Pictured is the Golden Strings, led by charter member Cliff Brunzell, front.
At first, Cliff Brunzell
didn't want to accept a contract to play at the Radisson Hotel in downtown Minneapolis.
is the leader and owner of The Golden Strings
.He is also the only charter member still playing with the group.Brunzell
said the Golden Strings
had its first gig on Feb. 14, 1963.
"We had 11 musicians," Brunzell
said."Eight violins, two pianists and one string bass."Brunzell said the late Curt Carlson of Carlson Company fame got ahold of Al Sheehan, a then-local booking agent, to sign The Golden Strings to a 13-week
wasn't too interested in the contract at first, but he
"I bit and I haven't been sorry," Brunzell
That contract extended into 19 years, Brunzell
said, where The Golden Strings
played at the same venue six nights a week - the Flame Room at the Radisson Hotel in downtown Minneapolis.
...The Golden Strings
already had an extensive music career.He
member of the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra
, now Minnesota Symphony Orchestra, for about 10 years in the late 1940s and early 1950s.
With the Symphony Orchestra, Brunzell
got to travel to the Middle East, playing in such places as Baghdad, Iraq; Bombay, India; Athens, Greece, and Istanbul, Turkey.
"What an eye-opener," Brunzell
said about his
international trip 50 years ago."I thought all people live in south Minneapolis."
For the Slayton concert, Brunzell
is bringing six violin players.
"Four of them were with me in the Flame Room," Brunzell
said the band kept busy in those two decades.
"We made 10 recordings during those years," Brunzell
"We're still going after all these years," Brunzell
said the group will have CDs for sale at Thursday's concert.The band's repertoire includes concert jazz, pop, show tunes and ethnic music.
"We play Hungarian tunes, Jewish, French German, even a Japanese tune," Brunzell
And there's also a "certain amount of foolishness" from him, Brunzell
"It's not a scripted show," Brunzell
Even at age 85, Brunzell
still enjoys playing, whether it's with The Golden Strings
or doing freelance shows.
"I'm playing about 175 gigs a year," Brunzell