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Let’s Cook: A Horn and an Acorn

As his hand moved from his side, it revealed a conductor’s baton. As he raised it, music began — beautiful brass band music. The type of music that includes stirring Sousa marches with a lively beat. The cornet bringing forth notes clad in glorious tones while the trombones deep and golden tone signifies that this is a brass band. For 50 concerts, in the span of 13 years, Gordon Troxel looked forward to hearing these tones when he served as the director of Minot’s Brass Band. What concert was your favorite? Perhaps the fall patriotic concert, maybe the November concert that greeted Christmas music with bright and full tones, and what about the tribute that was done to the Beatles?

Troxel recently retired from being the conductor of this beloved band and handed the baton over to Wayne Schempp. In visiting with him, it is easy to see that he has kindled many a flame in students and others for love of brass band music. We owe Troxel and all the brass band members the deepest thanks for keeping this music light burning. He mentioned that the dedication of the members to attend the weekly practice session made his duties easier.

Each time we hear the brass band play “Star-Spangled Banner” it brings to the throat a tightness and pride within our hearts. Hearing this music grandly performed guides us to think of the things it stands for as it gallantly floats through the air.

Troxel stated that many things happen in our lives for which we don’t plan. For example, the year that he graduated from Berthold High School that fall their farm harvest was done two weeks early. This gave Gordon and a fellow classmate the time to checkout Minot State Teachers College. Upon setting foot on campus, he met Mr. Lawrence Hahn, the first full-time band director at MSTC. Hahn assured Troxel that enrolling immediately was the best thing to do. The rest is history. One of Troxel’s fondest memories was when the MSTC Band was invited to march in the Portland Rose Festival in 1956. The Beaver Band was honored above more that 200 bands participating in this celebration, the band was named the Honor Band of the Festival. Troxel to this day has a deep appreciation for encouragement and the dedication that Mr. Hahn gave him.

Troxel went on to teach at Garrison, Kenmare, Great Falls, Montana, Des Lacs, Burlington, Alaska and Rugby. It was at Great Falls that he met the school librarian, Irene, and they were married Oct. 10, 1969. Gordon smiled when he shared that Irene has a wealth of knowledge, leadership and guidance to their family and their pizza business. Her support of understanding practices schedules and other duties involved with directing certainly made life easier.

Not only did Gordon direct the Brass Band, he also directed the barbershop vocal group, the Nodakords for 23 years. He continues to play in the Kiwanis Band. He mentioned that growing up on the farm and learning to work hard has made a difference in his life. He considers himself lucky because he had the opportunity to enjoy many facets of life beyond playing the euphonium. He stated more than once that many things happen that you don’t plan and it reminds us that we are second in command. Thank you, Gordon, for adding the richness, comfort, and healing of community music.

If you’ve ever attended an event at the beautiful Ann Nicole Nelson Hall on the campus of Minot State you know the wonderful magic that awaits you. Strolling up the impressive steps of Old Main brings you into the fine spacious lobby. The auditorium is gorgeous with rich gold colored walls, impressive ivory colored crown moldings trimmed in gold, and comfortable seating that is done in a rich burgundy. The state-of-the-art sound system along with tastefully placed visual screens makes for ease of hearing and seeing performers on stage.

Stuffed Acorn Squash

2 acorn squashes

1 cup cook rice of your choice

1 cup of finely chopped ham

2 tablespoons minced onion

¼ cup finely chopped celery

¼ cup bread crumbs

1 slightly beaten egg

Salt and pepper to taste

Cut each squash in half and remove seeds. Place cut side down on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees until tender. Combine ham, rice, onion, celery, bread crumbs, egg and salt and pepper. Fill the centers of squash with ham mixture. Dot with butter and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. This is an easy and delicious meal.

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