Thursday evening we attended a (free!) concert of the Artaria String Quartet, a nationally acclaimed group that does teaching/coaching of adults and youth in addition to performing. As reported in the Winona Daily New:   “The quartet partnered with Strings in Motion, the Winona Public Schools’ orchestra booster club, to conduct sessions with the students in October, January and March.”

Our concert featured Winona High School students grouped in two string quartets and one Cello Choir. The latter half of the concert presented two movements of a Dvorak quartet played by WHS Faculty, and ended with the last two movements of that piece played by Artaria. We were spellbound by the end of the concert.

Artaria’s mission statement: “Artaria centers on string quartet performance and education. It is committed to presenting inspiring live performances, to mentoring string players of all ages, and to illuminating the world’s great repertoire of chamber music to a broad audience.” Also from Artaria’s website:  “The ASQ is one-third of the way through an “Arts Learning” grant sponsored by the Minnesota State Arts Board. Free public concerts and educational events are taking place in Winona, Caledonia, Rushford, and Lanesboro throughout the season.”

Artaria is based in St. Paul, and their 2016-17 Concert Series shows a lot of activity in the Twin Cities. We feel lucky to live in a state whose State Arts Board has made concerts like this possible.

When do you remember attending a FREE concert or other event?

34 thoughts on “Artaria!”

      1. What a fun Baboon excursion it eould be. We have stayed in the Old Port area several times. There are grain silos there, too, that are really ugly but are considered architecturally important so they csn’t be torn down. We should go with The Guy in the Hat. His great uncle was canonized and lived in Montreal.

        Liked by 3 people

    1. That reminds me. When we were in Quebec City, a tour guide tipped us off to the free multimedia show projected on a bank of grain silos on the river. We were able to secure an elevated vantage point for the show not unlike the view of this video:

      Liked by 4 people

      1. That must have been glorious. It reminds me of some of the offerings at the Northern Spark festival in Minneapolis (June 10th this year, I think). They did some projections on silos but none as glorious as that.

        I remember an event that was part of the festival a few years ago. The Minnesota Orchestra had just finished a concert and opened the hall to anyone at 10:15. They played a composition that was coordinated with a graphics projection. It had such a visceral effect – just marvelous.

        Liked by 3 people

  1. Great, BiR, so glad you’re taking full advantage of the cultural and other offerings in your new hometown. And, you’re so right about all the free offerings made possible by the State Arts Board.

    Let me be the first to shout ROCK BEND FOLK FESTIVAL! Such a wonderful gift to the community in so many ways, and one our baboon friend Krista has helped organize for a long time. Rock Bend Rocks!

    During the summer months there are so many free events to choose from all over the state. Everything from concerts, to plays, and dances. St. Paul’s Music in the Parks series offers concerts in Mears Park, Rice Park, and Como Park. Everything from folk, jazz, blues, Cajun and classical performances, all for the price of showing up. What a great deal.

    Ten Thousand Things offers free performances of all of their plays in places like community centers, schools, nursing homes, and other places. Ten Thousand Things is such an innovative and popular group, you really have to be on your toes to get a couple of free tickets, but it’s well worth the effort.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The last free concert I remember would have been in the early 1960s when I was a college student in Grinnell, Iowa. Students weren’t allowed to have cars on campus, so the only entertainment available to us was whatever the college could import. That probably sound limiting, and I’m sure modern students don’t live with such restraints, but there has never been a comparable time in my life when I could enjoy so many free concerts, art shows, lectures, theatrical productions or classic films. Everything was free and accessible. All I had to do was to show up with an open mind and sample events unlike anything I’d known. I loved it. A kid who had grown up with nothing but commercial radio, 1950s TV, and a few good films was turned loose in an exotic garden of novel delights. It was an intoxicating chapter of my life.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. College administrators faced a serious challenge. The college had a significant population of students who had grown up in cities that were rich in entertainment. Grinnell, the town, offered zero entertainment opportunities. Students often described themselves as being prisoners stuck in a sea of cornfields. The college had to give students fun and interesting things to do . . . or suffer the consequences when young people got bored. The two obvious recreation opportunities–sex and booze–were threatening to college administrators.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. I’m bothered by the emphasis on free (free!) FREE as if it were the salient point here. In the first place, as I’m sure Krista could tell you, events like Rock Bend aren’t free. Somebody pays. And that’s important to keep in mind when you are talking about arts grant-supported programs. We pay for them, albeit indirectly, through our taxes and there are those who resent that. There are those who would limit cultural experience to the families with the means to afford it. There are those who prize privilege over community.
    Public television has instituted an exclusive level of programming called, I think, Passport. It restricts access to some of its programming to contributors. I’m sure this is intended as a prod to encourage membership but it also, it seems to me, flies in the face of public television’s mission. Public television, to my way of thinking, exists to provide universal access to quality programming. The introduction of levels of status and exclusivity is an affront to that. As a contributor, I could avail myself of the private club but I refuse to do so on principle and as long as the hierarchy persists i don’t think I would consider increasing my contribution.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You’re right, of course, Bill, that these concerts are paid for by somebody. And in most cases the venue will ask, as this one did, for a Free Will Donation.. I am still glad they exist for people who would not otherwise be able to have the experience.


