Richfield Symphonic Band History
A small notice in the newspaper combined with a
flurry of phone calls brought out about 40 WWII and Korean War vets, in
late 1979, to the Richfield American Legion Post, with a view to
organize a Concert Band under the posts sponsorship. Reuben Haugen, a
well-known U of M clinician and jobbing musician was chosen as
conductor. Don Stoyke, a local music educator and performance musician
acted as assistant conductor. Dick Strasburg, a primary organizer of
the band, served as the band manager. A rehearsal schedule was set up
and we where in business.
Professional musicians, from a wide variety of
backgrounds, along with working and retired music educators, made up
much of the early membership. Some are still active today. Members have
included alumni of the old Minneapolis Symphony, Dick Longís Curtis
Hotel Orchestra, The Robert Shaw Chorale Orchestra, The U.S. Marine
Band, a retired member of the Minnesota Orchestra, and a Whoopee John
Band member. Early members included local jazz musicians Harry Blons,
Dick Pendleton, Mark Strachota, and Percy Hughes.
Some of the conductors, in the years following Reuben Haugen were: Don Stoyke, Burt Johnson, Alex Wilson, Bob Northernscold, Dick Weber, Adam Sroka, Ken Ziemann, and Paul Maybery.
As a group principally composed of veterans, our
performance schedule has reflected that heritage with appearances at The
Minneapolis Veteranís Hospital, Memorial Day observances at the Fort
Snelling and Camp Ripley National Cemeteries, Veteranís Day
observances in the Twin Cities Area, the dedication of the WWII
Veteranís memorial in St. Paul, Minnesota Veteranís Home, and an
appearance with President Ronald Reagan. Our group also appeared at an
annual meeting of the Minnesota Music Educators Association. The band
was awarded 2nd place in the Senior Concert Band competition
held in conjunctions with the National American Legion Convention in
Minneapolis in September 1994.
Our sponsorship by the Richfield American Legion Post ended several years ago. The band is presently a freestanding group incorporated as a non-profit.
Our band was fortunate in acquiring a substantial
amount of traditional Concert Band music from the bands that performed
at Lake Harriet under conductorís Don Stoyke, Al Rudd, and Elmo
Lunkley. All through the
band history we have continued to build our library of classic and
contemporary literature of American Concert Band, Broadway Show medleys,
and concert band treatment of ďBig BandĒ selections.
Dick Strasburg, Roy Hanson, Al Moe, John Connors, Randy Olson, Dennis Opland, Tom Ryerson, David Butler, and Rita Bryan are former band managers. The current manager is Don Larson.
In Memoriam- a list of deceased band members