Calendar

Past Stories

Minnesota Orchestra Restructures Rest of 2019-2020 Season

Musings from a Conductor at Home

A Conversation with John Snow, Principal Oboe

Surveying Rachmaninoff

Recent Articles:

Mourning George Floyd

 Music of power and grief for a community in pain. Rest in power, George Floyd.

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Music and Mindfulness: Listen to Music, Mindfully

By Mariann Johnson, mindfulness and wellbeing instructor at the University of Minnesota's Earl E. Bakken Center for Spirituality & Healing

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Musical Journeys: A Trip to China

Did you know that the Minnesota Orchestra’s Principal Bassoon, Fei Xie, was born in China?

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Musical Journeys: A Trip to Finland

Did you know that the Minnesota Orchestra’s music director, Osmo Vänskä, is from Finland?

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Top 10 Minnesota Orchestra Recordings: A Stay-at-Home Playlist

Music Director Osmo Vänskä and Concertmaster Erin Keefe share their Top 10 Minnesota Orchestra recordings. Find out why they love this music, especially during these challenging days, and listen along with the Spotify playlist. 

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Peter and the Wolf: Create Your Own Story

In 1936, the director of the Moscow Children’s Musical Theater asked composer Sergei Prokofiev if he would write a musical story for children. It took Prokofiev just two weeks to finish “a symphonic tale” that introduced children to the orchestra: Peter and the Wolf.

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Musical Journeys: Exploring Emotions

Have you ever seen Inside Out? It’s a movie that takes viewers inside the mind of an 11-year-old girl named Riley. Riley’s brain is home to five emotions who shape her responses to everyday interactions and events: Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger, and Disgust. Chances are that you experience these same emotions, plus many more, every day.

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Coloring Pages for All

Fun for kids of all ages: we hope you'll take a moment to relax and color with us. Try out some of our favorite designs from Young People's Concerts and our new coloring page that lets you fill in the stage at Orchestra Hall!

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Minnesota Orchestra Recordings: A Playlist Curated by Manny Laureano

 

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A Strange New World

By Guest Blogger Mandy Meisner

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Musical Journeys: A Trip to the Art Museum!

In these unprecedented times, are you wishing that you had more opportunities to go out and explore the world?

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Musical Journeys: A Trip to the Zoo!

In these unprecedented times, are you wishing that you had more opportunities to go out and explore the world?

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Masterfully Russian

Russian musical masterworks richly wind their way through the Minnesota Orchestra season this year. Arts writer Emily Hogstad explores some of these creations, their composers, and the sound that lends them a uniquely Russian flair.

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Get to Know Cellist Erik Wheeler

Minnesota Orchestra member since: January 2019
Section:
Cello
Hometown:
Houston, TX
Education:
Rice University; The Juilliard School

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Modern Love

By guest blogger Mandy Meisner

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One Fan's Story

Music-lover Bill Halverson reflects on a lifetime of listening, how each concert holds the promise of magic, and one of the most memorable displays of “piano wizardry” he ever encountered.

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Progress to Celebrate: Women and the Minnesota Orchestra

by Wendy Williams

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La Pasión Musical Synopsis

Choral conductor Ahmed Anzaldua—who is preparing the Minnesota Chorale and the Border CrosSing choir for their August 2-3 performances of La Pasión with the Minnesota Orchestra—offers the following guide to this extraordinary work, which he describes as encapsulating truths about “human nature, emotion and history.”

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La Pasión

As the Minnesota Orchestra prepares to perform composer Osvaldo Golijov’s astonishing La Pasión según San Marcos (The Passion According to St. Mark), conductor Ahmed Anzaldúa writes about the power and genius of this work that he considers “one of humanity’s greatest musical achievements.” Anzaldúa, who is founder and conductor of the choir Border CrosSing, will prepare the choruses for the Orchestra’s August 2 and 3 performances of the epic work. 

