Member Spotlight: Deb Benson

Deb Benson

Deb Benson is proud to be bringing music to her community. She originally performed with the 3M Symphony Orchestra when she was in high school, and then rejoined the orchestra about 15 years ago.  “My dad, who retired from 3M, had told me that the orchestra was looking for members at that time, and I was ready to begin playing again once my kids were grown. Despite many years of gathering dust – both my brain and my instrument – I was surprised how easy it was to pick up again.”

Deb is a Senior Human Resources Representative for Waterous in South St. Paul.  She has been playing violin since she was in fourth grade, and says the East Metro Symphony Orchestra has been a great opportunity to be a part of a musical community organization.  “EMSO offers musicians an opportunity to continue to play and develop their talents at any level.  At the same time, members are given the opportunity to use their unique talents to play an important volunteer role in maintaining the organization, without taking away from work and family. I volunteered to take over the role of librarian for EMSO as a way to support the orchestra that worked with my schedule and skill set.  We are fortunate to have such a large library of music.  My husband, Arne, supports the orchestra as well, and has a standing role as usher for our concerts.”

Some of Deb’s favorite moments with the orchestra include the recent Pops Cabaret concerts, as well as the social gatherings the orchestra has hosted throughout the years. “Musically, I think our Pops concerts have been the most fun.  I also have enjoyed the potlucks. They are a chance to chat with each other and learn about each other’s lives outside of orchestra.”  She says the opportunity to hear individuals perform solos has also been a highlight. “I enjoy the Concertos where we get to highlight our amazing instrumentalists, such as during the Home Cookin’ concerts.  We have had gifted concertmasters and principal section leaders do solo throughout the years.”

After ten years of being a part of EMSO’s evolution into a successful non-profit, independent community orchestra, Deb says it’s been a great opportunity for growth. “Since we became EMSO and separated from 3M, our orchestra membership has grown and become more visible to musicians outside of the 3M umbrella.  It has also highlighted the amazing organizational skills of many of our members, who have enabled EMSO to secure grant funding and coordinated the tough decision-making processes in managing a non-profit. I hope EMSO continues to thrive and keep orchestral music alive in the community.”