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Hannibal Courier - Post - Hannibal, MO
  • Strike up the band: Minnesota band performs concert in Central Park

  • On a typical Monday noon hour in Central Park one might expect to find squirrels playing in the grass. The only music to be heard typically is from birds in nearby trees. However, this week Monday was different as the music being heard was coming from the park’s bandstand, courtesy of the 32-member community band of Roseville, Minn.
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  • On a typical Monday noon hour in Central Park one might expect to find squirrels playing in the grass. The only music to be heard typically is from birds in nearby trees. However, this week Monday was different as the music being heard was coming from the park’s bandstand, courtesy of the 32-member community band of Roseville, Minn.
    The free performance helps the band remind people of days gone by.
    “We’re just promoting music, live music all over, trying to make it like it was,” said Dan Kuch, band director. “People used to gather, hundreds and hundreds of them and now it’s just not like that any more. We’re trying to get that back where families can gather with friends and as a community and enjoy a little concert.”
    Monday’s event, which started at 12:30 p.m. and lasted a little over an hour, featured a variety of music.
    “We’re going to be hearing marches and show tunes. We’re going to play a James Bond suite and a jazz number,” said Kuch.
    For Cindy and Rob Ahrens of Hannibal, their favorite selections might well have been the three polkas the band performed. To the enjoyment of the approximately 50 people taking in the concert, the Ahrens got up and danced.
    “The polka sounded like home,” said Cindy Ahrens, who along with her husband are native Minnesotans.
    Among those applauding the Ahrens’ willingness to get up and dance was Dr. Phillip Foreman.
    “Your dancing was very good,” Foreman told the couple after the concert.
    “We were waiting for you to join us,” said Rob Ahrens.
    “She can do it,” said Foreman of his wife, Priscilla, “but I’m not so good at it.”
    Foreman enjoyed the concert, even though a light rain fell at times.
    “It was a pleasure being down here and getting to listen to them,” he said.
    Pleased to host the concert was the Parks and Recreation Department.
    “I was really hoping people would come out to see this. It’s a beautiful day, in a beautiful setting. They’re going down the river and we’re the prettiest river town there is. I’m glad they stopped here,” said Mary Lynne Richards of the Parks Department.
    The stop in America’s Hometown followed concerts in Prairie du Chien, Wis., and Burlington, Iowa.
    “Our trip was just wonderful,” said Kuch. “It rained all the first day and we ended up playing under tents.”
    Page 2 of 2 - This year’s three-city tour marked the band’s 50th season.
    “The band has traveled before. We’ve been to England, Ireland, Scotland, Switzerland, Austria. This year we’re traveling here in the United States,” said Rob Sjolund, president of the group.
    Ironically, the band is returning home today (Tuesday) on the final of four days designated by the Minnesota governor as Roseville Community Band Days in that state.
    While over 30 members of the band performed in Hannibal, membership can swell up to 60 at times, according to Sjolund, who plays the tuba.
    “We’re kind of an open band. We don’t require any auditions or anything. People kind of come and go. It’s for people who just want to come and play music,” he said.
    Kuch, the group’s director for 13 years, not only relishes making music with the band, but also the road trips.
    “It’s so much fun traveling with all these people and learning new things about everybody,” he said. “I’m privileged to be a part of this group, to be in front of them and to direct them.”

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