Posted by: Dan Bergeson | August 8, 2011

Band Shell Envy

How come there isn’t a band shell in Northfield? Two colleges with terrific music programs, a community with musicians of all ages from grade school to retirees,  a thriving arts community on every level and no band shell or outdoor stage. It’s baffling. I’ve written on this topic before and I’ve bent many an ear with the same question and . . . complaint!! Why not one more time?

As I’ve mentioned before, the Finseth Bandshell was on the St. Olaf College campus for  decades and at one time there was a small gazebo in Central Park. But there has never been a permanent structure owned by the City and placed on public land. Many towns in Minnesota and across the country have such legacy amenities. A couple of weeks  ago I visited Lake City, MN on the shores of Lake Pepin and found a band stand in Patton Park, a lovely green space in the center of town.

When I was in Ireland recently, I came upon this very thing in Dublin’s St. Stephen’s Green. A signboard on the premises indicated that there was at least one weekly use of the facility during the entire summer. One of the reasons that there aren’t more outdoor performances in Northfield during the summer is that few organization have the budget to pay for use of the Northfield Showmobile multiple times. A permanent band stand requires no additional setup or take down! (outside of chairs and music stands, of course!)

So I guess what I’m saying is, can we find the money and the moxie to fund this deficiency in our fair city? Are there enough folks for whom this would make a difference in their quality of life? I would answer both questions with a resounding “Yes!” Now I just have to find them. But before I start, let me show you what you can do if you’ve got the money, the location, the moxie, and then some. I give you Red Wing, Minnesota.

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