The first five works contained on this recording are typical of the programming presented annually by the St. Olaf Band. They are taken from the Homecoming Concert, the winter tour program and the Alumni Concert, given during commencement weekend.
The remaining works on the recording comprised the second half of the '95 winter tour program, which was shared with audiences in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan. The works were presented without pause, connected by narratives researched and written by band members. The music-making was certainly rewarding in and of itself on the tour - it was not uncommon to hear soft crying in the audience members after each performance will perhaps be remembered longer by the players, as interesting discussions ensued about personal experiences with World War II and the expressive power of music.
The 84-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.
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.