Student Ambassador Alexa Sorenson shared this wonderful account of her evening out at the Orchestra this winter.
All hometown bias aside, the Minnesota Orchestra is one of the greatest symphonies in the United States, as well as having a prominent place in the worldwide community of classical music. I am so lucky to be able to work as a Student Ambassador for this amazing organization, and I am here today to convince you all that you NEED to get downtown and see them asap. If seeing an orchestra full of incredibly talented musicians play some of the most influential music ever written isn't enough to get you to go, I hope these suggestions on how to "make a night of it" do.
Park in the ramp across from Orchestra Hall (on 11th and South Marquette), and go to the top level of the ramp. Best. View. Ever.
A great dinner spot for unique yet classic American fare is the Union Restaurant. About an eight minute walk from Orchestra Hall, this eatery features a bar on ground level, as well as a rooftop restaurant overlooking Minneapolis. If it's nice out, you can make reservations to sit out on the rooftop patio.
On your way back from dinner, you won't want to miss the photo opportunity of the legendary music wall. Located on South 10th and South Marquette Street, this wall is the perfect way to document your musical evening. Even Prince posed in front of it, c'mon.
Turn around and find another great skyline view, this time from the ground up.
Now, on to the concert. I highly recommend getting to Orchestra Hall early, as there is almost always something exciting happening before the performance. Listen to chamber groups in the lobby, get drinks on the mezzanine, take in the beautiful architecture, and meet other music-enthusiasts.
One of my favorite events of the season are the two "Campus Nights" where the Orchestra invites high school and college students to come at a student rate ($12) and enjoy pre and post concert activities geared towards them. At the most recent Campus Night, students were offered free chai and cookies by local businesses, and played games to win prizes (such as free tickets to the orchestra!). After the concert, they had a meet and greet with almost a dozen members of the orchestra! The best part is that Campus Night isn't the only chance for students to enjoy the Minnesota Orchestra - student priced tickets are available for nearly every subscription concert of the season!
Pictured above is the Orchestra Hall concert space. The sound in this room is absolutely impeccable. All of the cubes on the walls and ceiling direct each sound wave in a certain direction, bringing the instruments' notes together and delivering them to the ears of eager listeners. There is simply no bad seat or dead spot in the house.
For a late night snack, I recommend Spyhouse Coffee. There are four locations in Minneapolis, all of which are open until 10 or 11 at night. Enjoy some time with good coffee and treats, gushing to your friends about the awe-inspiring performance you just witnessed. ;)