Chatfield Brass Band Celebrates 50th Anniversary with “Music and Memories”.

The Chatfield Brass Band, formed in 1969 by the late Jim Perkins, is celebrating its rich history and  legacy of community music this year.  The 50th Anniversary “Music and Memories” Concert will take place on Saturday, June 29th at 2:00 p.m. in Potter Auditorium located in the Chatfield Center for the Arts.

In addition to the concert The Music Lending Library will host an open house from 11:00a.m.-1:00 p.m. at 81 Library Lane in Chatfield.

The concert will be filled with music by the Chatfield Brass Band and will include a slide show, a historical review and a tribute to our late founder, Jim Perkins. The band will recognize the people and organizations whose involvement and support have contributed to the continued success of the band. Please plan on attending and help us celebrate the band’s rich history and reconnect with past and present friends of the band.  A light reception and fellowship time will follow the concert in the Legion Room in the Chatfield Center for the Arts.

The Chatfield Music Lending Library is dedicated to keeping the spirit and tradition of band music alive in America and the World.

    • By operating a renowned library that features one of the most extensive collections of concert band music in the world
    • By providing outstanding customer service to our highly valued library patrons

How did tiny Chatfield, Minn., become home to the world’s largest collection of brass band music?

Check it out at:  ClassicalMPR.org Article

Check out KSMQ’s “Off 90” episode featuring the Chatfield Brass Band and Music Lending Library. This program gives an excellent overview of the work we do and the people behind our success.

Our History

BandTown USA . . . The City of Chatfield, established in 1853, has a long association with bands and performance. The first band was organized in 1883. In 1885 the Chatfield town council set up a tax appropriation to fund summer band concerts. The summer band concerts and the tax levy that supports them still exist today!

Concert in the park

Somewhere along the way, the Chatfield Town Band dissolved but was revived again by Jim Perkins in 1969. Perkins gleaned the names of band members from old high school yearbooks and sent out invitations to the first rehearsal of the new Chatfield Brass Band. Sixteen people attended the first rehearsal, six of them playing tuba! Through Perkins’ tireless promotion, the band grew to nearly 50 members.

Jim PerkinsWord of Chatfield’s unique music reputation spread throughout the country. In 1973, the library and band incorporated and achieved tax exempt status. In 1983, the city’s post office received permission to use a special cancellation stamp reading “Bandtown USA, 125th Anniversary, 1853 -1978.” The post office also received about 40,000 13-cent stamps to commemorate the event. Governor Anderson proclaimed Chatfield “Bandtown USA” in 1978. The US Navy Band, Swiss Bands, and other international bands have performed in Chatfield.

One problem facing the band was the unavailability of sheet music. Not just any sheet music, but the hard to come by kind; the challenging pieces rarely played today. Perkins sent requests to high schools to send him their unneeded music. Thus began the Chatfield Brass Band Music Lending Library. Pieces came from all over the country–in boxes, thirty to sixty at a time. The music was first stored at Perkins’ home, and then at Chatfield City Hall. Music took over the storerooms, the men’s shower stalls and spilled out into the hallways.

Band Library BuildingPerkins eventually received money from the state legislature to build a 3000 square foot building on land he donated. Today inside the music library, stacks of filing cabinets contain thousands of catalogued pieces of music. Bands from as far away as Australia and Japan have borrowed from this valuable collection.

The majority of the financial support comes from memberships and donations. The library relies heavily on volunteers to process musical donations.