Past Concert Seasons

2019-2020 Concert Season New Beginnings

French Passions (October 27, 2019) – The Grove United Methodist Church, Woodbury, MN     

The first concert in EMSO’s 2019-2020 New Beginnings concert season marked the first appearance of Craig Hara as EMSO’s new music director and conductor and featured concert performances of Dukas’ Fanfare (pour précéder “La Péri”), Bizet’s L’Arlésienne, Suite No. 1, Berlioz’s Ouverture du “Corsair,” and Franck’s Symphony in D Minor.

Uh-Oh, Here Comes Christmas! (December 15, 2019) – St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, North St. Paul, MN

A musical concert in collaboration with Applause Community Theatre (ACT) featuring vignettes from the play by David Caldwell and Ernest Zulia and based on the book by Robert Fulghum and a collection of favorite holiday carols.

Uh-Oh, Here Comes Christmas! (December 17, 2019) – A Symphonies for Seniors concert presented at Stonecrest Senior Living Community, Woodbury, MN

The Orchestra Family (February 25, 2020) – A Symphonies for Seniors concert presented at Stonecrest Senior Living Community, Woodbury, MN

The Orchestra Family (March 3, 2020) – A Symphonies for Seniors concert presented at St. Therese of Woodbury Chapel, Woodbury, MN

*The Orchestra Family (March 22, 2020) – Sundin Music Hall at Hamline University, St. Paul, MN

A concert highlighting the EMSO family of musicians and featuring both solo and small ensemble performances by new and seasoned EMSO members, as well as pieces performed by the full orchestra.

*The Orchestra Family, as well as the remainder of the 2019-2020 EMSO Concert Season, was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  


2018-2019 Concert Season Celebrating 10 Years of Music and Community

A Joyful Noise

A Joyful Noise (October 28, 2018) – King of Kings Lutheran Church, Woodbury, MN

This concert marked the third time EMSO has collaborated with King of Kings Lutheran Church’s various music groups. Highlights included Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s Messiah and Ode to Joy from Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, and Grieg’s Holberg Suite; as well as special performances with the King of Kings Lutheran Church’s King’s Choir, King’s Heralds Brass Ensemble and JuBELLation Handbell Choir.

10th Annual Side-By-Side Concert (November 20, 2018) – East Ridge High School, Woodbury, MN
The East Metro Symphony Orchestra proudly partnered with the East Ridge High School Orchestra for its 10th annual Side-By-Side Concert.  This annual musical event features young high school orchestra students playing side-by-side with the seasoned musicians of EMSO.

Sing-A-Long

Sing-A-Long (December 15, 2018) – East Ridge High School, Woodbury, MN

As part of the Merrill Arts Center Holiday Festival Series, EMSO joined the East Ridge High School Choristers for a festive holiday sing-a-long.

A Nutcracker Christmas

A Nutcracker Christmas (December 16, 2018) – East Ridge High School, Woodbury, MN

In celebration of its 10th Anniversary Season, EMSO once again collaborated with long-standing artistic partner Woodbury Dance Center.  The Nutcracker ballet has long been a staple of the holiday season.  EMSO and WDC presented this beloved classic with a new twist, not only presenting the story through classical ballet, but also with contemporary, tap, and other styles of dance throughout the performance.

Mardi Gras!

Mardi Gras! (March 2, 2019) – Lake Elmo Event Center, Lake Elmo, MN

EMSO’s fourth annual Pops Cabaret and Silent Auction featured a Mardi Gras-themed party with full orchestra and Dixieland band performances celebrating the music of Carnival from around the world.

