Heritage Days 2011: A Saturday night crescendoThe Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra is bringing a taste of big city music to a small town festival.
By: Brittany Berrens, Lake County News Chronicle
The Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra is bringing a taste of big city music to a small town festival.
Keeping with the Heritage Days theme “Music, Music, Music,” the DSSO is playing a free 7 p.m. concert Saturday at the band shell in Thomas Owens Park.
Thanks to the Legacy grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, the DSSO has been able to travel to communities outside of Duluth and Superior to provide concerts and small ensemble events.
Jessica Leibfried is head of the education and community engagement program with the DSSO. Leibfried said though Two Harbors may not be a long drive from Duluth where the orchestra normally plays, concerts such as the one during Heritage Days makes symphony music more accessible to people who might not go to a classical music event.
“We’re saying ‘We’re coming to you,’” she said. “Don’t worry about driving to Duluth, we’re coming to you.”
Concert goers can expect a mix of familiar classical tunes, along with some lesser-known pieces that Leibfried says will stretch listeners a bit and make them interested in other symphonic music.
There was also the chance for people to get to know some of the DSSO music on a more intimate level in the weeks leading up to the Heritage Days concert. A tube and viola presentation was held at the Two Harbors Public Library Wednesday and a historical presentation on brass instruments was held last week.
The programs are an effort to present music in an interactive way, Leibfried said, allowing audience members to ask questions and chat with musicians. Leibfried said the DSSO is trying out ensemble programs such as the two held in Two Harbors to try and get community members more comfortable with and interested in seeing the orchestra. She said not only do these programs peak community interest in the DSSO, but the musicians have a great time participating as well.
“We don’t use the word outreach,” she said. “It’s not just a one-way street. We don’t feel that we’re coming to Two Harbors and giving this great thing. The musicians get so much out of it. Our musicians just love to do this kind of work.”
She said the musicians also enjoy playing outdoors, which always offers the symphony a fun and interesting challenge. It had its annual outdoor concert at Duluth’s Fourth Fest Monday.
“It can be exciting,” Leibfried said. “If the wind is quite heavy we’ve got music flying all over. If it’s hot we’ve got reeds and wooden instruments swelling.” She said the orchestra members are also excited to play in a new community, try out a different venue, and perform for a new group of people.
Kris Peterson of Knife River plays clarinet in the symphony. She looks forward to taking a short trip to Two harbors to play in front of friends and family. “I’m excited,” she said. “I think it’s the first time we’ve played in Two Harbors.”
She said a slightly smaller set of musicians, 54, plan on fitting into the bandshell space. “That’s a lot for that stage,” Peterson said, “but we’ll make it work.”
The symphony is playing only three outdoor shows this summer, the others being Monday’s set in Duluth and one later this month in Solon Springs. Peterson said the biggest challenge for outdoor playing is in the luck of the weather. She said too many shows were rained out last year. “You have to play out a bit more,” she said of the open air. “I hope it’s a nice night.”
Peterson said listeners can expect a lot of patriotic songs, including a portion where military veterans in the symphony are recognized.
For those looking for a more “pop” experience, the crowd at the park will be warmed up with Todd Eckart beginning at 5 p.m. He was last year’s most popular music act at Heritage Days, doing impressions of Rat Pack singers like Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin.