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2010 - Rembrandt Alumni Band - Rod Shedenhelm, Director

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The Rembrandt Alumni Band members are: Front row, left to right: Sandy Halverson, Sioux City; Betty Foval Hoskins '60, Harrisonburg, Virginia; Helene Ducas Viall '63, Des Moines; Don McKibben '60, Boulder City, Nevada; Cordy Peterson '59, Reinbeck, Iowa; and Paul Mosbo '58, Cortland, New York. Second row: Lavila Nelson, Sanborn; Pat Moe, Albert City; and Eloise Mosbo Obman '60, Rembrandt. Back row: Karl Knutson, son of a former Rembrandt superintendent, Cedar Rapids; Keith Moe, Albert City; Rod Shedenhelm, band director, Sioux Rapids; and Rolf Mosbo '67, Rembrandt. Jessica Rix, Sioux Rapids, also played for the concert.

 

From the Storm Lake Pilot-Tribune, Thursday, July 29, 2010.

For Rembrandt alumni band, Sentimental Journey goes on

By DANA LARSEN
Pilot-Tribune Editor


Gonna take a sentimental journey
Gonna set my heart at ease
Gonna make a sentimental journey
To renew old memories...

It's the band that just won't die.

Every year, members of the Rembrandt School band have told each other this was going to be the last - the really last this time - show, but at this year's reunion for the Rembrandt Consolidated School held like clockwork on the 3rd weekend of each July, they brought their instruments once more. Appropriately, they produced a spirited rendition of "The Band Played On."

"The thinking was that it was going to be the last year for the band - our director had retired and we had agreed that we didn't want it to just dwindle away," says Helene Viall, a member of the group that is made up of 1950s and '60s graduates.

"There is not that many of us, but the music is neat stuff and it sounds amazingly good," she says. "A lot of these musicians have very high standards, and if the music didn't sound good, they wouldn't still be playing it."

After nearly 50 years of silence for some of the performers, the town's Centennial was approaching in 2001. The former band members from the tiny school were inspired by the movie of the time "Mr. Holland's Opus," and came back together as a way of honoring their own beloved former director, Myron Teague. They thought that was the end of it, but the gathering was so enjoyable and well received that people clamored for them to do it again in 2003 - and they have presented a concert each year since at the school reunion.

Got my bag, I got my reservation
Spent each dime I could afford
Like a child in wild anticipation
Long to hear that: "All aboard!"

Teague, 77, said he wouldn't have missed the Centennial show for the world. He was able to attend several of the concerts before passing away in 2008.

He had only been at the school for seven years from the mid '50s to 1961, and Rembrandt never had much more than 60 high students, but each year Teague's bands grew, and claimed more honors. Artists as young as fourth grade found seats in one of the top-rated high school bands in Iowa. He never had a group take less than a 1 rating in any festival. In the winter the band put on shows to standing-room only crowds in the gym, during the summer they marched in every parade and did outdoor concerts for the community. People would come from miles around to park their cars nearby and listen, honking their horns in approval after each tune.

The school closed down forever in 1979, and the band disappeared with it, but the memories endured. "In a small town with a small school enrollment, we didn't realize that something really good was happening to us," Cordy Peterson, band member from the class of 1959 says. "And weren't we lucky. The never-to-be-duplicated setting of which we all were a part is priceless."

Seven, that's the time we leave at - seven
I'll be waiting up for heaven
Counting every mile of railroad track - that takes me back

All these years later, there is still a little of Mr. Teague in them.

"We're not even talking about quitting anymore," Viall laughs. "I guess we plan to just keep on playing."

In fact, the group is expanding its repertoire. Several members have become accomplished singers in their various church choirs over the years, so with urging from tenor sax player Sharon Stanberry, Class of '58, the band's recent show tapped their vocal abilities as well, on crowd-pleasers like "Sentimental Journey."

"So is this neat or what? What a privilege to be carrying on a Rembrandt tradition from at least 105 years ago," Viall said as the 2010 concert drew to a close. A new website has even been launched featuring photos of Rembrandt bands of the past, to try to learn who the musicians are, and how many may be related to the members of the current alumni band. [Click here for a photo of the 1905 Town Band as shown in the original newspaper article.]

Rod Shedenhelm, the band director at Sioux Central, in Sioux Rapids, has led the Alumni Band since the Centennial, playing first trumpet, and directing from the brass section. Although Rod has retired, he plans to stay in the area, and the band will soldier on - marking it's 10th anniversary reunion concert next summer.

The alumni band cranks out everything from Big Band hits to Sousa marches, but one thing is a constant - every concert ends the same way. "We always end with 'Stars and Stripes Forever' and the school song," Viall says. "With the audience all standing up and singing the school song, it takes us back to the late 1950s and early 1960s, when we'd come running out onto the gym floor for a basketball game - almost all of us played in a lot of basketball games back then - fun!"

Never thought my heart could be so yearning
Why did I decide to roam
Gotta take this sentimental journey
Sentimental journey home