Mardi Gras! (March 5, 2019) – A Symphonies for Seniors concert presented at St. Threses of Woodbury Chapel, Woodbury, MN

An Evening with EMSO (May 7, 2019) – A Symphonies for Seniors concert presented at Boutwells Landing Senior Living Center, Oak Park Heights, MN

10 Years and Still Celebrating!

10 Years and Still Celebrating! (May 19, 2019) – Trinity Lutheran Church, Stillwater, MN

EMSO’s final concert of its 10th anniversary season celebrated some of the best music, moments, and friends in the orchestra’s history.  Some of the orchestra’s favorite artistic partners joined the orchestra for this special concert, including violinist and former EMSO concertmaster Michal Sobieski; renowned nyckleharpa (key fiddle) performer Cheryl Paschke; and composer and fiddler Jim Price. EMSO honored several of its most influential members and partners during the concert including EMSO artistic director and conductor Dr. Elizabeth Prielozny Barnes.


2017-2018 Concert Season A Season of Celebrations

A Mighty Fortress

A Mighty Fortress (October 29, 2017) – King of Kings Lutheran Church, Woodbury, MN

Corresponding with the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, the centerpiece of A Mighty Fortress was Felix Mendelssohn’s Reformation Symphony, performed by the orchestra and featuring the King of Kings Lutheran Church’s King’s Choir singing the chorale piece A Mighty Fortress is Our God. The concert also featured a solo performance by EMSO concertmaster, Joan Molloy, and special performances by the King of Kings Lutheran Church’s King’s Choir, Brass Ensemble, and JuBELLation Handbell Choir.

A Holiday Fete

A Holiday Fête (December 17, 2017) – East Ridge High School, Woodbury, MN

EMSO presented this concert with students of the School of St. Paul Ballet, performing excerpts from Clara’s Dream, a ballet set to music from Tchaikovsky’s holiday classic, The Nutcracker, starring professional company dancer Michelle Ludwig as “Clara,” and student dancers ranging from upper elementary to high school age. The program was rounded out with holiday musical classics including an audience sing-a-long.

All You Need is Love

All You Need is Love (February 10, 2018) – Lake Elmo Event Center, Lake Elmo, MN

EMSO’s third annual Pops Cabaret and Silent Auction event was a celebration of love! The music included a fun variety of selections, ranging from classical works to Beatles hits.  The performance featured guest singer Lisa Butcher, jazz keyboardist Dave Miller, and was again hosted by the “unofficial voice of the East Metro Symphony Orchestra,” Jim Barnes.

All You Need is Love (February 27, 2018) – A Symphonies for Seniors concert presented at St. Therese of Woodbury Chapel, Woodbury, MN

Svensk musik och dans

Svensk musik och dans (Swedish Music and Dance) (May 20, 2018) – Augustana Lutheran Church, West St. Paul, MN

In celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Twin Cities Nyckelharpalag and the 100th anniversary of the Twin Cities Swedish Folk Dancers, EMSO partnered with both groups to create a special collaborative mix of classical pieces by Swedish composers and traditional Swedish folk music and dance.  This event showcased the nyckleharpa (key fiddle) and Swedish folk dance performances, and music by Hugo Alfven. It also featured the U.S. premieres of works by Kurt Atterberg and Karl-Johan Ankarblom and a world premiere featuring all three ensembles created especially for this event by Northfield, MN-based composer Daniel Kallman.

Svensk musik och dans

Svensk musik och dans (Swedish Music and Dance) (May 23, 2018) – American Swedish Institute, Minneapolis, MN

In celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Twin Cities Nyckelharpalag and the 100th anniversary of the Twin Cities Swedish Folk Dancers, EMSO partnered with both groups to create a special collaborative mix of classical pieces by Swedish composers and traditional Swedish folk music and dance.  This event showcased the nyckleharpa (key fiddle) and Swedish folk dance performances, and music by Hugo Alfven. It also featured the U.S. premieres of works by Kurt Atterberg and Karl-Johan Ankarblom and a world premiere featuring all three ensembles created especially for this event by Northfield, MN-based composer Daniel Kallman.


