Conductor Directing

Kenneth Freed, Music Director

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Free Youth Concerts

MSO Presents "The Orchestra Rocks," Carnegie Hall's Link Up Program 

Each spring, the Mankato Symphony presents free concerts to 3rd-6th grade public and private school students from Mankato and the surrounding nine-county region. These hour-long concerts present an exciting mix of music and education to about 3,000 students annually. Our 2018 Youth Concerts will take place on Friday, May 18 at Mankato East High School. 

  Link Up - The Orchestra Rocks



About Link Up




Watch the 2014 Youth Concert Trailer


Watch the full 2014 Youth Concert

About our Youth Concerts

The Mankato Symphony Orchestra is pleased to invite the 3rd-6th grade students from your school to the annual free Youth Concerts on May 18. This year's Youth Concerts are entitled The Orchestra Rocks, and are a part of Link Up, a national program of Carnegie Hall's Weill Music Institute. The concerts will be held at 9:00 a.m., 10:45 a.m., and 1:00 p.m. in the Mankato East High School Auditorium on Friday, May 18. The program lasts approximately 50 minutes. There is no cost to attend.  

In The Orchestra Rocks concerts, students will be playing and singing alongside the Mankato Symphony Orchestra in works such as:

orchestra rocks concert photo


  • Thomas Cabaniss's "Come to Play"
  • Carl Orff's "O Fortuna" from Carmina Burana
  • Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring
  • Holst's "Mars" from The Planets
  • Tchaikovsky's Symphony No.4, fourth movement 

Link Up is a music education program created by Carnegie Hall to unite the classroom with the concert hall, giving students the opportunity to explore music through a curriculum of classroom activities and a culminating concert in which students perform with a professional orchestra. Link Up is Carnegie Hall's longest-running and most popular school-based education program, and this season it will serve approximately 380,000 students and teachers all over the United States and around the world. Utilizing materials provided by the Weill Music Institute, teachers guide students in exploring music through a composer's lens, with students participating in active music making in the classroom; performing repertoire on recorder, violin, voice, or body percussion; and taking part in creative work such as composing their own pieces inspired by the orchestral music they have studied. Read more

Register Your School 

Registrations will be taken on a first come first served basis and the Youth Concerts fill up quickly. Youth Concerts are open to any students enrolled in public, private, charter, parochial, online, or home schools. Contact the Mankato Symphony Orchestra at or call 507-625-8880 with questions or for assistance.

Youth Concerts

Resources for Teachers and Students


The Free Youth Concerts are meant to inspire young students about what it means to be a musician in any genre they choose to express their musical creativity. These youth concerts are meant to elicit critical thinking from students as well as give them the opportunity to make their own meaning from the music. Following the concert, encourage students to process through and review their concert experience by facilitating reflection and discussion. You may find these questions helpful as a starting point:

  • What did you notice, hear, and see?

  • How did the music make you feel?

  • What did it remind you of?

  • What do you think the performers were trying to say with their music? Was there meaning behind the music?

  • What questions do you have after attending the performance?

  • What are you taking away from the concert? What did you learn? What did it mean to you?

Ask students to describe without judgement and remind them that there are no wrong answers as they describe what they've experienced. Even as adults, we are all students to music, and every concert we attend or every musical piece that we listen to is a brand new opportunity to learn something new about what we understand in the world of music.


This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support Grant thanks to a legislative appropriation from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund

The Youth Concerts are made possible by KSMU radio, Target and Xcel Energy.
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