphoniums, tubas and percussion. In addition to its regular performances at the Sheldon Theatre, the band performs at a variety of venues throughout Minnesota and western Wisconsin, and it has performed at many brass band festivals throughout the United States including NABBA Great American Brass Band Festival.

Sheldon Theatre Brass Band will perform at 12pm on July 29. You won’t want to miss it!