    2. There are probably as many, if not more, free offerings that I don’t take advantage of as there are organizations that I support both financially, by attending their offerings, and/or by volunteering. I have always been a great believer in donating time and talent to organizations whose work I value. I don’t see attending a free event as a substitute for contributing in other ways. As a long-time sustaining member of both MPR and tpt, I long ago quit accepting the membership premiums offered during the fund drives, but I have attended some of the “members only” events that they arrange from time to time, and I don’t feel conflicted about it. I’m curious about your perception, Bill, that by providing some incentives for those who can financially afford it to up their support they are are negating their commitment to access to quality programming. The more funds they can raise, it seems to me, the better quality programming they can offer. I don’t particularly need or want those incentives, so I pass on them, but if they actually increase the funds they raise, I have no objection to them.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I wasn’t referring to the premiums offered with a membership committment. I was talking about multiple levels of programming, where some programs are inaccessible except to subscribers. It’s the private club aspect I object to.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Guess I haven’t been paying attention, and probably don’t watch enough TV, but I’m unaware that there are public television programs that I may not have access to. What am I missing, I wonder?

          Liked by 1 person

        2. Sesame Street is on HBO – I was at first unsure about the arrangement, but have come to see it as a way to continue its availability. HBO is paying for production and gets first rights to new episodes. Those episodes are available after a delay on PBS for everyone. So it is a tiered availability, but at least it keeps new episodes coming to PBS, even if “those who can pay for it” get them first (I hardly think the pre-school set is showing up at day care and talking about Elmo’s latest exploits as breathlessly as adults talk about what happened on last night’s episode of Orange is the New Black or Game of Thrones…or whatever is actually popular these days).

          Liked by 1 person

  4. Been a few years. But an organ recital on Saturday morning in Balboa Park, which has a grand pipe organ in their ban shell. Paid for by a grant and by whichever college the principal organist came from. Not sure if still held. No offering requested.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Must mention Two Harbors City Band concerts on Wednesday night in the park. Classic sort of band music. Pretty decent. Paid for by the city through taxes. Problem is the band shell is close to condemned and they are having trouble funding a a new one.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Summer concerts at the Lake Harriet Bandshell are always fun. The Gilbert and Sullivan Very Light Opera usually does a show there in the summer – it is a grand place to watch a bit of silliness while you nibble on a picnic dinner or an ice cream cone.

    Liked by 5 people

      1. The very first PHC show was in a theater, I think. But very early in the history of the program they had at least one free concert on the Macalester college campus. I think I also remember an early PHC concert on the grass by the Walker Museum. Debbie Duncan performed at that one.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Hi–

    Mayo Clinic has the ‘Harmony for Mayo’ series of one hour concerts every Monday at noon. I haven’t been to one for a few years (gosh, I hope they’re still going on) I’ve seen Peter Ostroushko, Dean Magraw, Marcia Ball, and a host of others.

    Rochester also has ‘Down by the Riverside’ series of outdoor summer concerts. Sunday nights during the summer for 5 or 6 weeks. Some medium well known performers with the final concert usually someone big. Like George Thorogood…

    Liked by 3 people

  8. My nephew Sam Rudy, is a member of the Lux String Quartet. They’ve been performing around the Twin Cities for several years and often give free concerts but put out a tip jar for appreciative listeners. They regularly perform at unusual venues such as coffee shops to reach a broader audience. Here’s the website link if anyone is interested.

    We even helped them get a free gig at the Owatonna Arts Center last spring, and the artistic director said the LSQ really packed ’em in and gave an exceptional performance.

    Chris in Owatonna


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