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Brian Newhouse Signs Off

On Friday, June 14, Brian Newhouse signs off for the last time as the regular host of Classical Minnesota Public Radio’s live broadcasts of the Minnesota Orchestra’s Friday night classical concerts. Newhouse, who hosted Orchestra broadcasts from 1986-1992 and from 1998 to the present, answered a few questions about his work and most treasured memories.

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The Live Radio Experience: “Making a Little Community for a Few Hours on a Friday night”

On Friday, June 14, Classical MPR announcer Brian Newhouse will give voice to his final Minnesota Orchestra broadcast. For more than 25 years (1986 to 1992, and 1998 until now), Newhouse has hosted the Orchestra’s live Friday night concerts from a tiny backstage broadcast booth at Orchestra Hall, masterfully interviewing artists, describing the intensity of a Beethoven passage and filling with ad-libs when onstage surprises occur.

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Powerful Experiences Made Possible by Donors

On a Friday evening in March, a gentleman from Brainerd decided on a whim to pop into Orchestra Hall. He was in town for the weekend, staying down the street at the DoubleTree hotel, and looking for something to do. The Orchestra’s evening concert had already begun, but our Box Office manager provided him with a discounted ticket to see the remaining pieces – Schumann’s Violin Concerto and Schubert’s “Unfinished Symphony.”

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Composer Institute Alumni in the Community

Since 1996, 141 emerging composers have participated in the Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute and its predecessor, Perfect Pitch. Many have since gone on to impressive careers, earning prestigious commissions and high honors. A growing number of them are also nurturing ties to the Twin Cities music community.

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The Best Party in Town

Symphony Ball is the Minnesota Orchestra’s biggest fundraising event of the year. But it’s also an opportunity to get all our favorite people in one place, enjoy good food, drink, and company, and celebrate together our shared love of music and this wonderful, vibrant arts community.

But what IS Symphony Ball? What’s it like? Who’s going to be there? Here’s a snapshot of what you can expect when you get dressed to the nines and head out to the best party in town.

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Meet a Musician: Ben Odhner

Minnesota Orchestra musician since: September 2017
Section: Second Violin
Hometown: Bryn Athyn, Pa.
Education: Cleveland Institute of Music, Rice University 

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Challenging Inequality by Sharing Voices of our Past and Present

By Sam Bergman, viola and host of Inside the Classics

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Meet the Composer: Jennifer Higdon

The Minnesota Orchestra performs Jennifer Higdon's blue cathedral on June 1, as part of an Inside the Classics concert titled Love That Dare Not Speak. Read about the story behind the music and learn all about Jennifer in this Meet the Composer Q&A. 

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Meet the Composer: Victoria Borisova-Ollas

Composer Victoria Borisova-Ollas' music has been performed all around the world but is brand new to the Minnesota Orchestra. Where does her inspiration come from, and what should we listen for as we experience The Kingdom of Silence at Orchestra Hall on May 30 and 31

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5 Things You Didn't Know About the MN Orch Library

Join Principal and Assistant Principal Librarians Maureen Conroy and Valerie Little for "5 Things You Didn't Know About the MN Orch Library!"

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A Brief Guide to Musical Eras

Are you curious about how the Baroque era differs from the Romantic one? And which composers wrote during the Classical time period? Writer Matthew Philion offers this brief history of how classical music has evolved through the agesalongside some Minnesota Orchestra recording suggestions to bring these soundscapes to life.

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Meet the Composer: Geoffrey Gordon

Geoffrey Gordon's Prometheus had its world premiere performance in London just three months ago. Gordon tells us a little bit about himself, his music and what has happened since the premiere, as he prepares to visit Minneapolis to hear the piece performed by the Minnesota Orchestra on April 24, 25 and 26.

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Meet the Composer: Sean Shepherd

Complete silence. A couch to nap on. A window with a view. What are other key elements for crafting a new piece of music? And what is it like to hear your music performed by the Minnesota Orchestra for the first time?

