Vikingland Band Festival - 2023

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Sunday, June 25, 2023 • 1:30 pm • Alexandria, MN • Competition results will be posted on our website and social media • VikinglandBandFestival • #vbf2023 39th ANNUAL VIKINGLAND BAND FESTIVAL

Grand Marshals

Four area retired music teachers named grand marshals of 39th Vikingland Band Festival

ALEXANDRIA — Four area retired music teachers will serve as the grand marshals for this year’s Vikingland Band Festival.

Carolyn Aarsvod, Joelle Burreson, Steve Deitz and Jane Herth will share the honor at this year’s 39th event, which will take place Sunday, June 25. These four were chosen because of their positive impact on students as music educators in the Alexandria Public Schools, according to Greg DeGier, Vikingland Band Festival committee chairperson.

“These educators are respected and admired music educators,” DeGier said. “We strive to recognize people who have made contributions to music, youth or the community, and these retired educators have impacted all three areas.”

Learn a little more about each one through the following Q and A’s:


Aarsvold spent 34 years teaching in several area school districts, as well as at a private music studio. She is an accomplished performer on the flute/ piccolo, violin/viola and piano, having performed with the local Central Lakes Symphony Orchestra, Fargo-Moorhead Symphony, Heartland Symphony and various ensembles in the Fergus Falls and Alexandria areas.

Q: When did your love of music begin?

A: I grew up in Fergus Falls, and started piano lessons when I was 8 years old. By the time I was 12, I also played violin and flute and loved sharing music with my friends. The school music program was exceptional, and one of my favorite experiences was marching in the FFHS Marching Band, where I had the honor of being the Drum Majorette.

Q: What is your favorite instrument to play and why?

A: My favorite instrument has been the flute/piccolo, but I’ve played flute, piccolo, violin and viola in many symphony orchestras, operas, musicals and chamber ensembles.

Q: What made you want to become a music teacher?

A: I set my career choice by the time I was in high school. I learned so many life skills through music, and I knew that I wanted to be a part of continuing the important mission of music in schools.

Q: What are a few highlights of your music teaching career?

A: I have taught in seven different school districts in Minnesota, North Dakota and Montana. The privilege of getting to know so many exceptional students and families has been the highlight of my career. And when I think back on teaching elementary music to 10 classes a day, and experiencing the non-stop energy of the kids as they sang, laughed, played instruments, danced, created and hugged me as they went on their way, I know I was blessed.

Q: What does it mean to you to be one of this year’s grand marshals?

A: I’m honored to be chosen along with my colleagues. The District 206 music program has a legacy of excellence, and I’m proud to have been a part of it. The Vikingland Band Festival is an amazing event, and I would like to thank the many volunteers and band directors who continue to put in so many hours of their time for the students.



Burreson taught vocal and instrumental music for 37 years, with the majority of those years in Alexandria. As a member of the music department, she worked with the marching band as a color guard instructor from 1985-1992. Some of her highlights include trips to the Cotton Bowl Parade, Tournament of

Roses Parade and National Independence Day Parade. She is principal oboe in the Central Lakes Symphony Orchestra and has been serving on the board in various capacities for the past 14 years.

Q: When did your love of music begin?

A: I grew up in a home where music was at the center of every day. My parents are both music educators and from a very early age my brothers and I were surrounded by quality musical experiences.

Q: What is your favorite instrument to play and why?

A: Playing in band and orchestra throughout my career has provided such a wide variety of experiences. I started piano at a very young age and have played oboe since 5th grade. I’ll never forget how excited I was to come home from the music store with my first “clarinet with the funny reed”.

Q: What made you want to become a music teacher?

A: I come from a long line of educators so I guess it was “the family business.” I started teaching swimming lessons at age 14 and just always knew that I would be a teacher.

Q: What are a few highlights of your music teaching career?

A: I have had countless opportunities over the course of my 37 years teaching to see music make an impact in the lives of so many children. The kindergarten student who asked, “why are my eyes wet?” after we listened to a beautiful piece of classical music to the student who heard a new piece for the first time asking excitedly if we could “do it again.” Those were the moments that made all the hard work of teaching worth every minute.

Q: What does it mean to you to be one of this year’s grand marshals?

A: I am so honored to be a part of this wonderful tradition of musical excellence in Alexandria. I was involved with the

marching band as a color guard instructor for seven years back when the parade was just getting started. Seeing the sheer number of people who have been a part of this experience through the years, from instructors, musicians, parents, and the community members involved has made me very grateful to be a part of a community that values and supports music and the arts.


