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MN Orchestra coming to Detroit Lakes

For the first time this century, Detroit Lakes area residents won’t have to travel all the way to Orchestra Hall in St. Paul to hear a live performance by the Minnesota Orchestra.

In fact, some of them won’t have to travel more than a few blocks. All 90 members of the state’s premier orchestra will be making the trip to Detroit Lakes for two live performances at the Historic Holmes Theatre, on Sept. 25-26 — and some of them will be arriving several days earlier than that.

Through the Orchestra’s Common Chords program, several members of the group will be in Detroit Lakes for an entire week’s worth of appearances in the lakes area.

“Two ensembles from the Orchestra, a string quartet and a brass quintet, will be traveling all over the area that week,” says Historic Holmes Theatre Executive Director Amy Stoller Stearns.

The ensemble musicians’ weeklong residency in the community will include performing for audiences at local nursing homes (Emmanuel and Oak Crossing), organizational meetings (Library Club, Kiwanis and Noon Rotary), churches (Trinity Lutheran and Holy Rosary) and restaurants (Zorbaz and La Barista), as well as schools in Lake Park, Detroit Lakes and Ogema, not to mention a workshop with the Lakes Area Community Concert Band..

According to Beth Gilbert, the Holmes Theatre’s new community outreach director, one of the ensembles will even be doing a performance at the local minimum security jail, and taking part in a 

fitness class at the community center, where they will perform for the participants as they begin their “cool down” at the end of the class.

“They really want to immerse themselves in our community,” Stearns says.

For the final two days of their stay, the ensemble musicians will be joined by the full, 90-piece orchestra, which will perform not just one, but two shows at the Historic Holmes Theatre.

The first will be a youth concert specifically geared toward upper elementary-age students, from schools throughout the region. This show is set for Friday, Sept. 25 at 1 p.m.

But before that, a smaller group of about a dozen musicians will be performing what they call a “Kinderkonzert” at Holy Rosary Church, aimed at children from preschool age up through second grade. This concert will take place Friday morning at 10 a.m., and will last approximately “45 minutes to an hour,” says Gilbert.

“They will be three very different concerts,” Stearns said of Friday and Saturday’s performances.

Gilbert said that while ticket availability is still good for Saturday’s main theater performance, seating for both of the Friday shows is quite limited. Contact her at 218-844-4221, Ext. 114 if you are unable to attend Saturday’s concert and would like to attend one of the Friday shows instead.

Stearns added that while most of the Orchestra’s outreach activities in the community during the week will be offered free of charge, even Saturday’s grand concert will be quite affordable.

“Due to grants from the Minnesota State Arts Board, Arts & Cultural Heritage (Legacy) Fund, and Essentia Health, we are able to offer $10 tickets for adults, and free admission for students,” she added.

It’s also a rare opportunity to hear the entire orchestra perform outside of its home venue, Orchestra Hall.

“They don’t tour very often,” Stearns said, noting that she has heard from several local residents about the last time the Orchestra made the trip to Detroit Lakes, back in 1940 — when they gave an outdoor concert at the Detroit Country Club.

For more information, please visit the website, call 218-844-7469, or stop into the theater’s box office, which is open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Monday through Friday, and will also be open for two hours prior to the Sept. 26 show, which will officially kick off the theater’s 2015-16 

performance season.

And if you do decide to stop by the box office in person, be sure to check out the mobile artwork hanging from the ceiling in the main lobby. The collage of “well-used” brass, string, woodwind and percussion instruments donated by community members was created in honor of the Orchestra’s upcoming visit to Detroit Lakes

“It’s a trip that was five years in the making,” Stearns said, adding that there has been a committee planning the Orchestra’s visit since about 2010. But it all began to come together when Marlette Anderson-Otto, proprietor of the Quiet Cricket in Perham, contacted her friend Beth Schupp of Fair Hills Resort to let her know that the Orchestra was looking for an opportunity to perform in rural Minnesota.

“She (Schupp) contacted me, and I said, ‘Let’s make this happen!’” Stearns added.

The residency was originally supposed to take place in 2013 — the year that the Orchestra unexpectedly went on strike. “So it was postponed for two years,” she added.

But now, all that planning has finally come to fruition.

“This is really an incredible opportunity,” Stearns said. “It’s very unique.”

Follow Detroit Lakes Newspapers reporter Vicki Gerdes on Twitter at @VickiLGerdes.

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 17 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

(218) 844-1454