The 90-member St. Olaf Band celebrated its centennial year with a tour of Great Britain, becoming the first college music organization to perform at the famed Aldeburgh Festival. The St. Olaf Band was also the first American collegiate band to make a European concert tour, traveling to Norway under the baton of F. Melius Christiansen to perform for King Haakon and capacity crowds in 1906. The band has subsequently toured several times in Norway, Great Britain and central Europe, as well as throughout the United States. Memorable performances include invitations to the national conventions of the American Bandmasters Association (1997), College Band Directors National Association (1987) and Music Educators National Conference (2004). The band toured Britain and Ireland in the summer of 2000, participated in a study tour of Mexico in January 2004, and recently participated in a study tour of Japan in January 2010.
The annual tour is the highlight of the year for the St. Olaf Band. The band revels in performing the same program in a variety of venues for enthusiastic audiences. The tour is first and foremost an educational experience for students and conductor alike, providing opportunities for musical and spiritual growth that are not easily duplicated in any other manner. The band grows closer as collaborators and friends while at the same time delving deeper and deeper into the works being presented. They truly get to "live" with the compositions. By the time the final Home Concert is reached, the band is typically ready to burst as they take the stage and tend to give a performance which marks their very best efforts. The St. Olaf Band is pleased to share these exciting sounds in "On Tour."
A professor of music at St. Olaf College, Timothy Mahr conducts the St. Olaf Band and teaches courses in composition, conducting and music education. He is a past president of the North Central Division of the College Band Directors National Association and has served on the Board of Directors of the National Band Association. Also principal conductor of the Minnesota Symphonic Winds, Mahr was elected to membership in the American Bandmasters Association in 1993.