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St. Olaf Band coming to Chaska Saturday
by Mark W. Olson
Jan 19, 2012 | 1536 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The 93-member St. Olaf Band is performing in Chaska on Jan. 21.
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Persuading the renowned St. Olaf Band to perform at Chaska High School this Saturday wasn’t easy.

“It was about seven years of pestering to get the St. Olaf Band to Chaska,” said Noah Anderson, a 2008 Chaska High School gradu-ate.

Noah, a St. Olaf senior and a bass clarinetist for the band, contributed four years of pestering. His older sister Lauren, who also played bass clarinet in the band before graduating, contributed the first three years. The siblings are the children of Linda and Richard Anderson of Chanhassen.

The band performs in two metro area concerts before its national tour every year, said St. Olaf Band Manager Terra Widdifield. She credits Anderson’s lobbying (“Mostly, I just got worn down,” Widdifield joked), as well as Chaska High School music teacher Tim Beckler and Minnesota Valley Community Band Director Barry Fox with bringing the band to Chaska. “[We had] all the right local support and a nice venue,” Widdifield said.

Conductor Timothy Mahr leads the wind ensemble, which was founded in 1891 and has over 90 members. “They’re one of the premier performing groups in the state. The St. Olaf Band has an international reputation,” said Fox.


This is the first leg of the band’s tour, which brings it to Chaska and Rosemount, before the band travels to a variety of venues in California.

By this point, the program is “completely polished,” said Widdifield. The audience is “getting a chance to hear what most people agree is one of the top five undergraduate wind ensembles in the country – and that includes music conservatories.”

“The program is really varied,” said Widdifield, ranging from quiet pieces to music “that will make people jump on their feet and clap.”

The performance includes a premiere of “New Symphony,” by David Maslanka. “People who know wind band music really follow him. He’s one of the most sophisticated living composers of wind band music,” Widdifield said.

The band will also perform a piece by current St. Olaf band member Eric Choate, “an up-and-coming composer.”


At Chaska High School, Noah Anderson performed in the wind ensemble, pit orchestra, jazz band and pep band, and sang with the concert choir and chamber singers.

“I learned something different from every musical experience,” he said.

Anderson is looking forward to playing at his alma mater.

“It’s a culmination of my musical experience, which really started off in high school,” he said. Anderson said the performance allows him to “come back to the high school that had given me so much … and give a little bit back to the students.”

“I haven’t been on the stage there for about four years, and it will just be a really great experience that I know a lot of people of my hometown will be there supporting me.”

At St. Olaf, Anderson also sings in Chapel Choir, and plays in the jazz band and pit orchestra. While Anderson is active in band, it’s not his primary field of study. He’s a political science and American studies major. When he graduates this spring, he’d like to get involved in an election campaign as a canvasser or field organizer.

Anderson has honed his organizational skills while working as financial officer for St. Olaf’s Student Government Association (fellow Chaska High School alumnus John Laven is president of the group).

“I definitely want to keep playing,” Anderson said. Because it’s not his major field of study, music has given him a break from other work. Music “taught me to have a separation between my personal life and my work life,” Anderson said. I think that’s some-thing I’ll be able to continue after I graduate.”

St. Olaf Band

What: The St. Olaf Band, directed by Timothy Mahr, performs a program of classics, as well as new compositions.

When: 7 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 21

Where: 545 Pioneer Trail, Chaska High School

Cost: $10 adults/seniors; free for students

Info:; (800) 363-5487
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