Conductor Directing

Kenneth Freed, Music Director

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Past Season Highlights

Over the years we have had many great performances with exciting guest performers. Here are the highlights:


John Dennis

Solo Violin

April 28, 1953

As the founder, first conductor, and violinist, Dennis played with his ensemble “Allegro aperto” form Violin Concerto No. 5 by Mozart and “Meditation” from Thais by Massenet. Claude Carlson was the conductor.


Mary Almjeld

Solo Piano

Almjeld played with the orchestra on four occasions. She gained recognition for her excellence at the Minneapolis Aquatennial contests in 1956 and 1958 when she won first place in the competition. Almjeld’s solos were: Concerto No. 3 for Piano and Orchestra by Beethoven on February 22, 1959: Triple Concerto for Violin, Cello and Piano by Beethoven on March 5, 1961; Piano Concerto No. 1 in B-flat minor by Tchaikovsky on February 18, 1962; and Concerto in A minor for Piano and Orchestra by Grieg on November 19, 1972.


David Evans

Solo Trumpet

Evans played in the United States Navy band on both coasts during his service. Under the direction of Rolf Scheurer they performed Concerto in C for TWo Trumpets, Strings and Cembalo by Vivaldi on February 23, 1964, and Concerto in G-Major for Mwo mandolins, Strings and Hermonium by Vivaldi on February 28, 1965.


Patricia Snapp

Mezzo Saprano

November 22, 1997

Receiving her doctorate from the University of Northern Colorado and widely concertized throughout the US, Great Britain, and Russia, Snapp sang selections from Carmen, by Bizet and love songs from Cole Porter by Warrington.


Jonathan Ramstad Coward


December 19, 1998

Mankato’s own eleven year-old performed Dr Seuss’s classic Green Eggs and Ham  by Geisel and Kapilow.

East Cherokee Seven


Fiddle Group

January 27, 1985

Members of the group performed old fiddle tunes Arkansas Traveler and Devil’s Dream.


Dorothy Benham


February 1, 1981

Minnesotan and Miss America 1977, Benham performed twelve well-known operatic selections.


Itzhak Perlman


January 22, 1972

Perlman won the praise of the critics and musicians as one of the most brilliant violinists of our time, at the age of 25. Born in Israel and diagnosed with polio at the age of four, didn’t stop Perlman from getting scholarships to attend Juilliard. Under the command of Hermann Herz, Perlman played Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in E minor, Opus 64 by Mendelssohn and the Concerto No. 1 for Violin and Orchestra in G minor, Opus 26 by Bruch.


Steve Heitzeg


October 11, 1992

Heitzeg is a Gustavus graduate who has become an Emmy Award-winning composer. Heitzeg advocates for the “peaceful coexistence of all species through music.” Heitzeg’s Mahkato Wakpa (Blue Earth River) was performed several times after the 1992 concert.