2016-2017 Concert Season – A Season of Stories

Chapter One: Friendship

Chapter One: Friendship (November 6, 2016) – Trinity Lutheran Church, Stillwater, MN

This concert reunited three childhood friends – EMSO Music Director and Conductor Dr. Elizabeth Prielozny Barnes, special guest Chicago Symphony Orchestra cellist Gary Stucka,and violinist Robin Fossum. A wonderful concert featuring Tchaikovsky’s Variations on a Rococo Theme and a performance of Bizet’s Carmen Suites with narration to tell the story of the Spanish gypsy, Carmen.

Chapter Two: Holiday Dreams

Chapter Two: Holiday Dreams (December 18, 2016) – East Ridge High School, Woodbury, MN

The Nutcracker ballet has long been a staple of the holiday season. Traditionally told through the sumptuous music of Tchaikovsky and ballet, the fanciful tale is the story of a young girl whose favorite Christmas toy, a nutcracker, comes to life with their journey to a magical kingdom.  EMSO and Woodbury Dance Center once again presented this beloved classic with a new twist, not only presenting the story through classical ballet, but also with contemporary, tap, hip-hop, and other styles of dance throughout the performance.

Chapter Three: Romance

Chapter Three: Romance (February 11, 2017) – Lake Elmo Event Center, Lake Elmo, MN

Last season’s first Pops Cabaret and Silent Auction was so well received that EMSO is brought it back again this season, just in time for Valentine’s Day. Featuring the music from Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet, Bernstein’s West Side Story, and other popular classics.

Chapter Four: Generations

Chapter Four: Generations (February 27, 2017) – East Ridge High School, Woodbury, MN

EMSO’s ninth annual Side-by-Side performance where EMSO members play classics alongside the orchestra students of the East Ridge High School.

Chapter Five: Traditions

Chapter Five: Traditions (May 21, 2017) – Woodbury United Methodist Church, Woodbury, MN

In celebration of Finland’s 100th birthday, this “Origins Series” concert featured guest folk musician and poet Diane Jarvi and presented the folk and classical music of this wonderful Nordic country.


2015-2016 Concert Season

Home Cookin'

Home Cookin’ (November 8, 2015) – Woodbury United Methodist Church, Woodbury, MN

A concert highlighting the many musical talents and accomplishments of the avocational musicians of the EMSO family.

Soiree on a Winter's Night

Soirée on a Winter’s Night (January 16, 2016) – Lake Elmo Event Center, Lake Elmo, MN

An evening of music, food, and friends – featuring everything from The Beatles to the Sound of Music. Featuring a silent auction and desserts catered by the Lake Elmo Inn.

Eighth Annual Side-by-Side Concert (March 2, 2016) – East Ridge High School, Woodbury, MN
EMSO members sat side-by-side with high school orchestra students from School District 833 to perform a concert full of movie music.

The Soul of Russia

The Soul of Russia (May 15, 2016) – St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, North St. Paul, MN

A concert centered on classical Russian orchestra music and the folk songs, stories and artwork that inspired it. This program included guest artists, twin cities-based Dr. Denis Evstuhin (pianist) and the esteemed St. Mary’s Balalaika Orchestra.


2014-2015 Concert Season

Seventh Annual Side-by-Side Concert (October 14, 2014) – East Ridge High School, Woodbury, MN
EMSO members sat side-by-side with high school orchestra students from School District 833 to perform exciting Halloween inspired orchestral works.

Dancing with Sugarplums

Dancing with Sugarplums Holiday Concert (December 7, 2014) – Stillwater Senior High School, Stillwater, MN

A performance featuring musical selections from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker with ballet, tap, jazz and hip hop performances by the students of the Woodbury Dance Center.

Aisling Gheal (“Bright Vision”) (March 8, 2015) – East Ridge High School, Woodbury, MN

A collaboration with The Center for Irish Music (CIM) in St. Paul, this “Origins Series” concert included CIM students performing traditional Irish music on harp, bodhrán, flute, cello and fiddle. EMSO performed orchestral music based on these traditions, much of which were procured from the Contemporary Music Centre of Ireland. Togethert the groups performed the U.S. premiere of orchestrations of Irish traditional music originally prepared for the traditional Irish band Altan and the RTÉ Concert Orchestra in Dublin.

