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Drum & Bugle Corps

Katy Bensen named managing director for Minnesota Brass

By | Drum & Bugle Corps, Indoor Drumline, MBI Winterguard | One Comment
Katy Bensen

Katy Bensen

Minnesota Brass is pleased to announce that Katy Bensen has been appointed to the new position of managing director for Minnesota Brass Drum and Bugle Corps, Indoor Winter Drumline and Winter Guard.

This new leadership position grew out of the organization’s reflections on how to best serve its many members while effectively managing multiple world-class organizations. In her new capacity, Katy will support each ensemble’s commitment to providing an unparalleled membership experience.

“We’re delighted Katy will be joining the admin team,” said Eric Molho, executive director of Minnesota Brass.  “She is a strong leader and great teacher.”

Katy joined the Minnesota Brass family in 1989, playing the French horn bugle for her first of two years marching with the corps.  She also performed with Phantom Regiment Drum and Bugle Corps in 1990 and 1991.  Two years ago Katy returned to Minnesota Brass as a member of the visual staff. She also served as membership coordinator in 2014.

This fall Katy began her teaching career as a band director at White Bear Lake Central Middle School and as a kindergarten music instructor at Otter Lake Elementary School, both part of White Bear Lake Area School District. Her career also includes many years in restaurant and event management.

Minnesota Brass mourns the passing of legendary Frank Lozar

By | Drum & Bugle Corps | 16 Comments
Frank Lozar

Frank Lozar

Frank “The Beard” Lozar, the heart and soul of Minnesota Brass, passed away in the early hours of September 7. He was 85.

Frank was a legend in Minnesota drum corps history, performing with all incarnations of Minnesota Brass. His last year on the field with the corps was 2002, when he was 73.

“We are deeply saddened by Frank’s passing,” said Eric Molho, executive director of Minnesota Brass. “Frank was an outstanding performer who gave tirelessly of himself to Minnesota Brass for decades.  Our entire organization will miss him.”

Born on July 5, 1929, the soprano player marched in competition nearly every year from 1947, when he first played with American Legion Post 248’s drum and bugle corps in Ely, Minn., until 2005, when he played with the Zuhrah Shrine corps. The only exceptions were two years when he served in the American Medical Corps.

He moved from Ely to perform with Minnesota Brass and Hamm’s Indians.  He served as the director of Minnesota Brass from 1963 to 1969. Since 1980, he had performed with both Minnesota Brass and Zuhrah Shrine.  He served on the boards of both organizations and was a fundraising coordinator for several midwestern drum and bugle corps at various times.

In 1969, Frank was awarded Minnesota Brass’ highest honor, the Brassy, a lifetime achievement award.  He also was part of a group that was the first to initiate female members into the drum corps activity.  At 70, he was recognized as the oldest competitor on the field at the championship tournaments of both Drum Corps Midwest (DCM) and Drum Corps Associates (DCA) in 1998.  Named as an associate member of the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame in 2001, he received the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame Lifetime Achievement Award and full Hall of Fame status in 2005.

Entertaining the passengers of long bus trips, Frank and the Gummers (so-called because no one else knew the words as well as Frank, so they just mouthed and hummed along) were a noted ensemble within the corps long before iPods and boom boxes were a staple. Legend has it that in 1970 he sang for 36 hours straight on a trip to Portland, Ore., without repeating a song.

Frank assumed all roles and was a major financial contributor who helped perpetuate the organization. Without his efforts — along with so many others — Minnesota Brass would have never attained the level of success that it experiences today.

Kurt Schiebel, a longtime member of Minnesota Brass who performed with Frank, reflected on the passing of a great mentor.

“We always hear about drum corps moms, the glue that holds the activity together,” Kurt said. “Frank was a drum corps dad, offering support and strength to the youth in the line. He contributed not only financially to the corps, but offered assistance to young members, whether it was outright dues support, or that meal on the road for those of us in need.”

Kurt added, “It is hard to believe there is a supporter out there who contributed more to perpetuate this organization. It is harder still to think of the activity with out him.”

For All We Know.


Members’ diary: 2014 season ends with a ‘Supernova’ (8/31)

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BwZ8IxhCYAAveevMinnesota Brass’ tradition of excellence continued as it performed “Supernova” for the final time this season. The corps finished in second place Sunday night at the DCA World Championships in Rochester, N.Y., marking its sixth top-2 finish in the past seven years. Members and staff embraced the excitement of the competition while also expressing their bittersweet feelings over the last gathering of this iteration of Minnesota Brass — a mood captured so perfectly by the corps song, “For All We Know.” Here’s what they tweeted throughout the day and night of DCA finals:




Members’ diary: ‘Supernova’ lights up DCA prelims (8/30)

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Parking lot warmup at DCA prelims.

Parking lot warmup at DCA prelims.

Minnesota Brass started Saturday with an early-morning rehearsal filled with anticipation for its afternoon performance at DCA prelims in Rochester. And what a show it was. It might have been broad daylight, but “Supernova” lit up the crowd and judging panel at Sahlen’s Stadium — good enough for a score of 96.4 and a move up from the No. 3 spot to No. 2. Along the way — as has been the routine for this exciting weekend — Minnesota Brass members and staff tweeted about the day’s events using the hashtag #mbi14. Here’s what they had to say on Twitter:




Members’ diary: Not just a walk in the park (8/29)

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20140829_153324Minnesota Brass marked its first full day in Rochester with a dawn to dusk rehearsal Friday at Badgerow Park North, about a half hour’s drive from the corps’ temporary home at the DoubleTree. “Supernova” is shining brighter than ever after all of the hard work and ready for its debut at the DCA World Championships. Members and staff were rewarded with an evening off. Throughout, they tweeted their thoughts using the hashtag #mbi14.  Here’s a roundup of some of the things they posted: