Surround sound with the Mankato Symphony Orchestra

A memorable performance for on-stage audience members

Karly Kaufman
Staff Writer

The Mankato Symphony Orchestra is one of the little-known treasures in town. A message on their website states, “We’re going to dazzle you.” And they certainly did. On Sunday, April 8, the orchestra performed at the Verizon Center Grand Hall. The performance was part of their 2017-2018 season, “In the Spotlight.”

Adding a unique twist to their normal concerts, audience members were offered a seat on stage to experience what it’s like to be a musician. I was lucky enough to be in center stage.

As an audience member on the stage, we were asked not to disturb the musicians while they were performing, refrain from talking or getting up during the performance, and no flash photography while musicians are playing. Having previously been a musician, it was a different feeling to be on stage without my instrument.

The first song they played was “Cello Concerto in B Minor, Op. 104, B. 191” by Antonín Dvořák. The music began at a fast pace and filled the stage with an immense, full sound. The man who sat behind me jokingly stated, “Now this is what they mean by surround sound.” The instruments varied from strings—cello, bass, viola, and violin—to woodwind and brass, flute, clarinet, horn, trumpet, trombone, and tuba—to percussion, or rather the lone timpani.

A few times throughout the performance I was swept away by the breathtaking sounds that pierced my ears. I closed my eyes to fully let the music fill me with peace. As a fan of classical music and movie scores, I was overcome by my fascination with instrumentals. It was truly an incredible experience.

The second song was “Symphony No. 5 in E minor, Op. 64” by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. This one being more Allegro—a quick tempo—than Andante—a moderately slow tempo. The notes spread across the page to embrace the essence of what it means to be a musician. Both pieces were around an hour each, split between an intermission.

The symphony orchestra had a guest musician, Silver Ainomäe, perform in the first piece. Having played the cello since he was six, his skills were incredible. He moved with the music and the music moved with him. The audience was captivated by Ainomäe’s orchestral sounds.

While the experience of sitting on stage was one of the highlights, the Mankato Symphony Orchestra had reserved seats for the Mankato Area Youth Symphony Orchestra (MAYSO). These kids, most of them having lesson teachers in the symphony orchestra were overwhelmed by curiosity. They held such intrigue in their faces and could sit with the musicians who played the instruments they played.

The Mankato Symphony Orchestra is an extraordinary organization that brings the beauty of music to the community. Being fortunate enough to experience the power of surround sound, I hope anyone, and everyone will attend one of their concerts in the future.

Photo: (Karly Kaufman/MSU Reporter)

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