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Considering Amy Beach

By Emily Hogstad

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Marching Band

By Kevin Kling

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Meet Volunteer Usher Mark Carlson

If you’re lucky enough to know Mark Carlson, you know he’s a great volunteer lead usher: personable, dependable, thoughtful and kind.

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Meet a Musician: Erich Rieppel

Minnesota Orchestra member since: December 2018
Position: Principal Timpani
Hometown: born in Minneapolis; raised in Marshall, Minnesota
Education: Indiana University

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Meet the Composer: Missy Mazzoli

Missy Mazzoli's first big break as an orchestral composer took place right here with the Minnesota Orchestra with the same piece that the Orchestra plays in concerts on March 14 to 16. We asked Missy to tell us about that moment, what she is working on now and her thoughts on being a female composer in the classical music industry today.

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Meet the Annotator: Robert Markow

Who writes the Minnesota Orchestra’s program notes in our monthly Showcase magazine—and what goes into writing them? One of our favorite collaborators is Montreal-based writer Robert Markow, who answered a few questions for our “Meet the Annotator” Q&A series.

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Adventurous Voices, American Music

"American classical music is not an old-growth forest," says University of Minnesota Musicology Professor Peter Mercer-Taylor, who shares his thoughts on the many voices that comprise our country's unique classical music tradition.

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Symphony Ball 2019, “Northern Lights”

Plans are coming together for a spectacular 2019 Symphony Ball, “Northern Lights,” to be held on Saturday, June 8, at Orchestra Hall and the Hilton Hotel—and you can be among the first to get your tickets when they go on sale at the end of this month! This gala evening of music, dining, dancing and good company is for a great cause: your Minnesota Orchestra. The Orchestra’s largest annual fundraiser is chaired this year by Betsy Frost and Charlie Anderson, who share their thoughts on the Ball, its theme and their longtime love of music.

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Meet a Musician: Cecilia Belcher

Minnesota Orchestra member since: 2014
Position: Assistant Principal Second Violin
Hometown: St. Louis, Missouri
Education: University of Michigan; Cleveland Institute of Music; Rice University 

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A Celebration of Heritage

As part of the American Expressions festival, we are celebrating how our Orchestra and community have been enriched by people with roots all over the world.

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Meet a Musician: Kathryn Greenbank

Minnesota Orchestra member since: 2018
Position: Associate Principal Oboe
Hometown: Quincy, IL
Education: Curtis institute of Music 

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An Auld Lang Syne

by Dan Chouinard

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Meet Ever-Young Volunteer Usher Barb Holmes

We’ve all heard the term, “evergreen,” but Barb Holmes’ life inspires another term: “ever-young.” That’s because Barb, despite retiring in 2001 from a 35-year career in education, is always taking on new tasks and challenges to learn and grow.

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Three Memories

By Kevin Kling

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Young People's Concerts: Teacher Reviews

The Young People’s concert season kicked off on October 23rd with Watch the Orchestra Grow. Over the course of two days, more than 6,000 students filled Orchestra Hall to enjoy the music of Mozart, Beethoven, and more. Check out what the teachers and parents had to say!
Musical Perspectives

Students from the South African National Youth Orchestra reflect on their August 2018 Immersion Experience with the Minnesota Orchestra and what is next in their musical lives.

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Music for All

Guest blogger Mandy Meisner learns how the Minnesota Orchestra’s Sensory-Friendly Concerts are making Orchestra Hall inclusive for all audiences. Sensory-Friendly Concerts at Orchestra Hall are designed for patrons of all ages and abilities, including individuals on the autism spectrum and those with sensory sensitivities. The 2018-19 series includes five concerts featuring the full Orchestra and three featuring solo instruments or small ensembles, beginning with a performance by cellist Katja Linfield in the Target Atrium on November 20.

