Richfield Symphonic Band History


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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.


Former Band Members

In Memoriam- a list of deceased band members