This article was written by Emma Plehal  

The Orchestra’s week-long Common Chords residency will feature musician visits and performances throughout North Minneapolis, including at the Capri Theater, La Doña Cervecería, Sammy’s Avenue Eatery, Sanctuary Covenant Church, Sumner Library, and Patrick Henry and North High Schools,among other locations.

Music Director Osmo Vänskä will lead the Orchestra in a concert at North High School on January 26, featuring collaborative performances with guest artists including The Steeles, MacPhail Northside Youth Orchestra Bucket Drummers and Juxtaposition Arts
The Orchestra will present a Community Meal and Sing-Along on January 22, at Sanctuary Covenant Church

From January 21 through 27, Minnesota Orchestra musicians will participate in approximately 25 events throughout North Minneapolis in the Orchestra’s first Twin Cities-area Common Chords residency week. The full Orchestra will perform two free concerts, led by Music Director Osmo Vänskä: a Community Meal and Sing-Along at Sanctuary Covenant Church on January 22, and a Finale Concert on January 26 at North High School, where the Orchestra will share the stage with individual artists and ensembles from the North Minneapolis community.

Highlights of the residency include musician visits to elementary and high schools plus chamber performances at locations ranging from the University of Minnesota Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center, the Cora McCorvey Health and Wellness Center and La Doña Cervecería to Wilson’s Image Barbers and Stylists and Sammy’s Avenue Eatery.  The residency has been designed over the last 12 months by a steering committee of North Minneapolis leaders who represent a broad cross-section of the community involving schools, businesses, and civic and cultural organizations.

When the Orchestra launched the Common Chords program in 2011, it was designed to be a week-long immersion in a Greater Minnesota city. More recently, Orchestra staff and musicians began discussing ways to adapt the project for a Twin Cities residency. “Common Chords North Minneapolis has really grown out of the Orchestra’s relationships with Shiloh Temple International Ministries and MacPhail’s programs in North Minneapolis,” said President and CEO Michelle Miller Burns. “Over the last twelve months, so many North Minneapolis leaders have dedicated time to make this experience meaningful and unique to the northside and we are thankful for their involvement. We hope to set the stage for lasting partnerships that will continue beyond this January week.”
Common Chords

The Orchestra’s Common Chords project is a multi-year endeavor that has historically established partnerships between the Orchestra and Minnesota cities, each culminating in its own unique residency during which the Orchestra immerses itself in a single Minnesota community for a week. Grand Rapids was the first host city in October 2011, followed by Willmar, Hibbing, Bemidji, Detroit Lakes, Mankato and now North Minneapolis.

In all Common Chords residencies, musical activities take place in both traditional and non-traditional settings, ranging from concert halls and schools to coffee shops, pubs and community centers. These varied settings provide opportunities to experience classical music in surprising venues or simply “happen upon” a musical performance. In each community, Orchestra staff works with a steering committee of community volunteers to develop goals and activities during the week in residence.

The North Minneapolis Steering Committee identified four key priorities: to help build and grow existing northside youth music programs; to bring music to places people are already gathered; to invest in organizations and small businesses in North Minneapolis; and to highlight North Minneapolis talent.

“The Steering Committee had a very clear vision for how this project could best work in North Minneapolis,” says Beth Kellar-Long, the Orchestra’s Vice President of Orchestra Administration. “We are particularly excited by the prospect of a community Sing-Along—and, of course, the culminating concert at North High School is going to be a remarkable night.”

Community Meal and Sing-Along, January 22

In a one-of-a-kind event, Music Director Osmo Vänskä and the Minnesota Orchestra invite members of the North Minneapolis community to join in a Sing-Along on Tuesday, January 22 at Sanctuary Covenant Church. The family-friendly event, presented in partnership with Sanctuary Covenant Church, is preceded by a free community meal catered by North Minneapolis restaurant Breaking Bread Café. The community meal begins at 6 p.m., and the one-hour family Sing-Along follows at 7 p.m.

