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Letter to the editor: A tribute to Paul Ingelin

From Larry Saur,

Two Harbors City Band tuba player

On April 24, the Two Harbors City Band will start its 117th concert season with a fund raising event without one of its fine tuba players, Paul Ingelin. Paul died on Oct. 6, 2013, ending a remarkable family tradition lasting over 70 years of participating in one of the oldest city bands in the state of Minnesota.

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Paul was the son of Veikko and Ingrid Ingelin and grew up on South Ave., in Two Harbors. Veikko had emigrated to the United States from Finland. But before he left Finland, his mother encouraged him to learn two musical instruments, as she felt it would help Veikko obtain employment in his new country. Veikko eventually interviewed for a job with the railroad in Two Harbors. Initially it appeared that there were no jobs available, but when asked if he played an instrument, Veikko responded that he could play the flute. The interviewer responded that the railroad band didn’t need any flute players. Veikko then stated he could also play the tuba. The railroad band did need a tuba player and Veikko was hired.

Veikko then had the opportunity to join the Two Harbors City Band and when it became difficult to play the tuba, he switched back to the flute. He went from the back row to the front row of the band! What is really amazing is that he played with the City Band for 54 years and never missed a concert, a rehearsal or a parade.

Paul started to take after his father in his younger years and took up playing the tuba in the school bands and with the City Band. After graduating high school and leaving Two Harbors to become a United Methodist minister, Paul continued to have an interest in playing the tuba. Paul and his wife, Fay, settled in Duluth after Paul’s retirement which was close enough for Paul to commute to Two Harbors twice weekly for the City Band’s Tuesday night rehearsals and Thursday night concerts, thereby continuing the family tradition. Paul even bought a brand new tuba. 

Members of the City Band were greatly impressed by Paul’s commitment to the band. Each July Paul marched with the band in the Heritage Days Parade up until age 79. It was quite an accomplishment at that age just to walk that distance, but to carry and play a tuba was even more astounding. However, for the last two years, health problems prohibited his marching with a tuba.

Through this past concert season, Paul was suffering from cancer and couldn’t always make it up and down the stairs of the band shell to get his music. Other members of his family and fellow band members helped him get his tuba on stage and in any other way they could. The last concert of the season on August 8, 2013, would be Paul’s last.

One more time Paul was able to play the march titled “Old Comrades,” which is played annually in memory of his father, Veikko, at a summer concert closest his father’s birthday.

The tuba section will not be the same this year with Paul gone. We will miss Paul greatly not only for this musical ability, but also for his wit, intelligence, sense of humor, and compassion. But the band must play on and we will do so with the thought that Paul and his father, Veikko, would want us to continue the great love of music and tradition that has been ongoing for the last 117 years.

The fund raising concert will be held at Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Two Harbors at 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 24. All donations received at the concert will be donated to the Friends of the Band Shell Park in memory of Paul Ingelin.