What does a retail store manager, dog agility photographer, surgeon, ski instructor, flight instructor, farmer, biologist, geologist, barista, attorney, chaplain, several college students and a World War II veteran who played in General MacArthur’s band have in common?
They are all members of the Mesabi Symphony Orchestra, which will present Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Requiem this weekend in Virginia and Eveleth.
The orchestra will be joined by the Range of Voices choral group and four visiting soloists.
Performances are set for 7 p.m. Friday at Eveleth’s United in Christ Lutheran Church, and 2:30 p.m. Sunday at Virginia’s Gethsemane Lutheran Church. Tickets are available at the door or online at: www.mesabisymphonyorchestra.org.
The musicians will also perform a lesser-known masterpiece, Johannes Brahms’s Tragic Overture, which was written as a counterpart to the Academic Overture, and Franz Schubert’s Unfinished Symphony.
The featured vocalists are:
• Sara Skelton, a soprano and Duluth native who has sung with the Minnesota Opera and Opera St. Paul. She now lives near Ely and teaches humanities theater and music courses at Vermilion Community College. Last spring, she sang with the MSO during its “North of Broadway” concerts, and she is a frequent guest at the Northern Lights Music Festival.
• Mezzo Katheryn Hamm, of Duluth, who frequently performs recitals and in regional oratorios.
• Dr. Erin Bremner, a tenor and 15-year optometrist in Ely. He took time off from his studies in England at the University of Birmingham to sing the role of Judas in “Jesus Christ Superstar,” and also performed with “North of Broadway.”
• Elias Mokole, who, according to Opera News and the Washington Post: “possesses a powerful, rich, warm baritone.” He has performed more 800 times on five continents, including as Sharpless in Madame Butterfly and the High Priest of Dagon in Samson et Delila. He accompanied the MSO during its 2012 performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.
The concerts are sponsored by the Minnesota Power Foundation, Great River Energy, and the Cliffs Foundation. The MSO 2019-2020 concert season is funded, in part, by the Eveleth Area Community Foundation Fund, an affiliate of the Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation Fund.
The orchestra is also supported by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Arrowhead Regional Arts Council, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.
MSO, founded in 1978, celebrated its 40th anniversary last year and provides area musicians with the opportunity to perform and keep orchestral music alive on the Iron Range.
While many members are music teachers and active or retired band or choir directors, they are not professional musicians.
And in case your were wondering, the bunch also includes a rock climber, librarian, graphic artist, state legislator, data miners, and a nonprofit executive.