Scheherazade

Scheherazade (May 17, 2015) – St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, North St. Paul, MN

A program focused on the art of storytelling, featuring a performance of Rimsky-Korsakov’s epic Scheherazade, including narrated stories from One Thousand and One Nights upon which this four-movement musical work is based. Narration by Classical MPR host Valerie Kahler.


2013-2014 Concert Season

Concerto With Friends II

Concerto with Friends II (October 27, 2013) – Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church, Afton, MN

This concert featured music students and teachers from Woodbury’s own K&S Conservatory of Music as soloists. Repertoire included movements from Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto, Telemann’s Oboe Concerto, Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 1, Weber’s Concertino for Clarinet, Danzi’s Concertino for Clarinet and Bassoon, and Mozart’s “Deh vieni, non tardar” from The Marriage of Figaro.

Sleigh Ride

Sleigh Ride: A Christmas Spectacular (December 13, 14 and 15, 2013) – East Ridge High School, Woodbury, MN

A performance of holiday favorites with Woodbury Dance Center students and Merrill Arts Center‘s vocal stars.

Sixth Annual Side-by-Side Concert (February 26, 2014) – East Ridge High School, Woodbury, MN
EMSO members sat side-by-side with high school orchestra students from School District 833 for this concert.

Home Cookin'

Home Cookin’ Concert (March 9, 2014) – East Ridge High School, Woodbury, MN

Members of EMSO performed as soloists and in chamber ensembles. The concert included works by Leroy Anderson, Saint-Saens, Elgar, Mozart, Brahms, and original compositions and arrangements by EMSO members.

Song of Priase

Song of Praise (May 4, 2014) – Trinity Lutheran Church, Stillwater, MN

A joint concert with the Trinity Lutheran Church Choir performing Felix Mendelssohn’s rarely-heard Song of Praise (Lobgesang) and his iconic Violin Concerto in E minor, Op. 64, performed by Michal Sobieski.


2012-2013 Concert Season

Concertos with Friends

Concerto with Friends (October 28, 2012) – East Ridge High School, Woodbury, MN

EMSO performed a concert featuring guest soloist Kelly Karow, and special solo performances by EMSO Concertmaster Michal Sobieski on violin and EMSO artistic director and conductor Dr. Elizabeth Prielozny Barnes on piano. Included works by Mozart, Brahms, and Jean Françaix.

Visions of Sugarplums

Visions of Sugarplums (December 9, 2012) – Stillwater Junior High School, Stillwater, MN

A holiday celebration of music and dance with stories from The Nutcracker and a holiday music sing-along. Presented with Woodbury Dance Center.

Fifth Annual Side-by-Side Concert (February 2013) – East Ridge High School, Woodbury, MN
EMSO members sat side-by-side with high school orchestra students from School District 833 for this concert.

Sounds of Swing (March 3, 2013) – East Ridge High School, Woodbury, MN

This delightful, family-friendly concert included sets performed by Bend in the River Big Band (BRBB) of classic tunes from the big band era and a lush medley of some of Duke Ellington’s greatest hits for symphony orchestra.  The groups then joined forces for beautiful ballads featuring vocalist Linnea Marrin and a rollicking salute to the big bands of yesterday. 

An Orchestral Potpourri! (May 2013) – A special concert presented at Boutwells Landing Senior Living Center, Oak Park Heights, MN

Dancing Through Bulgaria

Dancing Through Bulgaria (June 2, 2013) – Tartan High School, Oakdale, MN

Dancing Through Bulgaria celebrates the unique traditions of Bulgarian classical and folk music and dance. The music performed included the U.S. premiere of the iconic symphonic work Thracian Dances, by pivotal Bulgarian composer Petko Stainov. It also featured Minnesota-based Bulgarian musicians Nikolay Gueorguiev (gadulka), Nickolai Kolarov (cellist), and Ethnic Dance Theatre.


