Page 11 - Common Chords Grant Rapids Final Report

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highlights: presenting the full Minnesota Orchestra
page 11
“The most awesome, inspiring thing that has ever
happened in Grand Rapids. Great!”
- concert attendee
The entire 90-member Minnesota Orchestra performed four different
concert programs to sold-out audiences at the Myles Reif Performing
Arts Center. These concerts brought the sounds of the full Orchestra
to more than 2,500 audience members. Admission for each of the
public concerts was $5 per ticket.
Middle and high school students from Grand Rapids were joined by
buses of students from the surrounding communities of Walker,
Cass Lake and the Leech Lake Reservation. Students heard a
Young People’s Concert
featuring a program of American
music, including Sousa marches, medleys of popular movie
soundtracks and Dvořák’s
Symphony for the New World
, a piece
inspired in part by the Native American culture in Minnesota.
Conductor Courtney Lewis introduced each piece, providing
explanations and connections to American history.
Friday evening, the Orchestra shared a concert in the unique
Inside the Classics
format, for which the Minnesota
Orchestra has received a Wallace Excellence Award. This concert featured an in-depth look at Aaron Copland’s
Appalachian Spring
, led by conductor Sarah Hicks and Orchestra violist Sam Bergman. The first half of the program
included musical excerpts and explanations of how Copland created his famous American sound, followed by a full
performance of the piece on the second half of the program.
Saturday afternoon brought a
family concert
, conducted by Courtney Lewis. This program included favorites such as
Overture to Candide
and Copland’s
Fanfare for the Common Man
. Several young people brought along
the musician trading cards they received during school visits earlier in the week, seeking autographs after the
The pinnacle of the week was the
final concert
, led by
Sarah Hicks, featuring stories told through music. The
program included Maurice Ravel’s
Suite of Five Pieces
from Mother Goose
and Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s
. As the concert ended, the audience stood
to sustained applause, and Sarah Hicks introduced
as an encore. To the audience’s surprise,
students seated throughout the auditorium began rising
to sing the piece’s chorale. The lines, “
This is my home,
the country where my heart is; here are my hopes, my
dreams, my holy shrine”
captured the tremendous emotion
of the week’s collaboration.
Photo: John Connelly
Photo: John Connelly