Dakota Datebook

Gold Star Band

Sunday, May 2, 2004

One of NDSU’s oldest organizations is celebrating its 100th anniversary with a concert today at 2 p.m. at Festival Concert Hall in Fargo. It’s the Gold Star Band, organized in 1902 by a local musician and the Secretary of the College. The earliest written account goes like this:

The two men had heard that a small band at Kurtz, Minnesota, had “busted up” and that a farmer over there had some band instruments for sale. They “dickered” with this farmer and bought fifteen instruments for $50.00. There were three clarinets, ten brass instruments, two drums, and a pair of cymbals. The brass instruments were later described… as being “two-thirds solder and one third special Lyon and Healy tin.” …the first rehearsal (was) held September 18, 1902 with nine boys present and Harry M. Rudd as director…

By 1904, the Gold Stars were organized as a military-style band under C.S. Putnam, who directed them for 40 years. One former player later remembered that Putnam started each practice with a cigar. But he didn’t light it; he chewed it. And as a rehearsal neared its finish, so did the cigar.

Dakota Datebook written by Merry Helm

This text and audio may not be copied without securing prior permission from Prairie Public.

Dakota Datebook is a project of Prairie Public, in partnership with the State Historical Society of North Dakota, with funding from the North Dakota Humanities Council.

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