Deitz was the vocal music director at the high school in Alexandria for 35 years. He was recognized by the American Choral Directors Associate as the Outstanding Young Choir Director of Minnesota. He served as a musical director for many community and high school productions and co-founded the Rising Stars performance experience for Alexandria Community Education.

Q: When did your love of music begin?

A: It seems that I have always been drawn to music and the visual arts. I went to college for art, and switched to Music Education after my freshman year.

Q: What is your favorite instrument to play and why?

A: Guitar. I took to it quite easily, and being a guitar player has served me well.

Q: What made you want to become a music teacher?

A: My high school choir director was an exceptional role model for me, and I’ve spent my career trying to emulate his example.

Q: What are a few highlights of your music teaching career?

A: So many. There have been awards and recognition spanning the years. Performing several times at Orchestra Hall, state ACDA Conventions, and college choir festivals are all highlights. The day-to-day music making with my students made for a wonderful, fulfilling career.

Carolyn Aarsvold Joelle Burreson Steve Deitz Jane Herth

Q: What does it mean to you to be one of this year’s grand marshals?

A: I was working in Alexandria when the Vikingland Band Festival started. I have known all of the grand marshals since the inception. I am honored to be recognized in their company, and alongside my friends, and former colleagues: Jane, Carolyn and Joelle!


In Herth’s 41-year teaching career, she taught junior high vocal music, directed the Jefferson Carolers and taught music at Lincoln and Voyager elementary schools. She also taught at St. Mary’s School. Herth has served on the board and is past president of the Alexandria Area Arts Association. A singer and a pianist, she has also served as a soloist, director and accompanist at St. Mary’s Catholic Church.

Q: When did your love of music begin?

A: My grandparents had a piano and I remember picking out melodies by ear. That led to piano lessons and then to singing and the rest is history.

Q: What is your favorite instrument to play and why?

A: I love to sing; it’s a part of me that I can share with others or keep just for myself. It’s always with me and uniquely mine. I think back to my serious singing days and I remember the incredible feeling when good breath support, and proper placement aligned within me to make a beautiful sound. Pretty awesome.

Q: What made you want to become a music teacher?

A: I love music and I love people. To be able to share music making with others has given me a joyful career. No day was ever the same, and I loved it.

Q: What are a few highlights of your music teaching career?

A: One unforgettable moment was when a wide-eyed elementary student told me she had goosebumps and she wasn’t even cold. That memory is hard to beat. I will also remember my days with the Voyager Children’s Choir and directing over 200 students at St. Mary’s School in their Christmas programs. The pure sound of children’s voices is so special.

Q: What does it mean to you to be one of this year’s grand marshals?

A: It is truly an honor to be a part of Alexandria’s rich musical heritage. Our community places value on the arts, and we have quality music, theater and fine arts organizations because of it. I am honored to be a part of its tradition and will continue to do what I can to keep it alive and growing.


A. Color Guard

Marine Corps League Runestone Detachment #1409

B. Grand Marshals

Carolyn Aarsvold, Joelle Burreson, Steve Deitz, Jane Herth

1. Alexandria Marching Band – Host Band

Director: Nick Mason, Michelle Robertus & Derek Ziemer

Color Guard: Ki Blaser

Honor Guard: Evan Huebner

Repertoire: Confident

2. Sauk Rapids-Rice High School Marching STORM

Class AAA

Director: Heidi Martinson, Garrett James

Drumline: Andrew Wennekamp

Color Guard: Amy Schmidtbauer

Repertoire: Nordic Odyssey

3. Champlin Park Marching Rebels

Class AAAA

Director: Steve Johnson, Amanda Mastrian

Music & Visual Staff: Davis Bitterman, Nic Englin, Ethan Goulson, Grant Goulson & Carly Mastrian

Drumline: Tyler Hague & Elias Taylor

Colorguard: Addie Guenther, Bailey Engberg & Emily Erickson

Repertoire: When I First Saw You

4. KMS Marching Saints

Class A

Staff: Nate Sikkink, Carly Fuhrman & Kristin Stivers

Repertoire: Beyond the Stars, songs including The Imperial March, Jupiter, Mr. Blue Sky

5. Minnesota Brass Drum & Bugle Corps - Honor Unit

Director: Chris Judd, Justin Foell

Minnesota Brass is an independent, all-age drum and bugle corps based in St. Paul, Minnesota. Like all drum corps, the ensemble is comprised of three distinct sections: the hornline, percussion and color guard. Together these sections create an entertaining show of music and motion which they perform at competitions, exhibitions and parades throughout the summer. The Corps is playing Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” on the parade route this summer.

