Member Spotlight: Joyce Laidlaw

Joyce Laidlaw

Joyce Laidlaw is a natural.  After 46 years with the 3M Symphony Orchestra and East Metro Symphony Orchestra, Joyce knows what it takes to be a part of a musical team. She’s had a lot of great experiences to work from.  “I primarily play clarinet and have been playing since fourth grade.  I also play some saxophone.  I took five years of piano, too – I used to be good, back then!”

Joyce was introduced to the orchestra by former 3M Symphony Orchestra conductor Julius Whitinger (1970-1974).  “He was my college band director at Bethel. Bethel did not really have an orchestra at the time, so some students joined 3M’s orchestra to play.”

Her fondest memories of those 3M years are the trips the orchestra took in the 1970s and 1980s. “We would tour in cities with 3M plants like Breckinridge, MN; Menomonie, WI; and Prairie du Chein, WI. They usually included a bus ride and great meals!”  More recently, Joyce has enjoyed being a part of EMSO’s performance of Scheherazade (2015) and the Pops Cabaret concerts. “It was so much fun to play my solo for Carnival of Venice with the EMSO Woodwind Quintet at the Mardi Gras! Pops concert this season.”

In fact, one of the best parts of being with the orchestra for Joyce has been the many opportunities to be a part of those wonderful woodwind small ensembles.  “I really have enjoyed my summers with our Quintessential Woodwind Quintet performing at senior homes and churches.  The quintet has included me on clarinet, Megan Gangl on flute, Leanne Ekstadt on oboe, Mariellen Jacobson on horn, and Jan Lange on bassoon.  Mariellen and Jan no longer play with EMSO, but they were also recruits from Bethel under Julius Whitinger.  The three of us stayed the longest with the orchestra.  Jan and I also played together in the 451st Army Reserve Band for 34 years.  I look forward to many more years of playing and performing together.”