History of the

North Suburban Concert Band

Over thirty-five years

1981: The North Suburban Community Band is formed under the direction of Clay McCartney

In the spring of 1981, a group of musicians and music educators from the northern suburbs of the Twin Cities of Minnesota gathered to form an organization dedicated to the performance and enjoyment of band music. Within a few months, the group had grown to seventy musicians and became known as the North Suburban Community Band. Under its first director, Clay McCartney, the band began performing in area parks, parades, schools and festivals, exposing the community to a level and type of music that had been previously unavailable.

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1985: Cathedral Concerts give band new challenge 

The North Suburban Community Band appointed its next director, Michael Halstenson, in 1985. Under Halstenson’s baton, the band added some new elements to its growing catalog. The Cathedral concerts allowed the band to perform in some of the area’s most beautiful churches. These concerts gave band members an extra musical challenge by including some of the world’s finest band and solo literature.

1989: Christmas Concerts reach thousands

In 1989, the NSCB took on a project unparalleled by most other organizations of its kind. By combining instruments and voices, the band began an annual Christmas concert tradition that has become a “must-attend” highlight for audiences throughout the metropolitan area. For several years, Director Halstenson composed a completely new work, and organized and led the special North Suburban Concert Chorale. Within a short time, the Osseo School District Children’s Chorus became a regular part of the concerts, as well.

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1995: Giving back to the community with North Suburban Music Scholarships

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In an effort to further serve the community, the North Suburban Community Band started a scholarship program in 1995 designed to assist students in furthering their musical education. Each year high school students from area schools are invited to audition on their band instrument for the North Suburban Music Scholarships. It is a wonderful opportunity for the band to play a part in promoting band music performance and education for generations to come.

1995: First trip abroad to Finland

Also in 1995, the band took its first foreign tour, traveling to the country of Finland and playing concerts in several cities there. For many band members, this was an opportunity of a lifetime: a chance to visit places familiar in family lore, yet very new. The reception by the Finnish hosts was so heart-warming that future tours would be a certainty.

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1995: The Pops Concert

Another new NSCB tradition also began in 1995, with its annual spring Pops concert. This family-oriented event features not only the full NSCB, but several smaller ensembles made up of members of the band, including the German Band and the North Suburban Big Band, and provides opportunity for audience participation on the dance floor

1997: Halstenson passes baton after 12 years    

In 1997, Steve Lyons took over as director of the North Suburban Community Band. The band continued to grow in popularity members and audiences alike. Performances were divided between the indoor and outdoor seasons. Free, outdoor concerts have always been a part of the band’s mission, and performances continue at a range of local venues. The NSCB has played -- and continues to play -- at Memorial Day ceremonies, the Mayor’s Fourth of July Picnic in Anoka, and concerts in the park at the Coon Rapids Dam, Blaine Town Square, and the Brooklyn Park Gazebo.

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1998: A new name! The North Suburban Concert Band    

In 1998, the North Suburban Community Band had a new conductor, Michael D. Scott, and a new name. Band members approved a name change: “The North Suburban Concert Band” better represented the band’s sound and repertoire, while the group remained “the community’s band.”

2000: The band travels to Germany and Austria  

In 2000, the North Suburban Concert Band traveled abroad once again, touring Germany and Austria with concerts in Ulm, Innsbruck and Salzburg. A highlight of the trip was a performance at Munich’s famous Hoffbrau Haus.

2005: The band travels to Norway 

Beginning with the 2002 season, the NSCB welcomed its fifth conductor, John Lace, who had been a music educator in Minnesota for over 23 years. A highlight of Lace’s tenure was a “Made In Minnesota” concert, featuring local composers conducting their own works. The band again traveled abroad, for the third time in ten years, touring Norway during the summer of 2005. This marked the final event with John Lace as conductor. He handed the band over to John Rosner, the band’s sixth conductor, starting with the 2005-06 concert season.

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And the band plays on...   

With our current director, John Rosner,The North Suburban Concert Band continues to enrich the community with a love for performing and hearing concert band music. It does this by honoring the traditions established over the years, while always looking for the opportunity to try new and exciting things. In July 2016 , the band toured Ireland.

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