Attendees will have the opportunity to share a table with Orchestra musicians, try bucket drumming and then sing along as the Orchestra plays familiar spirituals and other songs. This event is free, but registration is encouraged. Details and registration will be available at minnesotaorchestra.org/northmpls.

Music Together: Finale Concert

Music Director Osmo Vänskä leads the Minnesota Orchestra in a performance at North High School on Saturday, January 26, at 7 p.m., for the finale of the Orchestra’s 2019 Common Chords week. Program highlights include Dance for Martin’s Dream by American composer Michael Abels and Danzón by Cuban composer Alejandro García Caturla, plus Leonard Bernstein’s showstopping Overture to Candide, Jean Sibelius’ Finlandia and Samuel Barber’s Symphony No. 1. The concert features musical collaborations with The Steeles, MacPhail Northside Youth Orchestra, Orchestra trumpeter Charles Lazarus and Patricio DeLara from Juxtaposition Arts, who will create new artwork live during the performance. A free reception for all audience members and musicians, catered by Sammy’s Avenue Eatery and Cookie Cart, will follow the event.

Tickets for the Finale Concert are priced at $30 and available at minnesotaorchestra.org. North Minneapolis residents are eligible for free tickets by using the promo code NORTHMPLS.

Common Chords North Minneapolis Schedule

All events listed are open to the public.

*This schedule is subject to change.

Monday, January 21, 2019

7:-9:20 a.m.            Minneapolis Armory – 29th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Breakfast

(Tickets available only at mlkbreakfast.com)

                                    Brass Quintet and Percussion with MacPhail Northside Youth Orchestra Bucket Drummers

10a.m.-noon, Ordway Center – 33rd Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration

                                    Brass Quintet and Percussion with MacPhail Northside Youth Orchestra Bucket Drummers   

1:30-2:30 p.m.            Cora McCorvey Health & Wellness Center

Cello Duo

68 p.m.            Freestyle Dance Battle – Location TBA

String quartet with Asian Media Access Youth Dancers


Tuesday, January 22

Orchestra musicians will be involved in school visits during the day.

6-8 p.m.            Community Meal and Sing-Along, Sanctuary Covenant Church

                                    Minnesota Orchestra, conducted by Osmo Vänskä

                                    Free meal with Orchestra musicians at 6 p.m.; Sing-Along at 7 p.m.


Wednesday, January 23

Orchestra musicians will be involved in school visits during the day.

7-8 p.m.            Homewood Studios

                                    String trio

Thursday, January 24

12 p.m.            The Gathering Space at Sammy’s Avenue Eatery

                                    String quartet and Patrick Henry High Choir Students

5:30-6:30 p.m.            Sumner Library

Family-friendly: Meet a musician and try out the violin.

6:30-7:30 p.m.            Dispatches from the North: A Reading, University of Minnesota Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center                                          

                                    Original readings plus a string duo

Friday, January 25

7-9 p.m.            Patrick Henry High School Winter Choir Concert

String quartet with Patrick Henry High Choir

7:30-9 p.m.            Pint of Music at La Doña Cervecería

Woodwind quintet

Saturday, January 26

11 a.m.-noon Wilson’s Image Barbers & Stylists

Tuba duo

7 p.m.                     Music Together: Finale Concert and Reception, North High School

                                    Minnesota Orchestra; Osmo Vänskä and Akiko Fujimoto, conductors; The Steeles; Juxtaposition

                                    Arts; MacPhail Northside Youth Orchestra, Tamara Gonzalez, conductor

                                    Reception catered by Sammy’s Avenue Eatery and Cookie Cart

Sunday, January 27

9 and 11 a.m.   Sanctuary Covenant Church Services

String quartet

3-5 p.m.            Capri Theater – Jazz Concert and Reception

Orchestra musicians join the Capri Big Band

This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund. Additional support is provided by Target and U.S. Bank.