Minnetonka Philharmonic Orchestra receives high honors at music festival

Minnetonka Philharmonic Orchestra had the opportunity to perform and learn from the Minnesota Orchestra March 20 at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis. (Photo courtesy of Minnetonka Community Education) Minnetonka Philharmonic Orchestra had the opportunity to perform with the Minnesota Orchestra March 20 after earning a “superior with distinction” rating in February at the Middle Level Orchestra Festival. (Photo courtesy of Minnetonka Community Education) Violin, viola, cello and bass performers in the Minnetonka Philharmonic Orchestra received a chance to perform and learn from the Minnesota Orchestra March 20 at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis. (Photo courtesy of Minnetonka Community Education)
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Minnetonka Philharmonic Orchestra had the opportunity to perform with the Minnesota Orchestra March 20 after earning a “superior with distinction” rating in February at the Middle Level Orchestra Festival. (Photo courtesy of Minnetonka Community Education)

Group wins opportunity to learn and perform with Minnesota Orchestra in Minneapolis

The Minnetonka Philharmonic Orchestra had the opportunity to perform and learn from the Minnesota Orchestra March 20 after earning a “superior with distinction” rating at last month’s Middle Level Orchestra Festival.

By earning a “Superior with Distinction” rating at the Festival, the orchestra was invited to participate in daytime sectionals with Minnesota Orchestra coaches, have an on-stage rehearsal and later perform in an evening concert at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis. Only eight of 44 groups in the state were selected for this unique opportunity.

This was the first year the orchestra received a “superior with distinction” rating.

“This was an amazing opportunity for the children,” said Amber Yang, program manager with the Minnetonka Music Academy. “First they got to meet with Minnesota Orchestra musicians and get their feedback and they got to perform at Orchestra Hall where the acoustics are amazing and they got to hear their work there which was very memorable. It will be something they remember for the rest of their lives.”

The Minnetonka Philharmonic Orchestra is a Minnetonka Community Education and Minnetonka Music Academy program, and students in grades six to eight audition for seats in the orchestra.

Many of the musicians are students at Minnetonka Middle School East, Minnetonka Middle School West and other local schools.

“Our music students are truly exceptional and work very hard,” said Yang. “This exceptional group was the only one in the competition that included sixth-grade students. In addition, they only rehearse once per week (before school) compared to other orchestras that rehearse two to five times per week during school hours. They’re very motivated and willing to take on any challenge.”

Director Dan Ericksen leads the students in rehearsals every Friday morning, from late September until May, at Minnetonka Middle School East.

The students give two public concerts during the school year and attend Minnesota String and Orchestra Teachers Association and the Middle Level Orchestra Festival every spring.

Contact Paige Kieffer at [email protected]