Jim McCarville has a passion for music. Over the years, Jim has marched in two Rose Bowl parades; performed with the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra; participated in International Barbershop Music Competitions; and joined countless small ensemble groups. So it should come as no surprise that Jim also has a history with EMSO that goes back 52 years!
“My wife, Karen, and I joined the 3M Symphony Orchestra in 1967. We’ve always enjoyed making music together and have done some interesting things over the years.” A retired 3M Engineering and IT manager, Jim started playing trumpet and flugelhorn about 65 years ago, and thoroughly enjoys performing all kinds of music in various community organizations. “Over the years, I’ve been an active volunteer in many groups to help the community, musically and otherwise. In 2009, I was named as a 3M Retired Volunteer of the Year Awardee.”
Jim has experienced lots of changes in the orchestra over the last five decades, not the least of which was the transition from being a 3M sponsored organization to an independent, non-profit community orchestra. “I was very disappointed when 3M discontinued their support of the orchestra, but was very happy that we were able to form EMSO to continue the legacy. We are playing more difficult music now and I’ve been very encouraged by the growth of the group these last 10 years.”
With so many years spent in the orchestra, Jim says it is hard to separate the memories of the old 3M Symphony Orchestra from the years of EMSO. “There have been several memorable moments that I remember – the concert where my daughter sang a solo with the orchestra; playing Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture; the extravagant Christmas concerts; playing in small ensembles or solos with the orchestra; and performing a variety of cultural music.” But his favorite music to perform is obviously pieces that heavily feature the brass section. “We have had an excellent brass and woodwind section in the orchestra as long as I’ve been a member, and I like to see us take advantage of pieces that utilize their skills.”
In the future, Jim says he would like to see more concerts where small groups within the orchestra have the opportunity to showcase their talents. He also hopes to see more opportunities to perform with new and diverse artistic partners, as well as creating programs with unique components that allow for more audience participation. “Music and audiences are changing. We need to continue to perform a broad repertoire of musical styles and offer performances that involve more variety and components, where the audience can participate and is more entertained.”