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Getting the Band Back Together: Orchestra Notes from Dessa

Fresh off a successful two-night collaboration, Dessa recaps her recent performances with the Minnesota Orchestra and tells us what it's like to collaborate with conductor Sarah Hicks and the Orchestra musicians. 

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Proud to Serve: Military Veterans in the Minnesota Orchestra

In honor of Veterans Day, we salute current and former members of our country's Armed Forces. The Minnesota Orchestra is fortunate to have a number of military veterans among our current and retired musicians and staff. We asked some of them to tell us about their military experience and how it contributed to their roles in the Minnesota Orchestra.

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Celebrating YPSCA, young talent and the Minnesota Orchestra

The Young People’s Symphony Concert Association (YPSCA) is excited to start a new season of activities that encourage a love of great music in young people. One particularly thrilling project is the annual Young People’s Concerto Competition (formerly called School Music Auditions).

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Mahler, Bernstein and Me

By C. C. Yager

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Northrop's Historic Pipe Organ

About the Northrop organ

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Heartstrings

Guest blogger Mandy Meisner waited more than 20 years to hear her teenage idol in person.

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"Sounds of the Cinema" - 2018 Symphony Ball

Thanks to the many community members and volunteers who generously invested their time, talents, energy, and financial support, the 2018 Symphony Ball was a spectacular success. More than 1,200 guests experienced the magic of music in the movies brought to life by your Minnesota Orchestra and special guest jeremy messersmith.

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Symphony Ball Q&A with Wendy Williams

“Sounds of the Cinema” is the theme of the Minnesota Orchestra’s 2018 Symphony Ball gala fundraiser, which takes place on Saturday, May 12. Complete details of the Orchestra’s performance are being kept as a surprise for unveiling at Symphony Ball, but Orchestra flutist Wendy Williams gave us a few clues and background on how the music was selected, and details about special guest performer jeremy messersmith.

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Audience spotlight: My unexpected connection with the Minnesota Orchestra

By audience member David Steinmeyer

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Minnesota Orchestra launches new Mauer recording project

The Minnesota Orchestra and Music Director Osmo Vänskä on Sunday announced a brand-new initiative to record the music of Minnesota Twins first baseman Joe Mauer.

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Remember the Titans

by guest blogger Mandy Meisner

As the first tease of spring arrived with much anticipation, a friend and I spent the evening of March 16 at Orchestra Hall for a night of Weill and Mahler.

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“The Best Conversation I Ever Had”

Assistant Conductor Akiko Fujimoto shares thoughts on her new Minnesota Orchestra position, running a good rehearsal, and the best conversation she ever had.

By Dan Wascoe

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Silver Linings

by Adam Kuenzel

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I'm No Expert

Something funny has happened. People assume I know a lot about music.

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Winter Dreaming

Guest blogger Mandy Meisner rings in 2018 at Orchestra Hall.

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Chopin, the Piano and Me

by Al Sicherman

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Hope Never Sounded So Good

On October 7th, guest blogger Mandy Meisner went to the “Send Me Hope” concert conducted by Roderick Cox. How was this concert different than the usual fare? Read on to find out.

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The Live Radio Experience: “Making a Little Community for a Few Hours on a Friday night”

By Brian Newhouse

I remember that night so well because I’d never kicked in a door before. I was a few months out of college and living alone in a rented farmhouse. The cornfields that stretched for miles around the house were buried in snow. A northwest wind had drifted the roads shut and badgered the house all day. Just after dinner the bathtub pipes burst. It sounded like two small firecrackers. Twin roostertails of water sprouted from the pipes and sprayed the walls.

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Dissection: Observing a Rehearsal at Orchestra Hall

Earlier this month, we invited guest blogger Mandy Meisner to observe a Minnesota Orchestra rehearsal led by Associate Conductor Roderick Cox. What happens to get the music ready for an audience? Read on to find out.

