Nonprofit, nonpartisan journalism. Supported by readers.


Chatfield sheet-music library, once disparaged by Pawlenty, is big hit with Japanese tourists

The Chatfield Brass Band Music Lending Library is full of sheet music that’s available to marching bands and town bands around the country, and, apparently around the world.

A  Japanese couple, Yet Kenji and Yumiko Kawashima, showed up in the little town south of Rochester last week, on a pilgrimage of sorts, says the Rochester Post-Bulletin:

“For me, it’s a treasure island,” said Kenji Kawashima, 68, who retired last year as the conductor of the Rikutokai Ensemble, a 50-piece band that he’d formed 46 years earlier.

In his retirement, Kawashima said he wanted to support the library that had supported his band.

I first heard about the music library in 2008, when then-Gov. Tim Pawlenty vetoed many parts of the DFL-led Legislature’s bonding bill, including $400,000 to upgrade the library — which used ancient filing cabinets and didn’t have much climate-control for the music, some of which is more than 100 years old.

At the time, Pawlenty said:

“Now, (a sheet music lending library) might be a nice idea, but is that a priority relative to zeroing out the Veterans Home? We’re going to have a sheet music museum, Rep. Tschumper? Is that the priorities for the state of Minnesota?”

(DFLer Ken Tschumper represented the area at the time and lost his re-election bid that fall.)

But Kawashima sees it differently.

“Amazing. They have music that’s no longer published in the United States or Europe,” he told the paper.

That’s no big surprise to Teresa Cerling, library manager, who’s seen such enthusiasm before.

“Band directors’ eyes get big when they come in,” she said.

The Japanese couple are staying at Cerling’s farm and volunteer in the library during the day, then go to the Chatfield Brass Band rehearsals in the evening.

Band members also are giving them tours of the area.

You can also learn about all our free newsletter options.

Comments (2)

  1. Submitted by Robert Gauthier on 05/08/2012 - 06:47 pm.


    Pawlenty was a crass politician with little imagination and less intellect. Bachmann kicked his butt, what more can be said. Good riddance.

  2. Submitted by Tom Clark on 05/09/2012 - 09:59 am.

    This is exactly the sort of cultural resource

    that’s unique and deserves our support. Thanks for passing this great story along!

Leave a Reply