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Legislators want to drum up support for state band

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Legislators are composing an arrangement to direct more funding to the Minnesota State Band. A group of DFL lawmakers introduced two bills this week that would give the band $50,000 in the next two years and ensure the group of rent-free rehearsal space, the Associated Press reports.

The Minnesota State Band gets funding through the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund from the Minnesota State Legislature. Voters approved this in 2008.

Even with the support, the band rehearsed in a basement cafeteria in the Minnesota Department of Transportation building in St. Paul, according to the Associated Press. In the past three years, the band has received about $5,000 per year. Members pay $50 dues.

The money would help buy new percussion instruments including a marimba and sheet music, and it would likely ask for less funding in the future, conductor Chuck Boody tells the AP.

The state band has been around since 1898 and touts the title of the only state band in the U.S. It operates as a non-profit, all-volunteer group, according to the band's website. The band has gone on several goodwill tours in Europe since 1986. The band also plays summer concerts in Como Park and has a regular gig as the Memorial Day Band at the Fort Snelling National Cemetery.

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