Category Archives: VBF News

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

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

Vintage Band Festival awarded $10,000 SEMAC grant

On May 21, 2019, the Board of Directors of the Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council (SEMAC) awarded 42 grants for a total of $269,205 in funding to applicants throughout southeastern Minnesota. This included 24 Arts & Cultural Heritage grants for $217,935, nine Presenter/Production Assistance grants for $25,520, and nine Small Towns/Rural Areas grants for $25,750.

In this grant cycle, Vintage Band Festival received a $10,000 Arts and Cultural Heritage grant for Vintage Band Festival 2019. We are thrilled to make this announcement and want to thank our grant writer, Board member Joy Riggs. This is not the first successful grant application that Joy has written for us and we are so grateful for her skill and dedication to this effort. Previous grants awarded to Vintage Band Festival 2019 were from the Wenger Foundation and the Minnesota State Arts Board.

Vintage Band Festival 2019 will take place in Northfield, Minnesota and surrounding communities August 1-4, 2019. Follow this link to find the complete daily schedule at the two outdoor stages and a roster of the participating bands.

Spaghetti Dinner to benefit Vintage Band Festival

 

 

The 4th Annual Vintage Band Festival Spaghetti Dinner Benefit will be held Saturday, April 27, 2019 at the Northfield Eagles Club, 304 Water St South, from 5-7pm. Dinner includes spaghetti marinara with parmesan cheese, green salad with multiple dressing choices, French bread and butter. Cash bar available.

Live music will be played throughout the evening. Music provided by Bridge Square Band and ensembles from St Olaf College and Northfield High School.

Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children and will be available at the door.

 

 

 

 

Historic Brass Society Early Brass Festival August 2-4, 2019 in Northfield

 

The 2019 Early Brass Festival of the Historic Brass Society (HBS) will be held in conjunction with Vintage Band Festival in Northfield, Minnesota. The Early Brass Festival will take place August 2-4, 2019, primarily at the Weitz Center for Creativity on the campus of Carleton College in Northfield.

Founded in 1988, the HBS is an international music organization concerned with the entire range of early brass music, from Ancient Antiquity and the Biblical period through the present including the development of jazz and its influence on brass instruments, literature and playing techniques. The history, music, literature and performance practice of early brass instruments such as natural trumpet, natural horn, early trombone, cornetto, serpent, keyed bugle, keyed trumpet, early valve horn, 19th century brass instruments are some of the main issues of concern to the HBS.

In addition to a membership meeting and musical performances by attendees, the HBS gathering will feature more than a dozen scholarly presentations on variety of topics. The complete schedule for the three-day event follows. To register, download the Early Brass Festival registration form.

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Friday, August 2, 2019

8:30-9:00- Meet and Greet; registration

9:00-9:30 – Glen Newton  –The Mississippi River Brass Band

9:30-10:00 – Petter Carlson, Stockholm – Band Music of the Stockholm Summer Spas (ensemble)

10:00-10:30 – Jari Villanueva, Baltimore- Band Music of World War I 

10:30-10:45 – Break

10:45-11:15 – Robert Apple, Memphis-The Keyed Trumpet’s use in Early 19th Century Brass and Wind Band Music

11:15-11:45 – Michael O’Connor, Florida- Thomas Coates brass band composer and leader (ensemble)

11:45-12:15 –  Don Johnson Jr – Chamber Works and Pedagogy for Keyed Trumpet in the Early Classical Period (ensemble)

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Saturday, August 3, 2019

8:00-8:30 – Meet and Greet (coffee)

8:30-9:00 – HBS meeting

9:00-9:30 – William Hall- The 1st Nebraska Volunteer Infantry Regiment Band, 1861-1862 (ensemble)

9:30-10:00 – Don Larry – Arizona Territorial Brass Band History

10:00-10:15 break

10:15- 10:45 –  Géry Dumoulin, Brussels  – The arguèdène tradition in Wallonia (Belgium): an entertainment practice at the crossroads of brass band, dance, and folk music traditions (ensemble)

10:45-11:15 –  William Reynolds, Illinois-Circus Band Memories

11:15-11:45 – Friedmann Immer, Germany- New Thoughts on the Keyed Trumpet

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Sunday, August 4, 2019

8:30-9:00 – Meet and Greet (coffee)

9:00- 9:30 – Joy Riggs, Northfield- An Iowa Regimental Band’s 1906 Tour of the South

