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Blue Earth Area Orchestra goes on tour

By Staff | Apr 28, 2019

The Blue Earth Area Orchestra recently went on tour to Minneapolis. Not only were they treated to a master class with the Assistant Principal Bass, William Schrikel, above, but they also attended the Claire Givens Violin Shop. The students also met Gov. Tim Walz.

The Blue Earth Area High School Concert Orchestra recently returned on Sunday, April 14, from their 2019 tour to Minneapolis.

The tour was set to begin on Thursday, April 11, but was delayed one day due to that pesky Minnesota weather.

A Blue Earth Area bus took the students and orchestra director Peter Koenig to their hotel in downtown Minneapolis on Friday and returned to Blue Earth before classes started again on Monday. The students spent the two days walking to various destinations and orchestral hot spots in Minneapolis.

On Friday night the students enjoyed dinner at Buca di Beppo and a show at Orchestra Hall.

“It was an amazing experience seeing the Mendelssohn violin concerto played by Stefan Jackiw and Dvorak’s 8th symphony,” says Koenig. “The special guest at the Orchestra was Governor Tim Walz, the students got to meet him for a picture during intermission.”

On Saturday, the students started their day at Claire Givens Violin shop where they were able to learn from a luthier, a person who repairs and makes violins, and speak with a bow specialist. They were also given the opportunity to play high-end instruments, including a cello valued at $60,000 and a violin worth $142,000.

Then, it was across the street to Orchestra Hall for a masterclass with the Assistant Principal Bass, William Schrickel, who worked with the BEA group on music for their upcoming concert on May 13. He offered the students tips on techniques and style, as well as sharing what life is like for a professional orchestral musician.

The girls of the group then headed to an appointment at the Minneapolis escape room, while the boys (who stayed behind to carry instruments back to the hotel) were treated to an impromptu backstage tour of Orchestra Hall, including the music library, practice rooms, musicians lounge and a brief acoustics lesson on the stage.

The BEA boys also learned about a long list of jobs in the orchestra aside from being one of the on-stage musicians.

At the Escape Room, an interactive gaming experience which requires you to figure out clues to escape a room, the girls made it out of “The Apartment” in 55 minutes by working out some difficult clues. The boys passed their last ‘training exercise’ to become official members of “The Agency.”

“It was a fun time filled with tough clues, hidden doors, and lots of teamwork,” says Koenig.

Saturday evening the students were excited to try out a fondue experience at The Melting Pot before taking in another concert at Orchestra Hall.

The second concert of the weekend was an “Inside the Classics” featuring the life and music of Mrs. Amy Beach, who was the first American woman to have a symphony published and performed by the Boston Symphony in 1896.

“The weekend was a great cultural experience,” adds Koenig. “This trip was made possible by a grant provided by the Blue Earth Area Foundation and was funded, in part, by the Prairie Lakes Regional Arts Council with an appropriation from the Minnesota State Legislature with money from the State’s general fund. Without the support of our state and our community, this opportunity for our students could not have happened.”