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Bach, Mendelssohn, Luther and Leipzig: Musical Echoes of the Reformation

Carla Waldemar shares her thoughts on music and the Reformation, inspired by her recent travels to Leipzig, just in time for the Minnesota Orchestra’s Reformation-themed concerts from November 2 to 4.

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Fan Club

Our guest blogger Mandy Meisner has generously shared her thoughts on being inspired to become a Minnesota Orchestra subscriber for the first time.

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Retired musician spotlight: Q&A with Mina Fisher

It’s our pleasure to check in with retired Minnesota Orchestra cellist Mina Fisher, a member of the Orchestra from 1979 to 2012. Fisher is the Producing Artistic Director of the Bakken Trio, which this month presents the premiere of NADIA, Fisher’s original play about 20th-century composition teacher and renaissance woman Nadia Boulanger. We spoke with her about Boulanger, her new play and what else she’s been up to since retiring.

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A Night on the Silk Road: A journey worth taking

Earlier this summer, our guest blogger Mandy Meisner attended the Minnesota Orchestra’s 2017 Symphony Ball, titled “A Night on the Silk Road.” Six weeks later, we’ve invited her to write about that evening of music, festivities and camaraderie—and reflect on what she calls “a respite from my usual route.”

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Camping with Strings Attached—Plus Brass, Woodwinds, Percussion

For many Minnesotans, summer camp means mosquitos, al fresco cooking, fishing, and fireside singalongs of old-time camp tunes. Few campers, however, can report learning to play the boisterous Roman Carnival Overture by Hector Berlioz. Or performing it in a sold-out concert hall alongside world-class members of the Minnesota Orchestra led by Osmo Vänskä. Or earning a standing ovation.

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Meet the Audience - Sig and Marti Reckdahl

Sig and Marti Reckdahl are living proof that you don’t need to play an instrument to foster a lifelong love of classical music.

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A Night at the Museum

Although I play viola in the Minnesota Orchestra, I also work in a wonderful museum—one of amazing historic musical treasures that I get to marvel at every day. I’m talking about the rare stringed instruments played by my colleagues. Assembled in front of you is a remarkable collection of violins, cellos and basses of antique vintage, a few of which date back to the late 1600s. (You might notice that I didn’t mention violas. More on that later.) The point is, much of the “lumber” you are listening to is of coveted Italian ancestry and centuries old.

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Touchdowns Beyond the End Zone

Photo: Osmo Vänskä perform Beethoven's Fifth at US Bank Stadium, © Travis Anderson 2016.

The day was Thursday, September 15: three days before the Minnesota Vikings home opener game against the Green Bay Packers at the new U.S. Bank Stadium. Late in the day I checked my email—and up popped a message from Kärsten Jensen, the Minnesota Orchestra’s events, personnel and volunteer manager, calling for more volunteers to help with the Orchestra’s performance at the halftime show for Sunday’s game. Volunteers were to report at the stadium for practice the next day, Friday, at 8 a.m. It would also require a good share of Saturday and, of course, game day.

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Essay: Be It Resolved

Photo: Violinist Céline Leathead at the conclusion of a concert in 2015.

Making New Year’s resolutions is a rite of, well, each new year.

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The Promise of the Blank Slate

Last summer, my almost-six-year-old learned how to swim. I sat at the edge of the pool, watching as he was launched forward by the instructor and managed only a few dog paddles before he was pulled aside for extra help. He tried not to cry; I peeked from behind a shrub. Later, when he stumbled, shivering, into his Stormtrooper towel, the only thing between him and quitting was the post-lesson reward from his teacher, a piece of candy clutched wetly in his hand.

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Bike to Orchestra Hall

This summer the Minnesota Orchestra is inviting the entire Twin Cities bicycling community to Bike to Orchestra Hall! Starting with the launch of Sommerfest 2016 on July 8th, show your bike helmet or gear at out Box Office when you bike to Orchestra Hall and get 50 percent off tickets to select concerts (see eligible concerts).

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