Q: What is the music that your web pages use for a background?
A: It's part of the introduction to My Little Girl, a composition by Keith Miner. This is part of the same background image used on the cover of the Roseville Big Band's Concert in the Park recording, which includes My Little Girl.
Q: What's the farthest you've gone to play a concert?

In 1979, the Roseville Big Band, under the direction of Bob Lancette, performed with the Roseville Community Band at the International Music Festival in Limerick, Ireland. A decade later, in March, 1989, the Roseville Big Band played four concerts in Acapulco, Mexico, under director Paul Pizner. The rest of the band's performances have been in or near the Twin Cities. The farthest from Roseville the band has played recently is Northfield, Minnesota, 50 miles south of Roseville, providing the big band sound for Carleton College Mid-Winter Dances.

Q: Do you collaborate with other bands?
A: Starting around 1990, the Roseville Big Band has had an annual joint rehearsal with the River City Jazz Orchestra (formerly the Inver Hills Community College Jazz Band), to share musical ideas. We have also sometimes participated in joint concerts, such as a jazz festival held at the Science Museum of Minnesota, a holiday concert with the Roseville Community Band, performances with the RCJO at Monroe Community School and Simley High School, an appearance with three middle school jazz bands at the 2000 Oak View Middle School Jazz Festival, an appearance with five middle school jazz bands at the 2001 Roosevelt Middle School Jazz Festival, and an appearance with six middle school bands at the 2002 Raider Jazz Festival.
Q: Who has written arrangements and compositions for the band?

The band encourages local composers and arrangers to submit music for us to read and consider performing. We have performed compositions by Keith Miner ("My Little Girl", "Bedtime Look", "Still Love You"), Julie Stenberg ("Roseville Blues", "Impressions of the Working World - II ", and "Starting Now"), Mike Bratlie ("Teaser", "Casa del Sol"), Len Yaeger ("Reverie for Ruben", "Slow Dance for Lynn", "Augie's Turn") and Glen Newton ("Dance to the Big Band Swing", "Barely Bossa Nova", "It's Too Late (for Us to Start Again)", "Brown Wore Black"). We've also performed arrangements by Kay Foster, Robin Raygor, Bill Frank, Tim Altmann, Bill Johnson ("Peacherine Rag"), Julie, Mike, and Glen. One of Glen's big band arrangements, "Roseville Rock", was written by local composers Jack and Linda Brewer for a musical celebrating Roseville's 50th Anniversary. They updated the lyrics for the 2004 celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Central Park Foundation.

These unique contributions to our repertoire by local composers are part of what distinguishes the Roseville Big Band from other Twin Cities big bands. (Our repertoire also includes several works by local composer/arranger/trumpeter/band leader Steve Wright, but these pieces are available nationally, rather than having been written for the Roseville Big Band. We also play an unpublished arrangement of "Come Fly With Me" by Jason Lingle, who was raised in the Twin Cities and wrote the arrangement for a class project.)

Q: Have you ever used synthesizers with the band?
A: The Roseville Big Band's electronic keyboard is capable of producing several different tones, but we always choose some kind of acoustic or electric (e.g., Fender Rhodes) piano tone, to suit the era of the song. However, for a few performances, Glen Newton augmented the keyboard section by playing his Casio CZ-101 synthesizer on "Wind Beneath My Wings".
Q: Who subs for the director?
A: When Glen has been unavailable, the band has been led in rehearsals or performances by Bill Pohl, Mike Park, Kay Foster, Mike Bratlie, Rich Raaen, Norm Herzog, Bob Hallquist, or Keith Miner.
Q: What unusual instruments have been featured with the Roseville Big Band?

For dances, we use only the standard big band instrumentation. There, the rarest instruments you'll see are the flugelhorns, played by all of our trumpet players, and soprano sax, played by several of our saxophonists.

But for concerts, we try to expand our audiences' concepts of big band instrumentation by incorporating instruments not often featured on solos in modern big bands. Of course, "unusual" is in the mind of the beholder, but here are some solo instruments featured with the band, most since 1990:

  Instrument Solos Played By
  Harmonica John Curlee
  Bass clarinet Scott Harris
  BB-flat contrabass clarinet Glen Newton
  Bass saxophone Kay Foster and Len Yaeger
  Piccolo trumpet Glen Newton
  Soprano trombone Glen Newton
  Alto trombone Glen Newton
  Frumpet Dan Menken
  Alto horn Glen Newton
  Euphonium Glen Newton and Jim Foster
  Tuba Glen Newton
  Tenor horn Glen Newton
  Cornet Glen Newton
  Oboe Andie Gehrz
  Piccolo Kristin Rusterholz and Glen Newton
  E-flat flute Glen Newton
  Bagpipes Lynn Ista and other members of the Minnesota State Fire Service Memorial Pipe Band
  Slide whistle Glen Newton
  Berimbau Kenne Thomas
  Cuica Glen Newton
Q: When was a euphonium first featured with the Roseville Big Band?

The first appearance of a euphonium soloist with the Roseville Big Band was July 26, 1988, when Glen Newton was featured playing jazz euphonium on "No, No, No" and "Show Me the Way to Go Home". Since then, Glen has played euphonium jazz solos with the band on several other concerts.

The other euphoniumist who soloed with the Roseville Big Band was drummer Jim Foster. Jim was featured on euphonium on the ballad "Come in From the Rain".

Several other euphonium players have performed on trombone or bass trombone, but not euphonium, with the Roseville Big Band. The list includes at least Carol Jensen, Jim tenBensel, Andy Peik, and Mark Olson.

Q: Has the band ever been featured in a movie?

