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St. Croix Valley Symphony Orchestra sets spring concert schedule

Falcon News Service

March 23, 2016

The St. Croix Valley Symphony Orchestra, made up of performers from UW-River Falls and the surrounding community, is beginning its musical events for the spring season, performing a series of four concerts in Wisconsin and Minnesota.

The symphony orchestra has been around since 1960, according to Kristin Tjornehoj, director of the group and chair of the Music Department at UW-River Falls. The orchestra has consistently focused on community outreach, she said, and maintains a repertoire of European music.

This spring will also see the symphony orchestra playing bluegrass and Celtic melodies, though Tjornehoj said that regular concerts include much of the music of American composer Aaron Copland, as she has shown a particular tendency to include his works. Early classical music by Mozart and Beethoven are also constantly added to the concert repertoire, in order to get a good roster of music.

Community orchestras, Tjornehoj said, allow people to gather together to play music and enjoy it with their audiences.

The orchestra survives through donations, but Tjornehoj also said that she has gotten good at writing grant requests.

Tjornehoj tends to work with individuals, typically students, for about a year in advance to acquaint them with conducting and arranging music. Max Vitulo, who joined the group at age 15, is the person this year who will be doing guest work for the symphony orchestra.

What makes the orchestra so inviting, Layton James, a pianist who has taught at UWRF and has conducted the orchestra, said, is that it allows many people from across the St. Croix Valley to come together to perform. James retired in 2010 from the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra.

For someone such as himself, James said, the orchestra shows that even those who have performed for a long time can still have a place they are welcome.

With a lot of work having gone into the music this year, Tjornehoj promises a great time for all, and said she hopes the good feeling orchestra members have playing gets through to the people coming to listen.

Further information about the orchestra is available on its website, scvsymphony.org.