Bandleader Larry Olsen owns seven Hengel concertinas and has lived in the Lake Benton (Minnesota) area his entire life; now living only 2 miles from the farm where he grew up. At age 11 Larry started playing concertina. Before forming his own band in 1982, (THE LARRY OLSEN SHOW), Larry played guitar with THE MARV NISSEL BAND. In 1984, Larry's dad, Arnold, joined Larry's band as drummer and Larry's sister, Lisa, played piano. Larry later added a guitar and horn player when Lisa left for college. When Larry isn't busy with his band, his 2,000 acre farming operation located just east of Lake Benton occupies most of his time. Larry's wife, Brenda, also keeps busy owning Perfect Styles in Marshall along with Larry's sister Lisa, and helping in the fall with the farming.
Every Memorial Day weekend, Larry and Brenda sponsor and host a four day ANNUAL MUSIC FEST at their farm with the aid of about thirty volunteers. The 2014 21st ANNUAL MUSIC FEST will be held over the Memorial Day Weekend; May 21, 22, 23, 24.
About The Band .........
Guitarist Al Drage played his first job in the summer of 1952 in Green Valley, Wisconsin and worked with several different bands at that time. In 1955, Al moved to New Ulm (Minnesota) and began playing for Fezz Fritsche. They played 300 jobs a year !! He also worked for Elmer Sheid, Babe Wagner, Al Pierson and Guy Deleo. Al spent twenty years with Maynard & Darlene Rucks and the King 70 Country Band. Al joined the Larry Olsen Band in about 2011.
Trumpeter Richard Roepke started playing trumpet in 1974 and throughout his high school years. In 1982, Rich started playing with the Marv Nissel band but retired until returning to the 12TH ANNUAL MUSIC FEST in 2006. Since returning, he has been playing full time with the Larry Olsen Band and he prefers playing harmony parts with his trumpet and vocals. Rich lives in Arlington, Minnesota.
Guitarist/trumpeter Dale Tolk started playing the trumpet in the 5th grade. He learned a lot of old time songs playing with his Dad, Don, who plays accordion. Dale played with The Marv Nissel Band for a few years and then in 1987, Dale joined THE LARRY OLSEN BAND playing trumpet, guitar and vocals. Dale retired in 1995 but returned to THE LARRY OLSEN BAND in 2005. Dale lives with his wife, Donna, in Brookings, South Dakota.
Please CLICK On The "Thumbnail" Images To The Right and Also On The "Thumbnail" Images Below To Get A Larger Picture !!
New Addition Between The Main Ballroom and The Second Stage Shown Below Was Added In 2010 And Accomidates An Additional 200 People !!
(Please Scroll Down To See Pictures Taken At The Event)
I was born in the Tyler, MN hospital on May 8th, 1964 which also was Mothers Day that year. My parents are Arnold & Lorraine Olsen who have both passed away.
My Dad, Arnold, had musical background with drums, accordian and concertina. My parents took us along to dances and I took a liking to it at a young age.
At age 8 I Took a few lessons from my brother in law Marv Nissel but didn't really like it. Then one day I came home from school and wanted to try it again.
At that time I was 11. So I did and here I am today, still playing. I played my first job in Pipestone for a wine judging contest at 13. I still can remember my Mom taking me and I got paid $5.00 for one hour.
At age 15 I started playing Bass Guitar and played that for several years with the Marv Nissel Band and also played some concertina. I was on 3 of there recordings. I was always thinking of having my own Band and put it together in 1981.
We have played for weddings,anniversary's, Polka Fests, fairs , Caribbean and Alaska cruises and even a prom. I have played in 18 states and received many awards. I am a member of the MN Music Hall of Fame & the MN Ballroom Association. I have made 12 recordings with my band.
Over the years I have made many friends and met many musicians.
I, and my wife, Brenda host the Music Fest at our farm at Lake Benton, MN on Memorial Day Weekend for the past 23 years.
When I'm not busy with my band I farm. I also enjoy riding my motorcycle, camping with family and friends and collecting antique tractors.