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Free concert in Detroit Lakes on October 7

As the tour director for Brass in Blue, the United States Air Force Heartland of America Band's 13-member brass ensemble, Staff Sgt. Benjamin Kadow schedules the group's tour stops and books the venues.

And while he has loved every minute of the experience since joining the Heartland of America Band in May 2006, Kadow is particularly excited about what the next month will bring.

A Perham native, Kadow will be coming home on Saturday, Oct. 6, to perform a special free concert with Brass in Blue at the Perham High School Auditorium.

Among the audience members will be his parents, Russ and Mona Kadow, who still live in Perham.

"I can play in front of thousands of people, but for some reason playing for my parents makes me nervous -- or maybe more anxious than nervous," Kadow admits, laughing a little as he answers questions by telephone on Monday. "My dad taught me how to play the trombone."

(Russ Kadow was the middle school band instructor at Perham for 35 years).

"I'm looking forward to playing for them, but even talking about it elevates my heart rate a little bit," Ben Kadow says.

He won't have much time to visit with his family and friends that evening, however; the following afternoon, on Sunday, Oct. 7, Brass in Blue will be heading down the road to Detroit Lakes for a 3 p.m. matinee performance at the Historic Holmes Theatre.

"That's a wonderful, historic theater you have there," Kadow says. "Our jazz men (The Notables, the Heartland of America Band's jazz ensemble) got a really great turnout and great reviews when they played there two years ago."

Though Kadow is relatively new to the Heartland of America Band, and Brass in Blue, he came to the Nebraska-based group with plenty of experience.

A graduate of Perham High School, Kadow earned a bachelor of music education degree from Concordia College in Moorhead, and a master of music degree in trombone performance from Western Michigan University.

The same year he earned his master's degree, in 2002, Kadow enlisted in the U.S. Air Force and completed basic training at Lackland Air Force Base.

His first assignment was with the Heritage of America Band at Langley (where he also completed Airman Leadership School). He performed with the concert band, ceremonial band and Rhythm in Blue jazz ensemble; one of his most unique opportunities was a deployment to Southeast Asia with the Blue Aces rock band, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

He was assigned to the Heartland of America Band in 2006, and became part of its Brass in Blue ensemble, which includes 11 brass players, one percussion player and one vocalist.

"We play everything," Kadow says of the ensemble's musical repertoire. "We do patriotic songs, but we also do some orchestral transcriptions -- last year, we did Queen's 'Bohemian Rhapsody,' and some of us even got to sing."

"We have an operatic tenor, so you might hear an aria. I'm doing a solo (on the trombone, not singing) -- and we'll even have a xylophone solo."

The Perham and Detroit Lakes concerts are part of a northwest Minnesota tour that will also take the 13-member ensemble to Grand Rapids, Bemidji, Pequot Lakes (the hometown of Kadow's wife, Lisa), Fergus Falls and Little Falls, Minn., before heading back to Nebraska and eventually their home at Offutt Air Force Base.

All of these performances are free and open to the public; however, because seating is limited, tickets will be required for admission.

For the Perham concert, please contact the ITOW Veterans Museum, 805 West Main in Perham or the newspaper offices in Perham and New York Mills; you can also call 218-346-7678 or send an e-mail to

For the Detroit Lakes concert, tickets are available at the Historic Holmes Theatre Box Office, 826 Summit Ave., and Detroit Lakes Newspapers, 511 Washington Ave. To request tickets by mail, send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to Detroit Lakes Newspapers, P.O. Box 826, Detroit Lakes MN 56502, by Sept. 26.

There is no reserved seating; ticket holders will be seated on a first-come, first-served basis.

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 16 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

(218) 844-1454