The first record of the band was reported in the St. Cloud Times as early as 1887, and it is believed the band had been in existence at least a few years before then.

Prior to the turn of the century they were the only band in the nation that played while riding bicycles.  In 1895 this bicycle band was featured at the Minnesota State Fair.

In 1923, G. Oliver Riggs, St. Cloud’s “Music Man,” was invited to build a new boys band in the city.  By 1928 his band was 233 members strong and was billed as the largest band in the world.

In 1931 at the national Jaycee convention in Des Moines, Iowa the band captured the national title of National Junior Chamber of Commerce Band.

In 1934, the band came in first at the American Legion Convention in Duluth.  Alumni of the band have become members of the U.S. Navy Band, big bands of Tommy Dorsey and Gene Krupa, the Washington Redskins Football Band, and many other military and professional groups.

In 1947 the band became full-time with rehearsals and concerts year-round.  In the 1950’s the band diversified by playing more classical works, Broadway scores, American folk music, and pops arrangements.

By 1952 Roger Barrett, later chairman of the St. Cloud State Music Department and a well known composer, became the conductor of the band. In 1964 the band was the first to perform in the Benedicta Arts Center at the College of St. Benedict in St. Joseph, Minnesota.

In 1984 the band played not only at the retirement dinner of Mr. Roger Barrett, but also at the dedication ceremonies for the new Heritage Center of the Stearns County Historical Society.

Kathleen Johnson became the first woman conductor in the band’s history in 1996. Other directors of the band include Eugene Neri, Marv Pearson, Frank Herring, Richard Hansen, Bob Wig, Lowell Larson, Dave Haedt, Mel Hauck and Gordon Schlichting.


1999 marked 20 years of normalized relations between the United States and China. This event included an invitation for the band to perform in Beijing. While in China the musicians also had the opportunity to visit The Forbidden City, The Great Wall, The Great Hall of People, The Temple of Heaven, and Tiananmen Square.

In February of 2005 the band traveled to Puerto Vallarta with Dave Haedt conducting.  In the fall of 2005 the band performed at the deployment ceremony of the Minnesota National Guard to Iraq.

The band was previously conducted by Glen Toumaala and is currently being conducted by Adam Tervola-Hultberg and has a concert schedule of 25 to 30 performances a year.  Perennially the band has performed summer concerts at Barden Park near the St. Cloud State University campus.

The band also performs at special events such as the Memorial Day program at the VA Medical Center and the 4th of July Fireworks at Hester Park.  Recently the band has taken on a new initiative to perform in area schools to promote the life-long enjoyment of music making.

For More Information
Mark Kaehler, Business Manager