COMMUNITY VOICES | Student and adult musicians making beautiful music together

Student and adult musicians will be sitting side by side on stage in performance of beautiful and challenging orchestral works on Sunday, June 8 at Augustana Lutheran Church in West St. Paul. 

Students from several high schools in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area will join regulars of the Mississippi Valley Orchestra, renewing a tradition begun many years ago.  Students will play with the orchestra on stage, and perform the 4th movement of Sibelius 2nd Symphony, a beautiful, rich piece that will fill the sanctuary at Augustana Lutheran with a full symphonic sound, especially aided by the additional student musicians. 

During many of its 38 seasons, MVO has invited string players from Henry Sibley High School to join the orchestra for a part of their concerts. The use of student musicians in MVO concerts has become a staple of the orchestra. This tradition has been well-received by students, parents, community members, and orchestra members alike. The orchestra has been a fixture of the West St. Paul community, and has branched out to other venues in the Twin Cities.  Augustana Lutheran has been a consistent venue for many seasons, making the Mississippi Valley Orchestra part of its concert series.  This season, MVO performed three concerts at the West St. Paul church.

The Mississippi Valley Orchestra, a civic orchestra, was founded in 1976 by former orchestra director, Ed Schlueter, to provide an opportunity for students of Henry Sibley High School to continue their study and performance of orchestral works after graduation.  This practice continues, as several current members of the orchestra are alumni of Sibley.

The orchestra has performed at numerous locations in the Twin Cities, and has played repertoire from baroque chamber music to large symphonic works, to new composers.  The orchestra regularly collaborates with Chorus Polaris, and each year, the winner of the St. Paul Piano Teachers Concerto competition plays a concerto with MVO.  This year, the winner, 13-year old Michael Tang performed  the Grieg Piano Concerto.

Artistic Director Christina Chen-Beyers will prepare the student musicians, and conduct the orchestra in her last performance with MVO, titled  Music on the Breeze.  Ms. Chen-Beyers received her DMA degree from the University of Minnesota.  Next season, the orchestra will be led by Henry Charles Smith.

Refreshments including ice cream and other treats, will make this concert one that people of all ages will be looking forward to.

This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.


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