Weather Forecast


Band festival has been a family affair

After providing 30 years of support for the Vikingland Band Festival and years of involvement in the community of Alexandria, Marv Martinson was named the 2014 Vikingland Band Festival grand marshal.

In addition to serving on the festival committee and the Band Boosters board, Martinson has served as president of both the Runestone Museum and the Alexandria Chamber of Commerce. He has also been involved at Alexandria Covenant Church through the years.

As owner of Martinson Insurance Agency, Martinson has supported the Vikingland Band Festival as a sponsor every year since the event began.

Committee chair Greg DeGier says Martinson is a loyal and consistent friend to the band festival.

“Marv continues to be a big cheerleader for the festival and for the entire community of Alexandria,” DeGier said. “His reliable support is one of the reasons the festival is still going strong in its 30th year.”

DeGier also notes that Martinson was one of the early voices to encourage the Alexandria Marching Band to move ahead with plans to march in Norway next summer.


Music has always been an important part of Martinson’s life. When he was younger, he sometimes sang at events with his four brothers in a group they called the Martinson Family Singers.

His late wife, DeLois, was also musical, playing piano, organ, and giving lessons. The two often sang duets at church events through the years.

The couple also encouraged their three sons, Ken, Keith and Cal to participate in music. Cal took interest in behind-the-scenes work, especially with sound production, while the other two sons became involved as performers and organizers.

Ken actually founded the Vikingland Band Festival in 1985 and later served as its grand marshal. He currently serves as a judge in 17 states.

Martinson and his current wife, Sharon, have 13 grandchildren, and he has enjoyed watching some of them get involved in music.


The local band festival was one of the first parades in the state to contain only marching bands. “The Vikingland Band Festival is probably one of the top band festival parades in Minnesota and in the region,” Martinson said proudly.

For Martinson, the festival has always been an exciting and important part of his summers. “I don’t think I’ve missed one,” he said, adding that he always plans his vacations around it.

He also believes it provides a lot of benefits for the participants.

“The grade point average of students in band and music are generally at the top of the list,” he said. “Another benefit is the kids get to travel quite a bit.”

The Alexandria Marching Band plans to travel to Norway next summer to perform in parades and meet members of a Norwegian marching band. Martinson said that he would like to make the trip to Norway next summer if he can.

While Martinson has played an integral part in the support of the festival throughout the years, he was quick to compliment the people that come out every year to watch and support the parade.

“It takes a real commitment on the part of the supporters,” he said. “Community support has been awesome.”

Even though Martinson has been a major supporter of the festival since his son founded it in 1985, he was caught off guard when he was asked to be the 2014 Vikingland Band Festival grand marshal.

“I was pleased to be asked and surprised actually,” he said with a smile. “It’s an honor for me.”

This year’s Vikingland Band Festival is set for Sunday, June 29 at 1:30 p.m. on Broadway in downtown Alexandria.