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Roseville Community Band celebrates 50 years of making music
The group may have been around for half a century, but if you ask a member, they’ll tell you they’re just getting started.
The Roseville Community Band this year is celebrating 50 years of playing music, hard work, fond memories and most importantly, good times with friends.
In 1964, Mark Lammers founded the Roseville Municipal Band, which over time has transformed into the 60-member community band it is today.
At one time, the band, which is affiliated with the parks and recreation department, played as many as 25 concerts a year. While it doesn’t play as many gigs as it once did, the band still meets for weekly practices and performs at local venues like the Frank Rog Amphitheatre in Central Park before fireworks on the Fourth of July, and the Como Park Pavilion in St. Paul on Memorial Day.
Members of all ages and skill levels hail from all across the metro area—being a Roseville resident isn’t required, Rob Sjolund, the band’s president, said.
“A nice thing about the band is that it’s totally open, even for beginners,” he said.
“And we’re always looking for any new members,” particularly those who play clarinet, french horn or percussion, he added.
‘March of the Roses’
In the spirit of reaching the 50-year milestone, director Dan Kuch composed a piece of music to celebrate the band’s history and what it stands for.
Kuch estimates he spent about 160 hours working on the “March of the Roses,” which the band will play at its concerts this summer.
The composition, which he said is the first piece of music heís written that’s ever been performed, is “joyful and proud,” according to Kuch.
“It’s a thrill to hear it be played,” he added.
Kuch also wrote two stanzas of lyrics to accompany the melody. The band will put their vocal chords to work by singing along.
“We should be joyous after our 50 years,” Kuch said.
Fond memories of Europe trips
Many long-time members of the Roseville Community Band list overseas trips to Europe as their favorite memories.
Pat Lancaster, a flutist from Vadnais Heights who’s been with the band since 1976, recalls a number of fond memories about a trip the band took in 1978 to the Dublin International Music Festival in Ireland—an unforgettable trip for those who were part of the group at that time. The band performed in London and visited Scotland as well. They took first place at the festival.
“It was a really big deal,” Lancaster said.
She also distinctly recalled playing a concert on the Thames River in London. “We were sweltering,” she said. “All the women were wearing long-sleeved polyester dresses!”
Sjolund, who was a University of Minnesota student at the time, remembers the fun parts—“Staying in a converted castle on a bluff in Scotland”—as well as the not-so-fun parts: “I had to travel with the all the instruments!”
The band also travelled in 1992, this time to Lucerne, Switzerland, and Salzberg, Austria.
“It was a once-in-a-lifetime trip,” Lancaster said.
Mississippi River bus tour
This summer, the band will be heading out on another trip—this time, on a bus.
In mid-July, band members will travel along the Mississippi River on a four-day, 1,000-mile concert tour with stops in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, Burlington, Iowa, and Hannibal, Missouri.
Sjolund says he had hopes of coordinating a European river cruise to rival the band’s previous forays into Europe, but in the end, the logistics—and cost—just didn’t work out.
“A committee put together the bus tour,” Sjolund explained. “We scaled it back and shortened it so people who have to work can still make it. We really wanted as many people as possible to go along.”
50 years of great music
This season’s concerts will feature songs from each of the five decades from the band’s history.
“It’s a fun concert situation,” Kuch said. “I chose something from each of the decades. We’re playing ‘Big Band Polka,’ a couple movie hits and ‘William Tell Overture,’” among others, he said.
Sjolund added that the band usually plays “Star-Spangled Banner” at the beginning of each concert.
The band’s music repertoire lists pieces of music recognizable to nearly all ages, including “Pictures at an Exhibition” by Modest Mussorgsky, “Stars and Stripes Forever” by John Philip Sousa and a Walt Disney showcase from 1967.
In honor of the band’s 50th year, Mayor Dan Roe and the city council voted to proclaim May as “Roseville Community Band Month” at the council’s April 7 meeting.
“Whereas the Roseville Community Band adds to the quality of life in Roseville and the larger community; and whereas the Roseville Community Band is recognized as one of the premier community bands in the metro area...the city council of the city of Roseville does hereby proclaim May 2014 as Roseville Community Band Month,” the proclamation reads.
For more information about the Roseville Community Band including the concert schedule and membership information, visit www.rosevillecommunityband.org.
Johanna Holub can be reached at email@example.com or 651-748-7813. Follow her on Twitter @jholubnews.
If you go
Roseville Community Band Memorial Day Concert
Monday, May 26, at 3 p.m.
Como Park Pavilion, 1360 Lexington Parkway N., St. Paul