9:30 -10:00 – Bruce Gleason – European Battlefield Trumpets, 16th-19th Centuries

10:00-10:15 break

10:15-10:45 – Scott Muntefering – Women’s Bands in Iowa: the Keota Ladies’ Band (1908-1918) and the Knoxville Girls’ Band (1915-1919)

10:45-11:15 – Nolan Hauta , Iowa – New Horizon Bands 

11:15               Closing

Vintage Band Festival Seeks Homestay Volunteers

Vintage Band Festival 2019 takes place August 1-4, 2019 in Northfield, Minnesota. During that time we provide housing for all of the bands that travel to Northfield from outside the state of Minnesota. This is particularly important for our international musicians who are the first to arrive in town. We will be welcoming bands from Germany, Belgium, Sweden and Finland for the 2019 festival week.

This year we need to find housing for approximately 25 musicians for five nights (July 31-August 5) That means we are looking for families to offer homestays for 1-4 musicians depending on available space in their homes. The German and Belgian groups are quartets, the Swedish band has seven members and the Finnish band has ten members. We are looking for housing only as the musicians will eat meals elsewhere during the day wherever they are performing.

The households that offered homestays for our festival in 2016 reported having a marvelous time with their guests and our musicians told us how grateful they were for the hospitality provided by Northfield families. This is a wonderful cultural exchange opportunity for everyone.

If you are willing to be one of our host families for 2019, please send us a message at vintagebandfestival@gmail.com and let us know how many people you have space for. We will be in contact with you promptly and begin making plans for the musicians’ arrival on July 31.

Vintage Band Festival Announces Evening Performers for August 1-3, 2019

The lineup is set for the Thursday-Saturday evening shows on the Bridge Square main stage at Vintage Band Festival 2019. New to the VBF stage this year will be Bend in the River Big Band, a 19-piece swing band playing for the Friday night Victory Dance; and Hornucopia: A Tribute to Horns in the Rock Era. The other six bands have performed at Vintage Band Festival in previous years and are coming back due to audience accolades.

Thursday, August 1
6:00pm—Jack Brass Band
7:00pm– Mariachi Mi Tierra
8:30pm—McNasty Brass Band

Friday, August 2
6:30pm—Copper Street Brass
8:30pm—Bend in the River Big Band

Saturday, August 3
6:00pm—Metro Brass
7:00pm—Southside Aces
8:30pm—Hornucopia

THURSDAY

Jack Brass Band
The Jack Brass Band formed in 1999 in the Twin Cities metro. Based on the traditions of New Orleans brass bands, they are ambassadors of the Crescent City’s rich musical history. The 8-piece band plays “Feel-Good Music” for audiences of any age, for any occasion.
JBB has the ability and repertoire to play everything from old New Orleans jazz from Louis Armstrong’s era, to the modern street Mardi-Gras anthems with the instrumentation, feel, and energy they have mastered through countless gigs, parades, festival appearances, and trips to New Orleans to listen, learn, and play alongside the masters.

Jack Brass Band

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 played various Mexican styles of music since he was in his teens. Eduardo Castro (also trumpet) is the group’s director.
Together, the Castros have brought together a group that produces the full sound of authentic mariachi in Minnesota. The group’s repertoire includes a number of regional and current favorites. In addition to events in the local Mexican community, Mariachi Mi Tierra plays at schools, colleges, businesses, casinos, and festivals. Mariachi Mi Tierra performed previously at the Vintage Band Festival in 2014, 2015 and 2018.

Mariachi Mi Tierra

McNasty Brass Band
McNasty is a collection of Minneapolis/Saint Paul-based horn players and percussionists that fuse the Minneapolis sound with the spirit of New Orleans. The outcome of this fusion is hard-hitting dance music and high-energy live shows.
Each player works tirelessly outside McNasty Brass Band as a side man, some with national and international touring acts. That’s what makes McNasty special–these youthful but experienced side men come together and showcase their compositions, solos, group vocals, and stage presence as front men. “McNasty Brass Band is a perfect example of why you shouldn’t make fun of the kid who is super into trumpet in 5th grade” (twincitiesmedia.net). “King Size Life,” their first studio album, encapsulates their live energy with exciting compositions, rowdy gang vocals, and rip-roaring solos. The only thing missing is their dance moves!

