Minnesota State Band to visit Chatfield, to perform with CBB

SUBMITTED PHOTO The Minnesota State Band recently celebrated its 120th anniversary and is shown under the direction of conductor Keith Liuzzi. The band will perform on the Potter Auditorium stage this month, collaborating with the Chatfield Brass Band.

SUBMITTED PHOTO The Minnesota State Band is shown shortly after its founding in 1898.

SUBMITTED PHOTO The Minnesota State Band is on tour this spring under the direction of Keith Liuzzi.
Gretchen Mensink Lovejoy

“We see this as a special event because of the timing. This year, the Chatfield Brass Band (CBB) is celebrating their 50th anniversary, and the Minnesota State Band (MSB) is just coming off celebrating their 120th anniversary,” stated Jenni Petersen-Brant, director of the Chatfield Center for the Arts (CCA).

The Minnesota State Band will be performing on Potter Auditorium’s grand stage to collaborate with the CBB on Sunday, April 28, in a concert that will become part of CBB’s Bandtown U.S.A. history.

CBB Conductor Carmen Narveson concurred, “Both of our bands are celebrating anniversaries this year – the Minnesota State Band has been playing for 120 years, and the CBB, for 50 years. While we are different bands, we both are grateful for the succession of leaders, directors and instrumentalists in our groups and the continued support of our followers.”

The CBB will be joining the Minnesota State Band towards the end of the concert, Narveson added.

“Our joint pieces will be ‘National Emblem March’ and ‘Stars and Stripes Forever.’ We are excited to have them perform in Chatfield at our beautiful Potter Auditorium, and it is especially rewarding for us to play in a mass band,” Narveson continued. “The fact that adult musicians of every age continue to play their instruments is a testament to the power of music on one’s life. The members of both bands experience a sense of community, the joys of making music with other musicians and the opportunity to express themselves through music. All of us love to play in the band, but we also find great satisfaction in performing for an appreciative audience.”

Information provided by the Minnesota State Band explained the Minnesota State Band is the official band of the state of Minnesota and has been in existence for 120 years. The Minnesota State Band was organized in 1898. Mr. Christian Selling of Saint Paul was the first conductor, serving the band until 1905. During this time, the band developed such an exceptional reputation that John Philip Sousa recruited from the Minnesota State Band for his famous band.

Today, the Minnesota State Band is the only remaining state band in the United States and has represented the state of Minnesota on six international goodwill tours since 1986. While international travel is important, the band sees its primary mission as providing high quality music to the residents of Minnesota.

It has performed for numerous state functions at the Minnesota State Capitol building in Saint Paul and other locations. Credit for much of the success and continuing vitality of the Minnesota State Band goes to Joseph Komro, conductor for 30 years.

Band concerts frequently open with the state song, “Hail! Minnesota,” written in 1904 by Mr. Truman E. Rickard. It was adopted as Minnesota’s official state song in 1945. Concerts traditionally conclude with the national march of the United States of America, “The Stars and Stripes Forever March” by John Philip Sousa. The band is on tour this spring under the direction of Keith Liuzzi.

Liuzzi, was the music director at Southwest High School in Minneapolis for 19 years. In 2012, the Dakota Foundation for Jazz Education (DFJE) awarded Liuzzi the Jane Matteson Award for Outstanding Jazz Educator. As a professional musician, he sings in an a cappella quartet, Merrie Old Christmas Carolers; is a church soloist and freelances on trombone with various Twin Cities orchestras, bands and jazz groups.

Chatfield’s hometown band — comprised of members from high school to the young at heart, and from Chatfield and neighboring communities – is serving as the town’s host to the Minnesota State Band’s membership.

Petersen-Brant shared that the opportunity for CBB and the CCA to offer the Minnesota State Band’s music to the public on Potter’s stage is an exciting venture.

“As the Minnesota State Band was planning their 2019 schedule, they had reached out to Carmen about the possibility of performing in Chatfield,” she said. “We jumped at the opportunity when Carmen reached out to see if we’d be interested. Chatfield is a perfect location for them to tour to, not only because of the great space we have to present them in, but also because of the city’s history of supporting community band. Coming to Chatfield also gave the Minnesota State Band a unique opportunity to pair their performance with an exploration of the Chatfield Brass Band Lending Library. It’s a great opportunity to utilize the unique assets in Chatfield and highlight a piece of Minnesota history.”

Narveson added, “When the band arrives around 11:15, they will have lunch catered by the Silver Grille and will also have the opportunity to tour the Chatfield Music Lending Library and peruse the vast collection of music. The band members will serve as guides and ushers for the concert. The Chatfield Brass Band has a great following in southeastern Minnesota, and I know they will enjoy the excellent performance by the Minnesota State Band.”

Petersen-Brant stated there’s work on the part of both the CBB and the CCA to prepare for the Minnesota State Band to tune up on the Potter stage.

“Events like this are very unique to get ready for and take a good deal of collaboration and communication – each partner has their own role,” she said. “CCA is leading the promotion of the event and hosting the event, the Chatfield Brass Band is helping with the logistics, setup and procuring what the Minnesota State Band can’t travel with, like 40-plus music stands and timpani. And the Minnesota State Band’s funding from the Legacy Amendment helps make it all happen.”

Petersen-Brant said it is exciting to have the opportunity to partner with the Minnesota State Band. “It is perfectly in sync with our mission to provide programming that is accessible, meaning that all ages can enjoy it, and since it is free, cost is not a barrier to attending. We also love anytime we can present Minnesota artists and organizations that shine a light on Minnesota’s strong band heritage. And anytime we can support an event that gives the Chatfield Brass Band a chance to perform on the Potter stage is pretty awesome.”

She went on to observe that it is a family outing that shouldn’t be passed up. “The concert is a unique opportunity to experience a performance by the country’s only remaining state band. It will be a great way to spend an afternoon with family, both because of the music played, but also because the concert is free to attend. And because the performers in the band represent a broad range of ages, it can be an important event for all ages to attend, especially music kids so that they have the experience of seeing grownups continuing to follow their passion and share their musical talents.”

The hour-long concert is set for 2 p.m. on Sunday, April 28, with no intermission. Doors open at 1:30 p.m. so people can grab a snack or beverage to take into the performance with them. Seating is general admission and there is no cost for tickets. Tickets can be reserved in advance with an option to donate online – there are no fees for reserving in advance.

Admission to the concert is free for all, courtesy of a grant from the Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council through the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund as appropriated by the Minnesota State Legislature with money from the vote of the people of Minnesota on Nov. 4, 2008.

The event is part of the Chatfield Center for the Arts’ community outreach programming. The concert is free and open to the public, but donations are welcomed to support the CCA’s future outreach programming – Petersen-Brant explained, “We do invite free will donations which will go towards supporting future community concerts like Artaria String Quartet, Stringwood Youth Ensemble and Songs of Hope, whom we’re presenting this summer.”

Ticket reservations are requested in advance online at www.chatfieldarts.org, by phone at 507-884-7676 or in person during regular box office hours – Thursday and Friday from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon.