Page 2 - Common Chords in Willmar: Final Report

INTRODUCTION
Common Chords is an initiative of the Minnesota Orchestra, launched in 2011 with major funding from the
Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and additional funding from The McKnight and Mardag Foundations. We
were delighted to receive funding in 2012 specifically for the Willmar Common Chords project from the
Minnesota State Arts Board’s Arts Tour Minnesota grant program, funded with proceeds from the Arts and
Cultural Heritage Fund of the Legacy amendment.
Willmar is a community of nearly 20,000 located 90 miles west of Minneapolis. Major employers include
numerous agriculture-related businesses, including food processing and technology companies. As the
seat for Kandiyohi County, Willmar is a hub for the region with significant government, healthcare and
educational institutions. Willmar is notable for its growing population (nearly 9% growth in the past 20
years) and for its diversity, with one of the state’s highest percentages of Latino residents and an
expanding Somali community.
An initial meeting in September of 2009, laid the groundwork for the May 2012 Common Chords week. For
nearly a year prior to the culminating events, the Willmar steering committee met to plan a project that
reflected the spirit and character of their community. They included representatives from the city
government, the school district, the business community and many active volunteers.
We were pleased to partner with these committed leaders, and we are proud to present this report of the
activities they imagined and made possible.
Photo: Mele Willis
Photo: Dennis Benson
FRONT COVER:
Conductor Sarah Hicks leads a Side-by-Side Rehearsal with the Willmar
Area Symphony Orchestra and musicians from the Minnesota
Orchestra. Photo: Dennis Benson
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