MPR’s Jennifer O'Neill profiles the Chatfield Brass Band in Chatfield, MN, which is known as “Band Town USA.” O’Neill interviews members of band about their experiences playing and the preservation efforts of Chatfield Brass Band Music Library.
(00:00:09) People wonder why I do it it takes a lot of time but it's it's my leisure. It's my well, I don't know what you call it. Some people play golf, you know, that's what they like their time. And I played in the band. This is what I like as people began to find out about it. You'd be surprised how many people use to play and you know, I hadn't had the opportunity. Atia playing because there is no bands to play Within the country, but after we started by our band grood, I guess after the present time we have as high as 45 members at
(00:00:42) times Chatfield Minnesota. It's called band Town USA and it's a quiet little place complete with the town square and a river where on every Thursday night shining Brass Band instruments roll into town from The Villages around And we're folks gathered to hear the chat field Brass Band It's like a scene Out Of The Music Man. Jim Perkins got about eight guys together back in 69 found them instruments and the group has grown ever since they play the old kind of band music the Sousa marches Carl King and Hayes Tunes re Cleveland the tuba player and Ray Thompson a Dairy Farmer remember playing those old Tunes back in the
(00:01:22) 20s is a writer by the name of Carl King who was a baritone player himself, and he really wrote him up so that they They had a lot of activity and that's what I like because the average tube apart you're sitting there. You're going boom. Boom. Boom van being on the hook. That's no fun. So if you have a part in there where you can really speak out and there's a lot of it in his music and there's a lot of others Carl King Henry Fillmore and cl barn house. And all the list is endless people are asking us to come and play because we played these old marches and you'd be surprised how many people like to hear this type of music, which you don't hear too much nowadays you your school bands very seldom play an Old King march or Sousa March and I guess this is the reason why this is this is mainly our music is he, you know, a lot of these schools that have had this type of music and they were discarded every just Throwing it away and I guess Jim Perkins kind of headed this and he thought the idea why it through this music way. This is the type of music. We wanted you see so he started writing to schools and asking him for this music that they were about to discard and you'd be surprised the amount of music that come in. In fact it come in by the pickup loads if we wanted to go and get it and this is what we did and so We really have a large library. In fact, we're rolling out a space now, we'll have to do something. I guess to get a different building or something. We intend to build a library if we can see our way out of it in the future. You
(00:03:12) see that was Ray Thompson who farms near Pilot Mountain plays the trumpet. He saw the music lending library grow from those first pick up loads to over 20,000 pieces today Jim Perkins who heads up the nonprofit library has employed about 14 people to sort out the music. In fact just that afternoon a load of Music came in from Poughkeepsie New York Perkins explain just why they are doing this
(00:03:35) are basic reason for existing is number one to preserve and star in catalog and index and make available on a freelance basis all types of music before it's long gone and lost forever many Publishers have gone out of business. They've been merged with other Publishers music was no longer in print. Once the copyright protection is gone. Most Publishers don't want to republish it because anybody you can publish it. So one of the problems is a lot of the famous old tunes that you don't you can't buy anymore because they're no longer available had been burned by various Talent bands breaking up and quitting and libraries being burned. They used to have them in the town halls and the old wooden School houses and a good deal of the Old Town van libraries have just disappeared some custodian comes in after the band's quit and says, well, let's get rid of that stuff. They don't play anymore. So they burn it. Well the whole problem there is then you end up with a lot of incomplete music here that And fill out because you can't buy parts to come on. So you have to depend upon somebody else having that new deck somewhere in the United States that's willing to help you by sending you the parts. You don't have
(00:04:37) the library Publishers a catalog Perkins says but they're finding it hard to keep it current lack of funds and space are also a big problem because sheet music is Lent without charge. The library must rely on private donations federal and state funds to continue last spring the library requested fifty thousand dollars from the state legislature to help purchase a new Building although the request was denied area legislators say they plan to reintroduce a similar proposal in 1979 the need is there according to Perkins.
(00:05:06) We've got a real National resource right here and the federal government recognized that the state of Minnesota is recognized. The problem now is to convince the foundations of some support symphonic music and chamber music on all these other things that historically the United States was more recognized for band music than it was for anything else. This was a hotbed of bands in 1900 1910. They were professional bands crisscrossing the country Souza Conway Crematory Braille Burl Creole. Excuse me. I can't remember all these names but they had a real going thing. There was over 200 permanent places in the United States that house professional bands in 1910. Now we've come a long ways. Most towns don't even have a town band anymore. But here is a whole history of Music in the United States to spend
(00:05:53) lost Chatfield band and Library president Jim Perkins. So they say good music does not die. It just gets filed away. Do they deserve their nickname bent on USA are retired grocer and French horn player thinks so
(00:06:08) If any town would be a circus band Town Chatfield certainly is
(00:06:19) from Rochester. This is Jennifer O'Neill.