McNasty Brass Band

FRIDAY

Copper Street Brass
The members of Copper Street Brass have style, substance and a flair for innovation, which has allowed them to transcend the brass quintet box and evolve into something fresh. Copper Street Brass started in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in 2007 and settled down in Minneapolis in 2008. The group’s new tour program, “The Evolution of the Brass Quintet,” features music from Mozart to Dave Brubeck to Adele. Its blend of musical styles and fusion of electronic effects and brass has wowed audiences in communities across the country. Last season the quintet performed for 4,300 students in 25 school residencies throughout Minnesota.

Copper Street Brass

Bend in the River Big Band
Street dances have been a part of Vintage Band Festival for many years. Providing the soundtrack for the 2019 Victory Dance is the Bend in the River Big Band from the Mankato area. The band formed in 1987 from alumni of Gustavus Adolphus College under the direction of Dr. Mark Lammers. This 19-piece ensemble is currently led by Bob Hallquist, who also plays trumpet and percussion. The band’s vocalist is Linnea Marrin. Everyone should bring their dancin’ shoes and be ready to swing!

Bend in the River Big Band

SATURDAY

Metro Brass
Metro Brass is a group of 11 amateur musicians from the greater Minneapolis/St. Paul area that has 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).

Metro Brass

Southside Aces
Southside Aces perform traditional New Orleans jazz. The band began as the brainchild of clarinetist Tony Balluff and sousaphone player Erik Jacobson. The Aces have self-produced and released five albums: All Aboard!! , Bucktown Bounce, A 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.”
The Southside Aces have performed at the Vieux Carré and Dakota jazz clubs, Peavey Plaza, Mears Park, Twin Cities Jazz Fest, Hopkins Jazz Festival, and the Doc Evans Jazz Festival. 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.

Southside Aces

Hornucopia
In 1969, the music of Blood Sweat and Tears and Chicago Transit Authority (among many others) could be heard on every street corner in America. In acknowledging the tremendous contributions of these bands and their music, Vintage Band Festival presents Hornucopia, an 11-member band from the Twin Cities metro performing horn tune tributes of the rock era (1960s to the present). Their music ranges from rock to ska, swing to pop, soul to funk, and Latin to blues. Hornucopia is led by front man and vocalist Kevin Thomas.

Annual Meeting set for March 11

The Board of Directors of Vintage Band Festival invites friends of the Vintage Band Festival and members of the public to its 2019 Annual Meeting. The annual meeting will be held on Monday, March 11 at 12pm in the Assembly Room at the First United Church of Christ in Northfield, Minnesota. The UCC church is located at 300 Union Street in Northfield.

The agenda for the annual meeting will include a report of activities and financial results of the recently completed 2018 fiscal year. In addition, there will be an update of planning activities related to the upcoming 2019 Vintage Band Festival taking place August 1-4, 2019. Light refreshments will be available.

Questions and comments can be sent to vintagebandfestival@gmail.com.

 

Join the Fall Fund Drive for Vintage Band Festival!

Mariachi Mi Tierra (Vintage Band Festival 2018; photo credit John Severson)

 

On October 19, Vintage Band Festival launched a fall fund appeal in an effort to close the gap between existing funds and the amount needed to finance the next 4-day Vintage Band Festival in 2019.

In her letter to VBF friends and donors, the chair of the Fundraising Committee, VBF Secretary Jan Stevens, said:

“We will be ending 2018 in a positive financial position, but we know what our future budgetary realities will be. It takes approximately $15,000 to stage a one-day event and it takes close to $100,000 to produce a four-day event. There are costs for stage rentals, sound equipment, lighting, advertising and many other expenses, but we don’t charge admission to our audience. Even with the generous corporate and foundation grants that we receive, we still need support from individuals like you to achieve our financial goals. We currently are about halfway toward our 2019 goal of $100,000. Please help us close the gap!

You may send a check in the enclosed envelope or if you prefer, you may use a credit card by visiting our website at www.vintagebandfestival.org and clicking on the green “Donate” button. Your contribution is 100% tax deductible.”

We are in the process of band selection for Vintage Band Festival 2019, but we’re being cautious because we don’t know exactly what we can afford yet. With your financial contribution, we’ll be that much closer to meeting our goal. Thank you!

Historic Fort Snelling Fifes and Drums (Vintage Band Festival 2017)