Itasca Orchestral Society's Youth Strings Ensembles concert is scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 7 at 7 p.m. at the Myles Reif Performing Arts Center. There is no charge for the concert and the audience is invited to a reception for the students following the concert. The program includes holiday pieces classics by each of the three ensembles. All three ensembles, beginning, intermediate and advanced, are directed by IOS strings instructor Brian Hill.
Hill, director of strings instruction for the Itasca Orchestral Society, began studying violin at age 6 with the IOS, and played with the Itasca Symphony Orchestra through his high school years. He is currently concertmaster of the Bemidji Symphony Orchestra, and is completing his bachelor of arts degree at Bemidji State University.
The program includes: the Beginner Ensemble with "Jolly Old St. Nicholas", "Jingle Bells", "Hot Cross Buns" and "Old MacDonald"; the Intermediate Ensemble with "Up on the Housetop", "Polly Wolly Doodle", "Song of the Wind", "May Song" and "Allegro"; and the Advanced Ensemble with "Chorus of the Huntsman", "First Suite", "Suite for Strings", "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" and "Frosty the Snowman". The collected ensembles will play "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star".
IOS student musicians represent the following area schools: Cohasset Elementary, Connor-Jasper Middle School, Deer River High School, Forest Lake Elementary, Grace Bible, Grand Rapids High School, Grand Rapids Middle School, Hibbing High School, Hill City Elementary, homeschools, Marble Elementary, Murphy Elementary, Riverview Elementary, St. Joseph Elementary, Southwest Elementary, and Vandyke Elementary.
The Itasca Orchestral Society (IOS) offers weekly lessons during the school day and youth orchestras after school for children grades 2 to 12. Lessons are offered in violin, viola, cello and bass.
There are currently 70 students playing strings with IOS. Adults also take weekly lessons, with a twice-monthly informal evening get-together for ensemble playing. Renee Merten, IOS cello instructor, studied cello during high school and college. She is a telecommuting computer programmer, working from her Grand Rapids home, in addition to instructing the IOS cello students.
The Itasca Orchestral Society also sponsors a community orchestra which presents three concerts each year. Spring 2001 concerts are scheduled at Reif Center on Sunday, March 4, at 4 p.m. and April 21 at 7:30 p.m.
For information on strings instruction, about playing with the Itasca Symphony Orchestra, or to volunteer to help sort music and other preparations for concerts, call the IOS office at 327-1651.
The Itasca Orchestral Society is a non-profit organization, founded in 1981. It is supported by its membership, local businesses, schools and other local organizations, and the Blandin Foundation.