History

Music in Stillwater

Music is a core subject at all grade levels in the Stillwater Schools. Students receive 60 minutes of music instruction weekly at grade K-6. Opportunities for instrumental and vocal music begin at the 5th grade level.

The Stillwater schools have a long history of musical excellence. Band, Orchestra and Choir programs established by George Regis, Dennis Brown and Jim Hainlen continue to thrive and flourish.

The Stillwater Band Program is one of the oldest and most successful band programs in the upper Midwestern United States. The Stillwater Bands have a strong tradition of outstanding concert and jazz ensembles, which stretch back over half a century. The ensembles in this program have traveled and performed throughout the United States, winning numerous awards. Currently, the Stillwater Concert Wind Symphony is in its sixtieth fifth straight year of superior ratings at state contest. Guest artists have included such artists as Butch Miles, Eric Marienthal, Bob McChesney, Wayne Bergeron,  guest ensemblesUWEC Jazz Ensemble I, UWEC Wind Symphony, the Luther College Jazz Orchestra, St. Olaf Jazz Ensemble, Concordia Concert Band, Encore Wind Ensemble and the United States Jazz Ambassadors.

 

The Stillwater Schools

The Stillwater Schools are one of the oldest in the upper Midwestern United States. Minnesota’s first schoolhouse was built in Stillwater in 1848, a year before Minnesota became a territory. Located on Olive between Second and Third Streets, the schoolhouse was a one-room building with cracks in the walls. Stillwater became the state’s first school district just two years later, a full four years before the city of Stillwater was incorporated. This district, now known as ISD #834, has a long tradition of high expectations, high standards and great achievement. It is also a system dedicated to continuous improvement.

From that one-room schoolhouse, the Stillwater Area School District has grown to 9,400 students. The district stretches 30 miles along the scenic St. Croix River, from Marine on St. Croix south to Afton, and covers approximately 150 square miles.

District 834 encompasses 18 communities: Afton, Bayport, Baytown Township, Grant, a portion of Hugo, Lake Elmo, Lakeland, Lakeland Shores, Lake St. Croix Beach, Marine on St. Croix, May Township, Oak Park Heights, St. Mary’s Point, Stillwater, Stillwater Township, West Lakeland Township, Withrow and a portion of Woodbury. The area population is about 57,049.

The district serves the community from many locations, including 10 elementary schools, two junior high schools, one high school and an Alternative Learning Center. The newest buildings are the 2,300-student Stillwater Area High School, which was completed in 1993, and Rutherford Elementary, which opened its doors in the fall of 1998.