3M Symphony Years (1957 – 2009)
The 3M Symphony Orchestra was organized in the summer of 1956 and became an activity of the 3M Club, sponsored by 3M Company’s Employee Recreation Department. It started out as a small string ensemble and by 1957 had grown into a full concert orchestra. Every player was connected to 3M, as an employee, retiree, family member, or friend, and they were all amateur musicians, practicing and playing on their own time. They all shared a deep appreciation for music and a desire to make live music available to everyone.
During the 2008-2009 season 3M announced that it would no longer be supporting its internal music clubs so the members of the orchestra had to decide whether to disband and go their separate ways (since there were actually many more community orchestras in the twin cities metro than ever), or transform themselves from a corporate club to an independent, fully-functioning community arts organization. To their credit, the orchestra members decided that they would continue to make music together and went through the process of creating a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization.