In 2010, the Fridley City Band celebrated its 50th season of performances.
Long ago, in the fall of 1960, parent members of the Fridley High School Band Boosters Club decided to turn the tables on their musician children who usually were the featured performers at the Band Booster meetings. A brass ensemble of parents practiced and then performed for the group and was a smashing success. Other parents clamored to be allowed to join the group. The kids were even proud of us old folks (most of us were in our early 30's). So we decided to start a City Band. Cedric Adams, a popular columnist with the Minneapolis Star, featured our efforts in one of his columns. We also advertised in the local paper for "wannabe" band memberts in the Fridley area who were interested in dusting off instruments and revitalizing skills left over from High School and College Band days.
At the first rehearsal in mid-January 1961, about 25 eager musicians showed up and the intrepid Fridley City Band was born. We quickly grew to 40 members. Summertime we played weekly concerts in neighborhood parks, took second place in the Aquatennial concert band contest, participated in 49er Days parades, sponsored and hosted several Community Band Festivals, played for shopping center openings (Holly Center in 1961 among others) and performed at many civic events. Over the years many children of band members joined in and played alongside their parents.
Our repertoire includes show tunes, pop tunes, concert works and of course, marches. We have established an extensive library of concert band music over the past many years and the library is updated each year with new music literature. Only 4 directors have led the band in its long history: Ben Fredricks, Vern Knutson, David Olson and our present fine director Phil Raaen.
The Band performs many concerts throughout the year, many in area senior housing locations. The City Band and Northeast Orchestra join in an annual POPS Concert. The Band has performed concerts at Como Park Pavilion, Faribault's Concerts in the Park, Hopkins Raspberry Festival, Lake Minnetonka in Mound, Minnehaha Park in Minneapolis, and the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum.
Through the years, Fridley City Band experimented with smaller ensembles. The Dixieland Band was a small ensemble, with trumpet, saxophone, trombone, clarinet, keyboard, tuba and percussion, playing jazz music from the early twentieth century. Another group, now called The Old Time Band, has about 20 musicians and performs "old-time" polkas, schottisches, waltzes and marches. Octoberfest season is a busy time for the Old Time Band! Musicians have also joined together in a flute chorus, trios, and brass quintets.
Fridley City Band rehearses at the Fridley Middle School Band Room on Monday nights 7:15 to 8:45 pm from September through June. Join us for a great musical experience! Join the band!