2011-2012 Concert Season

Piano Extravaganza

Piano Concerto Extravaganza (October 23, 2011) – King of Kings Lutheran Church, Woodbury, MN

Featured performances from current and former students of master piano teacher Elena Piastro.

Festival of American Original Song

Festival of American Original Song (January 29, 2012) – East Ridge High School, Woodbury, MN

A celebratory concert of barbershop music and selections from the great American songbook. Featuring the award winning Twin Cities Show Chorus.

Fourth Annual Side-by-Side Concert (February 2012) – East Ridge High School, Woodbury, MN
EMSO members sat side-by-side with high school orchestra students from School District 833 for this concert.

A Meeting of Two Spirits

A Meeting of Two Spirits (March 11, 2012) – East Ridge High School, Woodbury, MN

This “Origins Series” concert explored the folk music and dance of world cultures and their intersection with western classical music. Included performances by Sumunar Indonesian Music and Dance.

Home Cookin'

Home Cookin’ (May 20, 2012) – Woodbury Lutheran Church, Woodbury, MN

Members of EMSO performed as soloists and in chamber ensembles. Featuring works by Vivaldi, Mozart, Danzi, Haydn, Beethoven, and Liebsch.


2010-2011 Concert Season

Hallowed Harvest

Hallowed Harvest (October 24, 2010) – East Ridge High School, Woodbury, MN

This fun Halloween-themed concert featured performances from Woodbury Dance Center and music by Saint-Saens, Offenbach, Grieg, and Moussorgsky.

Ahmal and the Night Visitors

Amahl and the Night Visitors (December 4, 5, 10 & 11, 2010) – East Ridge High School, Woodbury, MN

EMSO and Woodbury Community Theater presented a special holiday presentation of Menotti’s opera Amahl and the Night Visitors.

Strings Festival (February 2011) – East Ridge High School, Woodbury, MN
EMSO members sat side-by-side with middle and high school string students and faculty from School District 833 for this concert.

Brahms Requiem

Brahms Requiem (March 27, 2011) – King of Kings Lutheran Church, Woodbury, MN

A grand presentation of Brahms’ Requiem sung in English with the choirs of King of Kings Lutheran Church, New Life Church of Woodbury, and New Life Academy.

Germanic Folk Music

A Celebration of Germanic Folk Music (May 15, 2011) – Woodbury High School, Woodbury, MN

In collaboration with the Bavarian Musikmeisters, this concert featured the beautiful folk music and dance of Germany as well as classic pieces from Mozart, Schubert, and Schumann.


2009-2010 Concert Season

Dia De los Muertos

Music as Memorial: Prelude to Dia de los Muertos (October 25, 2009) – Neighborhood House at Wellstone Center, St. Paul, MN

Featuring La Noche de los Mayas by Silvestre Revuelta, this concert included guest speakers Gilbert de la O, Terri Thao, and Abdisalam Adam.

A Traditional Holiday Celebration (December 12 & 13, 2009) – East Ridge High School, Woodbury, MN

A spectacular “one-stop-performance” of favorite traditional holiday song, dance, and theater presented by EMSO, Woodbury Dance Center, and East Ridge High School Choir.

Strings Festival (February 2010) – East Ridge High School, Woodbury, MN
EMSO members sat side-by-side with middle school string students and faculty from School District 833 for this concert.

Musiikki, Tanssi ja Laulu (Music, Dance, and Song) (March 14, 2010) – East Ridge High School, Woodbury, MN

EMSO presented a concert of Finnish music featuring Finn Hall Band and Kisarit Finnish-American Dancers and the world premiere of three pieces by Randall Davidson.

Home Cookin’ (May 2010) – East Ridge High School, Woodbury, MN
Members of EMSO performed as soloists and in chamber ensembles. Featuring works by Haydn, Beethoven, and Mozart.