Lake Wobegon Brass Band celebrates the Reformation

Staff Writer
Since 2013, I have primarily covered the Anoka-Hennepin and Spring Lake Park school districts as well as the city of Spring Lake Park for ABC Newspapers.

The Lake Wobegon Brass Band will perform two concerts celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation a few weeks early Oct. 7 and 8.

The Lake Wobegon Brass Band will perform two concerts celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation Oct. 7 and 8. File photo
The Lake Wobegon Brass Band will perform two concerts celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation Oct. 7 and 8. File photo

The ensemble is co-sponsored by the Anoka Brass Band Association and Anoka-Ramsey Community College, but performs across the Twin Cities metro.

The band’s first concert this fall is at St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church, 900 Stillwater Road, Mahtomedi, at 7 p.m. Oct. 7. The following day at 2 p.m., the band performs at St. Philip the Deacon Lutheran Church, 17205 County Road 6, Plymouth.

An offering will be collected in lieu of ticket sales at both concerts.

Special guest the Rev. Dr. Paul Westermeyer will present on music of the Lutheran Church throughout the concert.

“Dr. Westermeyer has been with us in the planning stages of this concert since its inception,” said Michael Halstenson, conductor of The Lake Wobegon Brass Band. “His knowledge and insight has been invaluable, and we are so pleased to have him join us.”

Also joining the ensemble is organist Bill Chouinard.

“When Bill plays with us, there is a spark and intensity like no other,” Halstenson said. “He’s simply the best, and we can’t wait to hear the combination of brass band and organ.”

Time-honored Lutheran hymns, including “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God,” “Now Thank We All Our God” and “Earth and All Stars,” will be performed, as will the lighter “Down By the Riverside (River-slide),” featuring trombonists Mark Springer, John Olson and John Froelich.

“We want to make sure to acknowledge that Lutherans can have some fun too,” Halstenson said.

Halstenson himself, with percussionist Jack Stamp, arranged many pieces for the concert.

“It’s exciting to hear these pieces for the first time,” Halstenson said. “Jack and I are so fortunate to be able to write for this marvelous combination of brass band and organ. What a wonderful celebration this will be in beautiful church settings and a significant moment in church and musical history.”

Editor’s note: Lake Wobegon is used in the ensemble’s name with the permission of Garrison Keillor and Minnesota Public Radio.

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