Local Musicians Look Back

A history of lively entertainment in Edina.

Fourth of July celebration fans may remember The 1st John Philip Sousa Memorial Band from their annual performance at Rosland park, but the band’s rich history dates back to 1970, when director Scott Crosbie graduated from Edina High School.

“We started to play concerts in the park. The city bought us more instruments, and we were off to the races,” Crosbie says. “We were a real band and had to produce and we did.”

Influenced by music of the early '70s, the band has played classic music from the likes of John Philip Sousa and Karl King. Crosbie came up with the idea to make a flatbed truck into a band stage, and with the support of a loan secured by the Edina Lions Club, the band was able to create the portable stage with a shell.

Crosbie started out as a percussionist in high school and beyond, using the talent for gigs at weddings and shows before he spent years designing toys and their patents. His love for playing in the band and for the Edina community hasn’t changed. “It’s such a long love affair. My favorite part is the band and audience and the extended family we are,” says Crosbie. “It feels good.”

Lance Leupold is second only to Crosbie as the longest continuous member of the band. He joined the band in 1971, recalling seeing the band play their first concert on the Fourth of July at Southdale Center. “It’s really special largely because of Scott’s vision,” Leupold says. “He wants to deliver [music] with the most musicianship and least distractions. We’re still having an adventure.”

Leupold has played the cornet since fourth grade, through the University of Minnesota and now in the John Sousa band. Outside of music, this longtime Edina resident had a career in radio news before becoming a pioneer for public access television and helping lay cables around town.

The band doesn’t always play the same songs at every show, but they always finish with John Philip Sousa’s The Stars and Stripes Forever, one of Leupold’s favorites. “We were getting rained out and I said, ‘Let’s play it!’” he says.

“Every concert I look at and say, ‘This is my favorite one,’” Crosbie says. “We do a different concert once a month, and there’s only three rehearsals. No time to fool around, we have to put the pedal to the metal.”

Crosbie’s favorite concert of the summer is coming up in the middle of August. Called the Torchlight Concert, the band will perform at 8:30 p.m. just as the sky grows dark and the torches light the night.

“We call it audience expectation fulfillment. We love them, they love us, what could be better? They show up to Torchlight and just have fun, listen to an old-fashioned band concert while the torches are twinkling,” says Crosbie.

To enjoy the remainder of the John Philip Sousa Memorial Band’s summer concerts, be sure to make note of the performance schedule.  

Performance Schedule

Wednesday, July 4th
8:45 p.m. at Rosland Park in Edina

Monday, July 9th
7 p.m. at Brookview Park in Golden Valley

Sunday, July 15th
7 p.m.  at Centennial Lakes in Edina

Sunday, August 5th
7 p.m. PM at Lake Como Pavilion in St. Paul

Sunday, August 12th
Torchlight Concert at 8:30 p.m. Promenade starts at 6 p.m. at Centennial Lakes in Edina