The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Dancing around the 'Bend'

In this small Minnesota town, folks embrace change

Teenagers weren't the ones clamoring for a dance at Big Bend Lutheran Church, Milan, Minn., earlier this year. The idea surfaced as four retired members — Larry Larson, Floyd Kanten, Denny Olson and Mike Anderson — were removing pews from the sanctuary so the floor could be resurfaced. One of them suggested the empty room would be perfect for a dance.

The Big Bend Barn Dance Gang was the
The Big Bend Barn Dance Gang was the inspiration for a dance at Big Bend Lutheran Church, Milan, Minn. The only original member of the gang still living is Adelaide Olson (front row, second from right), who lives in Appleton, Minn. A 1983 article in the Milan Standard-Watson Journal said the gang had to cancel a 1969 gig at the Hilton Hotel, Minneaplis, because "it started snowing to beat the dickens. The gang never got their chance to play the big time."
That was a Thursday in February. "By Sunday I was dancing with my granddaughter in the sanctuary," said Beatrice Olson, sitting in the church basement next to her granddaughter Katey Olson, who nodded in agreement.

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February issue


Embracing diversity