Mankato Area Youth Symphony Orchestra

Mankato Area Youth Symphony Orchestra presents fall concerts this weekend in Sleepy Eye and Mankato.

The Mankato Area Youth Symphony Orchestra is inviting community members to come “twist and shout” with a “Back to the 60s” fall concert including songs from The Beatles and more.

This will be the group’s 54th concert and they wanted to celebrate by playing some fun music that everyone can enjoy.

“Every song that we play wasn’t just a hit, but was a smash hit back in the 60s,” said David Stordalen, the orchestra’s executive director.

Two ensembles will be playing at this fall concert: The North Star Strings, which mainly consists of elementary through junior high youth members, and the Mankato Area Youth Symphony Orchestra (MAYSO), which mainly consists of more experienced and high school-aged members.

The groups plan on playing some rather difficult pieces including a fun one called, “Typewriter,” along with many other hits from the 60s.

“It’s 50 years ago now that some of these albums were written. The kids have just really enjoyed doing all of this music,” Stordalen said.

Stordalen encourages the community to come out and support the orchestra and the young musicians in it.

“It’s another way that our area youth get to show off their talent and also learn a craft that might be a lifetime of employment for them,” Stordalen said.

Stordalen believes that this not only benefits the community, but also the kids involved.

“The history of music and the fine arts is an important thing. The more ways that we can motivate kids, get them thinking in different ways, the better our future,” Stordalen said.

Cindy Garwich a community mentor and parent of an orchestra member, agrees.

“It’s really just a lot of fun playing with them. Seeing the progression of them is amazing,” Garwich said.

The orchestra involves some adults and senior citizens who come in and mentor young members, and Garwich is one of them. Her daughter plays the flute while she plays the french horn.

“There’s about 50 kids involved this fall and we have a few adult mentors who are killing their parts. They enjoy a trip down memory lane. Here’s some memorable tunes that will take them back 50 years,” Stordalen said.

One of his favorite things about the group is the multi-generational aspect to it. The kids bring the love for music, the joy of learning and excitement, and community mentors bring craftsmanship and experience.

Garwich said she believes this shows kids that music is something that is a big part of many people’s lives for more than just their childhood. It is something they can continue to do all their lives.

MAYSO musicians range in age from elementary to high school and come from all over the greater Mankato area to be a part of this symphony. The orchestra also has three directors: Mark Wamma, Will Frame and Stordalen with varying levels of expertise.

“I’m really excited for the kids. We’ve been working on this music all fall, talking about working to craft a program so that we mentall and physically peak at concert,” Stordalen said.

“(People should come) to hear good music and support these kids and what they’re doing,” Garwich said.

Stordalen and Garwich both agree the orchestra helps bring people together in the community.

“I think music always benefits the community, especially when it’s kid’s music. You just get things from music that you don’t get in any other subject at school,” Garwich said.

Garwich hopes to see new faces in the audience and encourages community members who have never seen the orchestra to come out.

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