Minnesota's Biggest Summer Marching Band Competition


Alexandria's Music Man
by Jamey Lundblad

Sid Carlson says the "tools" of music are often just as important as the musicians who use and enjoy them. It was this belief that led him to open a small music shop on Alexandria's main street . . . a music shop which has enabled him to promote the development of music in the community.
Sid's interest in business was sparked by helping his father, a truck farmer, sell produce. But while working alongside his father, thoughts of music often made his mind wander. Sid's involvement with music began as a child in Holmes City, Minnesota, where his persistent mother made sure he performed piano or vocal solos whenever and wherever possible. In 1932, Sid was chosen to perform a piano solo, Beethoven's Minuet in G, for an eighth grade graduation at the Douglas County Armory. From that point on, he was hooked.
Sid's extra-curricular activities upon entering Alexandria High School focused mainly on music. He was an important member of several productions under the direction of music instructor Harold Arentsen.
"Sports were out," said Carlson, "the girls were all a head taller than I was!"
Academically, however, he ranked high in his class. Sid was among those in the class of 1937 who earned membership in the National Honor Society.
His involvement with music continued beyond high school. At Bethel College in St. Paul, he sang tenor in the male chorus. In the summer of 1942, he directed the Alexandria All-City Concert Band for a remarkable eight- concert series in the bandstand near Lake Agnes. Sid then transferred to the University of Minnesota, and while earning a bachelor's degree in music education, he majored in trumpet and performed with the University Chorus, the University Marching Band and the University Concert Band.
Following graduation, Sid enlisted in the U.S. Air Corps and met his future wife, Chris Evatz, while training in Salt Lake City, Utah. Following a brief courtship, the two were married only a few months before he was sent to Italy as Lieutenant with the 15th Air Force. On July 19, 1944, at the height of World War II, his B24 Bomber was shot down over Munich, Germany. Of the 11 men in his squadron, five men including Carlson were held prisoner of war for nearly a year. The other six men are listed as missing in action.
After his release and upon returning to Minnesota, Sid accepted a position as high school band director at New York Mills. In the fall of 1946 he became the choir and band director in Osakis. Over the next several years, he held positions in several area high schools, including Evansville, Hoffman and Barrett.
In 1948, Sid moved away from directing in order to focus his attention on business and opened Carlson Music Center. After outgrowing three smaller locations on Broadway, the store was relocated to the present building in 1960. From that point on, Sid and the Music Center have enthusiastically encouraged Alexandria's musical development, including sponsoring summer school programs for young music students and offering the finest in the "tools" of music.
In the community, Sid has been an active member of the American Legion, the Kiwanis Club, where he served as president in 1972, and First Baptist Church, where he served for many years as choir director and in various other offices.
Sid Carlson is a fitting representation of the Vikingland Band Festival's intent of promoting and presenting music to the community. His son, Ron, may have put it best when he said, "Dad really is the Music Man."
Photo courtesy of Vernon Studio

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