History of the Youth Orchestras
Youth Symphony | Sinfonia | Concert Orchestra | All
- Began in 1940 by then conductor of the DSSO, Paul Lemay.
- First concert was on May 28, 1941 at Denfeld High School.
- One of the longest continuous histories of any youth orchestra in the United States.
In the beginning, it was made up of both college and high school students who rehearsed weekly in a large second floor ballroom over a store on Superior Street.
- In their first year, the orchestra had become proficient enough to perform on a network broadcast.
- Lemay enlisted in the Armed Forces in 1942 and was killed in action in 1944.
- The years following reflected the conductors interest in the success of the "Junior Orchestra." The next conductor to exert a great influence was Herman Herz (1950's to much of the 60's).
- In 1964 the single yearly concert was increased to two per year, now there are three.
- Joseph Hawthorne (who succeeded Mr. Herz) began to acquire grants which allowed him to have an assistant. The assistant began assisting with the Youth Orchestra, and later assumed full responsibility for the Youth Orchestra.
- David Holland expanded rehearsals to two a week and broadened the performance schedule to include two short tours
Mr. Holland resigned in 1973.
- Diane Balko, James Stellmaker, and Sr. Monica Laughlin shared responsibility for the orchestra until John Taddiken took over in 1974-1977.
- In 1977 Taavo Virkhaus became conductor; he rebuilt the Youth Orchestra in size and quality, then turned it over to assistant conductor Warren Friesen.
- Current Conductor (as of 2008) is Kevin Hoeschen, who is a principal violist with the DSSO. He began his tenure in 1988.
- In addition to the conductor, Ron Kari, who is a violist with the DSSO, was named Youth Orchestra coordinator.
- Several coaches assist with sectional rehearsals.
- To make them a cohesive group, the Youth Symphony begins each season with a weekend retreat out of town and includes an intense weekend of sectionals and full rehearsals on their Fall Concert music.
- Sectionals are led by coaches (usually principle players from the DSSO).
- Full rehearsals are lead by the conductor of the Youth Symphony and on occasion the music director of the DSSO.
- Sites have been: Whitecap Mountain Ski Resort (Montreal, WI), Camp Miller (Sturgeon Lake, MN) and more.
- In 1981, Diane Balko, Concertmaster Eugenia Rust, and Nancy Lokken began the Sinfonia-a regional string orchestra for younger players.
- The Sinfonia was continued by Gerard Jones and Warren Friesen.
- 1988-1993 Jeanne Doty conducted
- 1993-1998 Debra Scott directed
- 1998-1999 Anita Rauschenfels and Timothy Jones directed
- 1999-present Laura Kimmes has directed
- Consists of 41 members elementary to middle school age.
- Formed in 1995
- Existed until 1999 under the direction of Frank Garcia
- In 1999 the name and instructor changed to Concert Orchestra led by Garcia until 2002
- 2002 to present Clare Chopp has been director
- Overseen by the Education Committee of the Board of Trustees which is chaired by Paula Nelson Guenther.
- Draw members from Duluth-Superior and as far away as Ashland, Bayfield, Cloquet, Two Harbors, and Hoyt Lakes.
- There have been three name changes since the beginning of the Youth Orchestra: Junior Symphony, Youth Orchestra, Youth Symphony.
- Currently there are three concerts per season: Fall Concert, Lollipop Concert (began in 1964) and the Spring Concert.
- Has been a training ground for many future DSSO symphony players and many other orchestra members.
- Admission to any of the three youth orchestras is by yearly audition.
- Auditions are heard by the three youth orchestra conductors and consist of a solo of the student's choice, sight reading, and basic scales.
- Originally the concerts were held in local schools, now the entire season is in the DECC.
- There are tuition scholarships and competitions annually.
- Have been invited to perform with the DSSO in a side-by-side setting, latest on the January 19, 2008 Masterworks program (Walton's Crown Imperial March).