Our second day in in Detroit Lakes included visits to nursing homes, schools, and even the local jail.
More photos and updates from Detroit Lakes
Rainy Day, Sunny Start
Residents at Essentia’s Oak Crossing Nursing Home and the Lincoln Park Senior Apartments began this stormy morning with cheerful visits from the Orchestra’s brass and string players, respectively. “I wish I could clap louder,” said one senior at Oak Crossing following bring-down-the-house playing by the brass ensemble.
“We are so privileged to have played for you today. We’ll be in Detroit Lakes all week, popping up everywhere–so tell your friends and family to look for us in town and say hello,” said Principal Trombone Douglas Wright.
On a High Note
Conductor Sarah Hicks will lead the full Orchestra in performance on Saturday night at Detroit Lake’s Historic Holmes Theatre but, on this Wednesday morning, student singers from Detroit Lakes High School were her sole focus. She coached these courageous solo singers in breath support, articulation and the art of confidence.
La Barista is a bustling café in downtown Detroit Lakes. Over the noon hour Wednesday, our Brass Ensemble—comprised of trumpets Charles Lazarus and Robert Dorer, trombone Douglas Wright, horn Michael Gast and tuba Steve Campbell—took up residence, playing Bernstein, Piazzolla and one of Lazarus’ own works, among others.
Open Ears in Ogema
Twenty-five minutes outside of Detroit Lakes, tucked into the White Earth Reservation, sits the small community of Ogema (population 184). The 255 students at Ogema Elementary joined the Orchestra’s String Quartet Wednesday afternoon, many of them hearing a live string performance for the first time.
“You sound good,” said one youngster, following a movement from Dvořák’s American String Quartet.
“Who has heard of Mozart?” asked Cecilia Belcher. “The cool thing about Mozart is that he started composing when he was your age.”
“Who is the leader in your group?” asked one student. Pausing for minute, cellist Beth Rapier answered, “When we play with the full Orchestra, we have a conductor who leads us. The wonderful thing about chamber music, though, is that we all lead. We watch each other carefully, we breathe together and that makes us play together.”
Student arms fly high as they hear a specific violin passage in the Mozart String Quartet. Cecilia Belcher challenged students to a game: raise your arms overhead every time you hear this violin melody. The attentive students—with ears wide open—nailed it every time.
Becker County Minimum Security Jail
No one knew exactly what to expect at the Brass Quintet's last appearance of the day--a performance at the Becker County Minimum Security Jail, but it quickly became a high point in a day filled with meaningful experiences. "We're a sort of garage band," said trumpeter Charles Lazarus by way of introduction. "We rehearse in our horn player's garage." About 25 inmates took in the performance, seated at tables and in nearby bunks, listening intently and then asking questions. "How many valves does the tuba have?" "Why do you put your hand in the horn bell?" "Have you ever played in a marching band?"
"Individually we all have," said trombone Douglas Wright, "but not as a group. Maybe we should try that."
The performance was the first of its kind at this facility in at least ten years, according to staff. (No photos were allowed inside.) The ensemble pulled out all the stops: a medley from Bernstein's West Side Story, some Piazzola tangos, smokey blues and a jazzy rag to close the evening. "It has been our pleasure," said Wright. "It's always fun to play for folks who dig it and you guys seemed to dig it."
Wednesday evening is church dinner and service night at Trinity Lutheran and this midweek service was joined by the Orchestra’s String Quartet. Afterward, the foursome offered a chamber performance for the community in the intimate venue.
Common Chords Detroit Lakes Schedule
About Common Chords
The residency, the result of an intensive planning process by a committee of Detroit Lakes community leaders and Orchestra staff, is part of Common Chords, a multi-year project that establishes partnerships between the Orchestra and Greater Minnesota cities, each culminating in its own unique residency week.