In 2005, independent filmmaker Luke Taylor of Upton Creative (www.uptoncreative.com) featured the band in his 10-minute documentary, Hangar Dance. The film documented the May, 2005, Commemorative Air Force dance and included interviews with members of the CAF, dancers, and band leader Glen Newton. Glen's composition "Dance to the Big Band Swing" is a recurring piece of music throughout the film. On September 21, 2005, Hangar Dance was screened in a Cinema Lounge presentation in the Cabaret Theater at the Bryant Lake Bowl in Minneapolis. The audience was impressed with Luke's use of black-and-white and worn film effects that gave portions of the documentary a feeling of having been filmed during the 1940's.

Q: Which of the Roseville Big Band songs have been featured on National Public Radio?

The Roseville Big Band was the featured band for Chris Nielsen's One Night Stand show that aired September 16, 2000. That show included "Waltzing Matilda", "Sleepy Time Gal", "Somebody Loves Me", "Woodchopper's Ball", and "Star Dust". The May 13, 2001, One Night Stand included "My Little Girl", as did Make Believe Ballroom around the same date. The February 9, 2000, One Night Stand included "Georgia On My Mind". An earlier One Night Stand featured two other selections by the band, but the master is missing. If anybody happened to record it, we'd be interested in getting a copy or learning which selections were featured.

The band's recordings of "Georgia on My Mind," "Sleepy Time Gal," "Woodchopper's Ball," and parts of "Somebody Loves Me" were featured on the weekly Big Band Show (Sunday at 8:15 A.M.) on KRFO radio (1390 AM, Owatonna, Minnesota) in October, 2002.

Q: Is there an activity fee for playing in the Roseville Big Band?
A: Although the band is sponsored by the Parks and Recreation Department, there is no activity fee for members. However, members are expected to attend all rehearsals and performances, and because many of the performances yield donations to Parks and Recreation, members contribute in a way that makes the activity fee unnecessary.
Q: What do you do at a typical rehearsal?
A: We generally start at 7:30, take a 5-minute break around 8:40, and end around 9:30 or shortly after. Ann Booth sometimes brings cookies for us to enjoy during the break. (On sit-in night, we have more extensive refreshments.) We usually rehearse 8-10 songs in an evening, more if we're concentrating on reviewing for an upcoming concert or dance, fewer if we're tackling a new work. When we don't have the pressure of an impending performance, rehearsals include practice improvising, beyond the improvisation included in our arrangements. Rehearsals usually include either sight-reading a new piece of music or reviewing one we haven't played in several years. We also read works in progress when the band's composers and arrangers have something for us to try. We keep administrative topics to a minimum, but we review dates, times, and directions to our performance venues and announce other musical happenings of interest to the members.
Q: Do other big bands have web sites?

An increasing number of big bands have a presence on the world-wide web. Here are some of Glen Newton's favorite related sites:

Band or Link Location Interesting Tidbits Related to the Roseville Big Band
The Sentimental Journey Orchestra Atlanta, Georgia Sound clips on the site included the same version of Latin Fantasy as the Roseville Big Band plays. American Patrol sounds similar, but the SJO plays it a step higher than the Roseville Big Band.
River City Jazz Orchestra Twin Cities Area, Minnesota Photos include a joint rehearsal/concert with Roseville Big Band.
The Big Band Sound Poughkeepsie, New York Director Dave Cole once attended a Confederate Air Force dance featuring the Roseville Big Band and the Rhythm & Swing Dancers.
Q: I've seen your concerts televised. How do they know what camera shots to get and who the soloists are?

The band's director, Glen Newton, provides a detailed list of the songs to the video producer/director, John Rusterholz. The details include the names of the soloists and when they play within the song, as well as the song name, date, composer, and arranger. The details also identify which sections are featured on each part of the song. This information lets him plan in advance which camera shots to use and create the graphics to identify the soloists.

In many cases, Glen also provides the musical scores for John. When working from the musical score, John, who is also a pianist and singer, often would summarize the score in a "shot sheet" indexed to measure numbers; then during the performance, a score reader calls out the measure numbers, allowing John to synchronize the shots with the music. When preparation time is limited, John counts on the score reader to let him know what's coming up in the music.

Q: Does the Roseville Big Band included any groups of relatives?

The band includes a husband-and-wife team: Jim and Kay Foster play drum set and alto sax, respectively. Kay's brother, Bill Pearson, plays baritone saxophone in the Roseville Big Band.

Bassist Mike Wobig's niece Lauren Redpath was the featured vocalist on the June 10, 2003, concert.

Former lead trumpeter Tim Altmann's sister Wendy Altmann was a featured vocalist on the July 29, 2003, concert. Wendy had previously been featured on the July 25, 1995, concert, before Tim joined the band.

In addition, there have been occasional parent-child teams for specific concerts:

  • Trombonist Mike Bratlie's daughter Carin played tuba with us on the August 1, 2000, concert.
  • Director Bob Lancette's son Chris played drums with the band for several performances.
  • Trombonist Larry Perry's son Dave has also filled in on drums on several occasions.
  • Director Glen Newton's daughter Stephanie has sung with the band, and her husband Toby Erickson was featured on drums at their wedding reception.

When the band performed in Acapulco, Mexico, it included pianist Debbie Burnham and her husband Dick on baritone sax. Dick's cousin Jeff Burnham has also played trumpet with the band.

In the 1970's and early 1980's, Harry McCoy and his wife Arlie played alto sax and piano in the band.

In addition, lead vocalist Karen Dunn is the cousin of tenor vocal sub Mark Scanlan.

Guest drummer Jake Nyberg (1998) is the brother of guest pianist/vocalist/flutist Jana Nyberg (2000).

Besides all this, relatives of some band members have been among our guest percussionists.

This page was last updated
Thursday, February 04, 2021.

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