Common Chords: Hibbing

Beethoven, Britten and Dvořák

Following more than twenty performances by nine Minnesota Orchestra musicians around town over the last four days, the Common Chords experience culminated in a full-Orchestra performance on Friday night at the Hibbing High School.

Modeled after the Capitol Theater in New York, the 1,805 seat venue is famed for its decorative ceiling and four solid glass chandeliers.

Amidst this splendor, conductor Courtney Lewis led performances of works by Beethoven, Britten and Dvorak in an emotional capstone to the week. Charles Decker, a Buhl native and retired Hibbing physician in the audience, was enthusiastic. "It is marvelous, simply marvelous for all ages to attend a concert like this, but especially for the children. It is very positive for the young people to be exposed to this in our home town."

Young People's concert

Our four string players offered a final school performance on Friday morning for the upper elementary students of Lincoln School before packing up their music and heading to the magnificent High School auditorium where they were joined by 70-some colleagues for a full-Orchestra concert.

Associate Conductor Courtney Lewis led the afternoon performance, which was geared for Hibbing senior high students and featured local drama teacher Diana Giombetti as narrator of Britten's "Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra."

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Hibbing Public Library

Community members enjoyed a little brass music among the books on Thursday afternoon as the musicians performed at the Hibbing Public Library. The library is home to the Bob Dylan Display—a collection of memorabilia from Hibbing's most famous native son.

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Side by side with students

Traveling north to nearby Chisholm, Associate Conductor Courtney Lewis and our string quartet spent the evening rehearsing side by side with the string students of the Crescendo Youth Orchestra. "What makes a sound beautiful?" asked violinist Jonathan Magness. "It has to ring. Loosen up on the bow a little and let the sound go." Julie Stein, chair of the Steering Committee that organized Hibbing Common Chords activities, founded Crescendo Youth Orchestra in 2005, an organization which now comprises five ensembles for students from ages 7 to 18. "You can't put a value on what an experience like this means for these students," she says. "They will look back on it and think it was amazing."

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Assumption Catholic School

"Why do you hold the violin under your chin? Why can't you just hold it on your knee?" asked one of the Assumption Catholic School students on Thursday when violinist Michael Sutton asked the elementary school audience for questions following a morning performance. Principal John Schlachter wrapped up the session with words of encouragement for students, "You all can practice hard and learn to play a violin or viola too."

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