The Chatfield Brass Band will perform its summer "Music in the Park" concert series in Chatfield's City Park, beginning June 6.
The Chatfield Brass Band will perform its summer "Music in the Park" concert series in Chatfield's City Park, beginning June 6.
The Chatfield Brass Band (CBB) is once again gearing up for an exciting summer under its bandshell. Director Carmen Narveson has a fantastic schedule prepared for the upcoming "Music in the Park" summer concert series, held Thursday evenings in Chatfield's City Park. The residents come together, unfold lawn chairs and take in tunes.

"As a band, we appreciate our wonderful audiences and their excellent support. It is so enjoyable to play for them," Narveson added. "People have told me that our series is a true example of the best of a small town. In our busy lives, there is something to be said for spending a relaxing summer evening sitting in your lawn chair, eating, and enjoying great music."

CBB's membership is comprised of approximately 35 people, and "the age range is from 20 to 80-plus," Narveson stated.

Rehearsals are held Thursday evenings at Chatfield Elementary School through the end of May, and the band has been working on summer music since returning after its Christmas break.

"We are rehearsing a wide variety of music - musicals, band classics, jazz, old pop standards and many marches. We like to play music that our audiences enjoy listening to," Narveson added.

Preparing for the upcoming summer concert series has had its challenges, such as the early May snowstorm that buried most of southeastern Minnesota, canceling rehearsals one more time.

"It's been more challenging this year because we have had to cancel rehearsals because of the weather," she said. "We have around 40 pieces in our folder, so we need the rehearsal time. Fortunately, we have band members who are excellent players, so we will have everything ready to go."

She added that CBB will host three guests this year. "We are bringing back the Jack Brass Band again - they were a great crowd pleaser last year - and the Independent Silver Band is playing here before heading to Northfield to participate in the Vintage Band Festival the following weekend," Narveson explained. "Every week, we will have drawings and food concessions before the concert, so our audience members can come to the park for an evening meal followed by music. Either Old Tyme Cafe or R-4 Meats will be serving, and the Root River Rabbits 4-H Club will again be serving their delicious popcorn and sodas. The best part is that they bring it to you."

The brass gets out and across the grass for the first time on Thursday, June 6, at 7:30 p.m. with the CBB's kickoff concert, complete with concessions by Old Tyme Café from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

They'll share "A Little Jazz" with the audience on Thursday, June 13, and the CBB Jazz Combo will put a little saxophone into the evening. Concessions will be available from R-4 Meats, and the concert, sponsored by F&M Community Bank, will feature free ice cream treats.

The following Thursday, June 20, the CBB will bring on more music, with concessions by R-4 Meats.

On June 27, CBB will host the Jack Brass Band, a returning favorite guest from the 2012 season. According to the band's website, "The Jack Brass Band is the ultimate hybrid of jazz, funk, blues, pop, rock, soul, reggae, R&B, Dixie and maybe even a l'il zydeco flavoring - horn-powered and backed with vocals." The concert is one of a few held during the summer that will be held in case of rain - if the sky starts to fall, the concert will be held at the Chatfield Elementary School cafeteria.

The CBB will depart from its usual Thursday concert schedule on Sunday, June 30, as the Fourth of July falls on a Thursday this year, meaning that the annual CBB patriotic family concert must be held before the holiday. A children's magician will charm the small and the tall from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m., and an old-fashioned picnic in the park will be available as concessions are offered by Old Tyme Café.

Narveson stated, "It's a family event, and we'll have a roaming magician for the kids. At every concert, we'll have a kids activity with treats. There is also a kids' drawing for Dairy Queen treats."

The next CBB appearance is slated for Thursday, July 11, at 7 p.m. at the Chosen Valley Care Center, an opportunity for the community to join its elders and have refreshments served by the Chosen Valley Care Center's Founders Club.

The Winona Brass Band, a "British style brass band made of 25 brass players and a percussion section," will take the band shell on Thursday, July 18.

On Thursday, July 25, the CBB will return and offer its members a chance to choose what to perform during "Player's Choice" night. Concessions will be available by Old Tyme Café, and St. Paul Lutheran Youth will offer refreshments.

The CBB will close its 2013 concert series season with a reprise appearance of the Mt. Vernon, Illinois,-based Independent Silver Band, an old-time brass band with new gusto, on Thursday, Aug. 1. Old Tyme Café will once again provide concessions.

The concert series is made possible through the generosity of donors and sponsors. "We are again offering the opportunity to sponsor a concert. It can be in honor or memory of someone, or just to celebrate an event. The cost is $50, and we put in in the program in addition to announcing it at the concert," Narveson said.

The band's leader truly enjoys directing the CBB. "I look forward to band rehearsals every week. What can be better than leading a group of musicians who enjoy coming to band and love playing their instruments? They work hard, and we have lots of fun," she said. "There is a great sense of satisfaction when we really play a piece well. The band members are great people and we consider ourselves a sort of family. We get to know each other well and enjoy each other's company."

She continued, "The great thing about being a musician is that you can participate all of your life. We have had high school kids, college kids and still have some excellent players who are close to 90. Some of our members have played in the band for over 40 years! We also welcome drop-ins and new members anytime. We have one guy who comes down to play every year for the patriotic concert."

Furthermore, Narveson observed that CBB members are generous individuals. "Not only do they play, but they help out in many other ways with the band. Our board of directors is really on top of things when it comes to being a successful non-profit. Everyone in the band helps with setting up, taking down, equipment upkeep, publicity, et cetera. It is definitely a group effort."

Narveson thanked local businesses - contributors for drawings and CBB news, as well as park maintenance - for their time invested in making the CBB summer concert series possible.

"We have great support from the businesses in the Chatfield community, and we couldn't do it without them," she added. "The city crew keeps our park and bandshell looking great. The Chatfield News and city offices give us great publicity."

She invited prospective audience members, "Bring your lawn chair and enjoy a beautiful summer evening of great music and good company."

The Chatfield Brass Band's summer concert series is slated to begin Thursday, June 6, at 7:30 p.m. in Chatfield's City Park, on Highway 52 just south of Chatfield's business district.

All ensuing concerts are at 7:30 p.m. unless otherwise noted. In case of inclement weather, concerts will be canceled except the Jack Brass Band's concert.

For more information, one may log onto http://chatfieldband.lib.mn.us/band-concerts.