Our Very First Concert at Como Park: June 26, 1898
The summer of 1898 was a very busy one for the Minnesota State Band. The Band was incorporated on April 20th and played at several events in St. Paul during April and May. On June 26th, the Band presented its first two concerts at Como Park, opening the summer concert season there and beginning a tradition of annual summer appearances at that venue. The 25-piece ensemble, under the baton of Professor Christian Marius Selling, gave both a 3:00 PM and an 8:00 PM concert. The two completely different programs consisted of marches, overtures, dance music and some solo pieces for the trumpet and baritone players. The afternoon concert included a performance of John Philip Sousa’s new march, Stars and Stripes Forever.
According to newspaper accounts of the day, an estimated 5,000 people came out to Como Park on the 26th, to enjoy the beautiful park and listen to the Minnesota State Band. But that was not the only time the Band played at Como Park during the summer of 1898. In July, the Band was engaged for a week of concerts, every evening, with an additional one on Sunday afternoon, for a total of eight concerts. The evening performances began at 8:00 PM and continued until 10:00 PM, some of them ending with a display of fireworks, which really brought out the crowds. This schedule was repeated in August, for another full week of eight concerts at the Pavilion. In all, the Band played nineteen concerts at Como Park that summer.
Did you know that the Minnesota State Band is the Official Band of the State of Minnesota? Well it is and we have two official proclamations from two different Minnesota Governors to prove it! The first proclamation was from Governor Rudy Perpich and the second was from Governor Arnie Carlson. One Democrat and one Republican. Well what do you know, they can actually agree on something.