St. Olaf Band brings tour to DeKalb

The St. Olaf Band will perform at DeKalb High School at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 20, as part of its 2021 Midwest tour.

The band, conducted by Timothy Mahr, is the oldest music organization at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota, a campus internationally renowned for its high caliber of musical ensembles.

Among the band’s 89 members, two DeKalb-area natives are excited to bring the band to their community. Devonte Merrick is a DHS alumnus and plays trumpet. Euphonium player Madeline Kessler of Sycamore is secretary of the band.

This tour’s program, “… With Reverence and Hope,” will feature works for wind band including music by Jack Stamp, Eric Ewazen, Edward Elgar, Timothy Mahr and a premiere of Cathy Likhuta’s “Planet B.” The program also will feature student soloists and conductors.

“People need the arts in their lives not only to entertain, but to take you to a place where you can reflect and come away with a new understanding of the world around you,” Mahr said in a news release. “It’s important to acknowledge what we’ve been through, and we look forward to performing again on tour.”

This will be the band’s first opportunity to perform for live audiences since February 2020, when music on the St. Olaf College campus – and around the world – stopped. The St. Olaf Band has toured nationally since 1904 and internationally since 1906, when they performed a four-week, 30-concert tour of Norway, making them the first American collegiate band to tour Europe. The band has subsequently toured several times in Norway, Great Britain, Japan, central Europe, and most recently in Australia and New Zealand in 2018. The St. Olaf Band will be the first St. Olaf ensemble to resume the tradition of venturing across the country.

In 2021, the St. Olaf Band was awarded the American Prize for its 2020 tour program, “Imagining Peace.”

Tickets for the St. Olaf Band tour are free for all students and $10 for adults. A discount is available for groups of 10 or more. Tickets may be purchased at or at the door.

Visit the St. Olaf Band website for more information on the band.