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Making music together, that's what a community band does

Dr. Kristin Tjornehoj humors her audience of one, the photographer, in the Lakefront Park band shell where under her direction, the St. Croix Valley Community Band will perform on July 29 at 7 p.m. It is her 26th year conducting the group. Photo by Margaret A. Ontl1 / 2
Twice a week members of the St. Croix Community Band gather for rehearsals at the Hudson Middle School. Submitted photo2 / 2

This year the St. Croix Valley Community Band gathered for rehearsal in mid June. Members range in age from 88 to 13. Regardless of age or musical instrument one thing they have in common is that they love to make music together.

This year as in the previous 25 years the band is directed by Hudson resident, Dr. Kristin Tjornehoj, assistant professor of education and music at the UW-River Falls.

"I came here right out of college," said Tjornehoj. "We started as a jazz band but other people wanted to play so it grew into this. We started rehearsing at the Hudson High School band room (where Tjornehoj was an instructor)."

Over the years the group grew and grew and grew. This year there are 98 members on the roster. After years of moving rehearsals, the band now practices twice a week at the Hudson Middle School, thanks to middle school music instructors, Connie Root and Carl Meincke, both of whom are members of the community band as well. Meincke is the member who has played the longest with the band.

"I like the central location and the access to the freeway," said Tjornehoj. Twenty seven communities are represented in the band.

Jay Covington, who plays the euphonium, was once a member of a military band. "Just looking at him sit makes you proud to be an American," said Tjornehoj who doesn't take attendance at rehearsals. "You come when you can."

This year she has five guest conductors assisting, including Spike Maiden Mueller, who will be conducting the world premiere of his own composition, "The St. Croix March." Mueller, a professional musician from Luck, jumped at the chance to play in the band, together with his wife and son.

"The first day of rehearsal I try to create a sense of community," said Tjornehoj. "Each section has a leader to help balance the various experience levels. I want everyone to stretch musically and personally. I know what it takes to put a good show out there. We are all in this together."

Members introduce themselves and have to tell something about themselves to the rest of the band.

"You work on and have this plethora of music ready to go," said Tjornehoj. "Then you make your selections based on respect for the venue." Not every community likes the same type of music and since she has been playing in these areas for nearly three decades, Tjornehoj, a New Richmond native herself, knows well what the crowds will like.

"We just want to make the world a better place," said Tjornehoj. "The community band is manifestation of that."

The St. Croix Valley Community Band now has a board of directors and is looking into establishing the group as a 5013C. "I want the band to have a life after me. When I am not at the helm anymore," said Tjornehoj.

In the meantime, she is looking forward to producing music of all kinds for the summer season.

"There is something for everyone," said Tjornehoj. From the Beach Boys to polkas, marches and folk songs, Tjornehoj has selected a program she can tune to the venue. "It is my community service."

Community band Members


Valerie Thompson, St. Paul; Casey Aumann, Hudson


Casey Aumann, Hudson; Desiree Friesen, Hudson; Linda Hallock, Lake Elmo, Minn.; Chris Hendricks, New Richmond; Jean Johnson, Prescott; Stephanie List, Hudson; Mary Maiden Mueller, Luck; Alyssa Renn, Hudson; Valerie Thompson, St. Paul


Heather Bolton, Hammond; Sue Hellmers, Hudson; Rolf Larson, Lake Elmo; Michelle Spaight, Hudson; Christine Thelen, Oakdale, Minn.


Dyan Anunson, Hudson; Sarah Bauer, Hudson; Jeanne Brandeen, Hudson; Sonia Funkenbusch, Hudson; Kaye Gavic, Hudson; Beth Heutmaker, Baldwin; Lynn Johnson, Oakdale, Minn.; Kathleen Kullmann, Cottage Grove, Minn.; Dave Larson, Hammond; Kathryn Larson, St. Paul; Carol Law, Hudson; Francine Marlow, Hudson; Dan Roth, Oak Park Heights, Minn.; Amber Slyon, Hudson; Morgan Trainor, Hudson; Michaela Wildes, Hudson

Bass Clarinet

Carol Halpaus, Ellsworth; Mary Langdon, Hudson


Geoffrey Maiden Mueller, Luck

Alto Saxophone

Cathy Arnfelt, Lake Elmo; John Asmus, Hudson; Sam Dahlke, Stillwater; Sara Handrahan, Osceola; Mavis Lindahl, Dresser; Eric Possehl, Hudson; Jennifer Schwochert, River Falls; Amanda Staberg, Amery

Tenor Saxophone

Katie Possehl, Hudson

Baritone Saxophone

Teresa Davis, Hudson; Mike Pearson, River Falls


Dan Bennis, Hudson; Kaylynn Brown, Minneapolis; Peter Close, Roberts; Franz Hall, Afton, Minn.; Harvey Halpaus, Ellsworth; John Kleppe, Pine City, Minn.; Scott Kleppe, Pine City, Minn.; Cindy Kocik, Hudson; Jake Myer, Baldwin; Bob Plaehn, Lakeville, Minn.; Kristina Plumer, Hudson; Connie Root, Hudson; Spencer Webb, Hudson; Amy Wickenhauser, New Richmond


Melissa Adorn, Hudson; Jim Aerts, River Falls; Dan Baumgartner, Hudson; Elijah Baumgartner, Hudson; Emily Bjerstedt, River Falls; Jason Bystrom, Ellsworth; Deb Elwood, Hudson; Amanda Gunn, New Brighton, Minn.; Pat Hallock, Lake Elmo, Minn.; Spike Maiden Mueller, Luck; Kristina Mienke, Hudson; Jen Newton, Stillwater; Verle Ormsby Jr., Amery; Zack Robison, Hudson


Katie Argo, Woodbury; Bjorn Carlson, Somerset; Carl Meincke, Hudson; Jake Olivier, Hudson; Marsha Pearson, River Falls; Jim Root, Hudson; Sam Rosiejka, Hudson; Zayn Swfullah, Hudson; Richard Wartenberg, River Falls.


Jay Covington, Somerset; Phil Hanson, River Falls; Katy Hockworthy, Hudson; Mary Oberg Hanf, Bayport, Minn.; Dennis Opland, Hudson; Frank Utech, Stillwater


Gary Bird, Spring Valley; Ben Feia, Hudson; Jason Unseth, River Falls


Hannah Betchwars, Hudson; Curtis Hanson, River Falls; David Kocik, Hudson; Kenny Miller, Winter Haven, Fla.; Melanie Neumann, Hudson; Maria Olson, Plum City

Librarian & Manager

Maria Olson, Plum City