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David Halvorson, a UND alumnus and member of the 188th Army Band in Fargo, works with his friend and fellow 188th Army Band member, Don Nagle, to practice a song Halvorson composed for the Schroeder Middle School Band by Halvorson. Nagle is the band director at Schroeder Middle School. photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald

Schroeder Middle School band to perform original N.D. composition Tuesday night


When the Schroeder Middle School hosts its annual spring concert Tuesday evening, one of the highlights will be a band performance of an original composition, “Legend of the Raiders.”


David Halvorson, a Rugby, N.D., resident who teaches music in nearby Wolford, N.D., composed the song specifically for the Grand Forks middle school band, the title reflecting the school’s Raider nickname.

The connection between Halvorson and the Grand Forks school is Don Nagle, who teaches music at Schroeder and conducts the 188th Army Band, a North Dakota National Guard band. Halvorson, a UND graduate, was a member of 188th Army Band from the mid-1980s to mid-1990s.

Halvorson attended a rehearsal last week at Schroeder, where he discussed the composition with the young musicians and heard it practiced for the first time.

He described his composition as one influenced by Russian music during the revolutionary period of the late-19th and early-20th centuries, before the country became the Soviet Union.

“They had a lot of passion,” he told the young musicians. “I want you think of an angry Russia. I want my borscht! Or something like that. I want you to play like you’re triumphant.”

It took Halvorson a couple of months to compose the song.

“I had a seed of an idea,” he said. “I thought about being young, like these kids, and what they experience. I tried to compose something that would relate to that. You have your dreams. You have your trials and your triumphs.”

Halvorson delivered the song to Nagle in January. The band has been practicing a couple of days a week since then, according to Nagle. 

 “I’ve never written for a middle school band,” Halvorson said. “I thought I wrote it too hard for them, but they nailed it. That was exciting. All of my emotions are in this song, and I heard emotion.”

Nagle said last week’s rehearsal with the composer in attendance went well. But he didn’t go quite as far as Halvorson in his assessment of the band’s session.

 “I like it — the way my kids play it,” Nagle said. “They’ve got some things to work on. Nailed it? I think they will on Tuesday.”

Halvorson plans to attend the concert, which will feature all Schroeder school choirs, the Seventh and Eighth Grade Band, and the Jazz Band. The public is invited. There is no admission charge.

If you go

  •  When: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.
  •  Where: Schroeder Middle School, 800 32nd Ave. S., Grand Forks.  
  •  Admission: Free.
Kevin Bonham
Kevin Bonham covers news from northeast North Dakota and northwest Minnesota for the Grand Forks Herald. A North Dakota native, who grew up in Mandan and Dickinson, he has been a reporter or an editor with the Herald and Forum Communications for nearly 30 years. 
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