THE MONITOR DRILL BAND
Joe Williams: “In 1891 we organized a band of 10 men from
Horicon [where Monitor Drill moved here from], which was
later enlarged to 35. We went on many trips and usually
played at the State Fair. In the early years we took the
train from the Milwaukee Depot. We sponsored many
activities. Our 4th of July celebrations were always a big
affair and the entire Village took part. Everyone would
bring their lunches and entertainment would be racing,
catching greased pigs, climbing a greased pole with a purse
on tope was always a big drawing card. We usually would end
up with a dance in one of the halls. We had one band stand
or meeting place near the Monitor and this was taken down by
one of the storms. We also played many times in the pavilion
on the hill above the Monitor. This building was torn down
by the Dan Patch [Railroad] construction. Later one stand
was built in the park across from the old fire barn and this
was also blown down. For several years we had no place to
meet or practice and the band of the Village sort of went by
Monitor Drill Concert Band at the State Fair, September 9,
Monitor Band, also from 1913
THE ST. LOUIS PARK VILLAGE BAND
The Minneapolis Journal reported that the St. Louis
Park Band made its debut at the Memorial Day Parade on May
31, 1900. The band was led by cornet player Zeph Wood. They
started out on the grounds of Monitor Drill, then built
their own practice hall on Lake and Monitor (Republic Ave.).
One report is that they practiced in the dining room of the
Commers House Hotel, also known as the Blind Pig. Later they
met at the Brick Block.
The band presented concerts every Friday evening at the
bandstand in what is now Jorvig Park. They also played at
the county fair and in parades in Minneapolis.
As early as 1902, and perhaps earlier, the Village Council
supported the band by appropriating $100. The photo
below is from 1903.
Members of the band in 1904 included Bud Haskell, John
Dryer, Nels Neilson, Bert Williamson, Adolph Jensen, Harry
Blackton, Carl Nelson, Zeph Wood, Charles Bradley, Bill
Lewis, Henry Jensen, Frank Bradley, Oscar Nelson, Erick
Liljenfors, Joe Williams, Walt Moore.
On September 21, 1911 the Journal reported on the Village
Harvest Festival and band carnival. The celebration "brought
the entire population of the village to Odd Fellow Hall,
where the band, bedecked in gay uniforms, played... and the
citizens made speeches congratulatory of the achievement of
having completed the stringing of electric lights along the
main streets..." A dance closed the evening's festivities
and lasted "well into the night."
Committee Chairman T.H. Colwell congratulated bandmaster Z.E.
Wood, Dr. John Watson congratulated the Village, Mrs. W. F.
Fletcher and Mrs. Pearl Hamilton sang, Mrs. T.H. Colwell
gave readings, and Trafford N. Jayne contributed a song.
John Dreyer contributed bits of vaudeville, and Mr. W.I.
Nolan "ran the gamut from funny stories to an impassioned
appeal for patriotism of community and country."
An oft-told story concerns a 4th of July engagement in
Chanhassen. Ben Brown remembers, "The band caught the train
in St. Louis Park and rode straight to Chanhassen. One
member couldn't make the train that morning, so he walked
the railroad tracks all the way. He couldn't locate the
band, so he inquired as to where they might be. The people
of Chanhassen wanted to know why he wanted to find the band,
and once they found out he was a member, they ran him out of
town without so much as an explanation. He soon learned that
the band had arrived early, got drunk, and raised particular
hell so they were all run out of town. And then this poor
guy arrives late after walking from St. Louis Park and asks,
'Where's the St. Louis Park Band?'"
An article dated July 13, 1940 tells us that one Clyde
Wolford proposed that a St. Louis Park Band be formed. His
idea was to form a committee with representatives from the
School Board, Village Council, Businessman’s Association and
the Fire Department. In 1941 it is noted that St. Louis Park
Municipal Band performed as part of the Miss St. Louis Park
contest that year.
In 1955 it is noted that there was no City band.
There were a series of bandstands. The first one was
probably built around 1900, and was replaced prior to 1904.
The second one was destroyed in the 1904 cyclone and
presumably replaced. Another was built in July 1914 – its
predecessor may have been destroyed in the deadly tornado
that hit the previous May. This white wooden structure stood
for 40 years until it was torn down in 1954.
In 1971, Bandstand Park was renamed Jorvig Park in honor of
Torval Jorvig. He was a longtime trustee of the Village, a
councilman for the City, and a strong voice on the planning
commission. It was at this time that the Historic Depot, now
owned by the City, was placed in Jorvig Park.
THE ST. LOUIS PARK COMMUNITY BAND
Many years went by with no band, but a community band
movement was spreading throughout the suburbs, and in 1972,
a new community concert band was formed, headed by Lorraine
Brasket. She and other interested musicians put an ad in the
community education newsletter, asking for volunteers. 16
people came to the first meeting and played for a month
before they disbanded for the summer. Another effort was
made, this time by calling people who were identified in old
volumes of the Echowan as having been in High School band.
The group hired Michael Holtz as conductor, paying him a
small stipend with funds raised from the City and other
fundraising efforts helped by the Lions Club, Boy Scouts,
etc. They initially rehearsed at Susan Lindgren, then Central,
and then the High School
Ms. Brasket, who plays tenor sax, served as President for
two years, drawing up bylaws, etc. and getting the group
established. Jim Rhodes, who also plays sax, has been
President ever since. In 2006 the band had over 50 members, and
has had as many as 65. Over one third of the members have
been with the band for 20 years or more, and there are three
original members. Concerts are given year-round, and the
group has played at Orchestral Hall several times. They also
perform a Holiday concert at the High School.
Rhodes started a program called “Gift of Music” in 1991.
This program provides donated musical instruments to
students who might otherwise not be able to afford them.
Over 400 such instruments have been refurbished and donated,
along with lessons. The band strives to demonstrate to young
people that music can be a life-long pursuit, not just
ending in High School.
The St. Louis Park Community Band’s web site is