The Northfield Road Trip

Bob Nielsen looks out from the front seat of the bus. The bus stopped at the Eagan park-and-ride to pick up five band members.
Brian Genz was the bus driver for the 2002 trip. Driver Brian Genz smiles for the camera.

As a general rule, the Roseville Big Band only performs within the Twin Cities—Minneapolis, St. Paul, and their suburbs. The exception is the Mid-Winter dances held at Carleton College in Northfield, south of the Twin Cities.

From Roseville, it's about a 50-mile drive, and if there are no stops along the way, it should take about an hour and 15 minutes in ideal weather. However, the dance is held at the beginning of February, when Minnesota temperatures historically are at their annual low, the weather is often snowy, and the roads are sometimes icy.

To reduce the risk of band members making the trip individually, we hire a bus from the Richfield Bus Company to take us to and from the performance. The trip begins in Roseville, where the performers from the northern parts of the Twin Cities meet at 5:30, load equipment, and head to Eagan, a suburb south of the Mississippi River. There, around 6:15 to 6:30, the bus picks up additional performers and heads to Northfield. A few band members drive separately because of schedules or location.

Even in bad weather, we arrive before 7:30, set up, and eat the sandwiches, veggies, and chips provided by the dance sponsors in time to start playing at 9:00 p.m. When we finish at 1:00, we once again load the bus and head back north. The trip ends around 3:00 Sunday morning.

Click here to see pictures from the Roseville Big Band performances at Carleton College Mid-Winter Dances.