6. Milaca Class AA

Director: Andrew Nelson

Drumline: Anthony Peterson

Colorguard: Christine Nelson

Repertoire: The Zombie Haunt

7. Waconia Class AAA

Director: Nick Hansberry, Phil Snyder, Alli Wilmes, Addie Mease

Drumline: Jake Esterberg, Alli Wilmes

Colorguard: Sue Snorek, Rachel Bongokou, Sydney Kuykindall, Julia Scarletti

Hornline: Nick Buroker, Carl Mathwig

Repertoire: Don’t Rain On My Parade

8. STMA Marching Knights

Class AAAA

Staff: Joshua Van Vooren, Andy Abel, Nick Flattum, Marissa McLaughlin

Repertoire: A Pirate Adventure

9. Cotter Marching Band

Class A

Director: Andy Meurer

Assistant Director: Ian Schultz

Drumline: Sam Wantock

Colorguard: Jenna Rickoff

Visual Tech: Paige Stanislawski

Repertoire: The Candy Shop

10. River City Drum and Bugle Corps - Honor Unit

Program Coordinator: Matt Ferry

River City Rhythm was founded in 2009 to create a welcoming educational environment for Minnesota youth in the marching arts. Since then, RCR has grown into a robust performing arts organization with four major ensembles – a Winter Drumline, Winter Guard, Parade Drumline and a Drum and Bugle Corps.

11. Fergus Falls High School Marching Band

Class AA

Director: Mickaela Pasch, Josh McGowan

Drumline: Jeff Sands

Colorguard: Ashley Sands

Honor Guard: Justine Hutchins

Repertoire: Patriots on Parade, Shenandoah

12. Richfield High School Marching Spartans

Class A

Staff: Chad Armbruster, Jeffrey Peterson, Larysa Euteneuer, Ryan Larson, Calvin Millet, Peter Dysart, Joel Matuzak, Owen Tucker, Amy Powers

Repertoire: Metrodance

13. Dassel-Cokato Marching Chargers

Class AA

Staff: Danielle Baratono, Anson Hanna, Carlos Mendiola, Gus Wiitala, Morgan Manz, Jenna Schunk, Heidi Lietha

Repertoire: Superstition, VooDoo, The Dark Brigade

14. Sartell - St. Stephen Marching Sabres

Class AAA

Director: Dave Lumley

Assistant Director: Lara Moline

Drumline: Joseph Sicora

Color Guard: Holli Sauerer

Repertoire: Secret Agent

15. 728 Cadets

Class AAAA

Staff: Joe Jaeger, Shannon Curtis, Natalie Sterner, Savannah Kearns, Chris O’Connel, Eddie Walentiny, Kyle Ballou, Sabrina Onuma, Robert Lohr, Anthony Polzin, Garret Sorenson, Danielle Larson, Ava Bergman

Repertoire: Mission Impossible Theme, James Bond Theme, No Time to Die, Smooth Criminal

Committee Members

Chairman – Greg


Co-Founder – Ken

Treasurer – Dan Haglin













– Rhonda
Operations – Jennie
Operations – Dave
Distribution – Kim
Operations – Jeff Meland
Operations – Todd Blaser
Barry Peterson
General Effect
– Ron
– Jon Mattheis
General Effect
Joey Babay
– Joel
IN-KIND SPONSORS Alexandria Technical & Community College American Solutions for Business Alexandria Elks Lodge 1685 Central Lakes Orthodontics Eckroth Music Elden’s Fresh Foods Glenwood State Bank ITW Heartland Juettner Motors Martinson Insurance Viking Bank Viking Garage Door Co. Widseth Winning Edge Graphics Alexandria Downtown Merchants Association Alexandria Area Bowling Association Alexandria Elks Lodge 1685 Bell Bank Gardonville Cooperative Telephone Association Alexandria Area Robotics Alexandria Golf Cars Alexandria Park Department Alexandria Police Department Alexandria Street Department Bell Bank City of Alexandria Community Vacuum & Sewing Center LLC Databae Systems Douglas County Sheriff’s Posse Hilltop Lumber HPS Rental KXRA Radio Livewire Entertainment Media Services, LLC Marine Corps League Runestone Detachment #1409 North Ambulance North Star Academy RG Realty US Bank West Central Sanitation Winning Edge Graphics
– Gary
2023 Festival Committee Members and Judges