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Area music students qualify for state honors concert

Kristi Knutson, Winston Anderson and Sophia Anderson (left to right) were finalists in the Alexandria Area Music teachers' Association local contest. (Contributed photo)

Lauren Landowski, Bethany Hellem and Camilla Bjorklund, Douglas County music students, will perform at the Minnesota Music Teachers Association (MMTA) State Honors Concert on Saturday, May 18 at 7 p.m. at the Minneapolis Convention Center. The gala event involves 700 young performers on 20 grand pianos.

Landowski, Junior B, and Hellem, Senior A, both students of Annette Helder, advanced to the MMTA Winners Recital after earning top scores at the State Piano Contest in March. More than 5,000 students enter the state piano contest annually.

Landowski is the daughter of Lisa and Devin Behrens and Kurt Landowski. Hellem is the daughter of Scott and Julie Hellem.

Bjorkland, a student of Ann DuHamel at the University of Minnesota, Morris, placed second at the State Collegiate Young Artist Contest in March before advancing to the MMTA Winners Recital. The young artist contest is for organ, piano, strings, woodwind and vocal performers.

Bjorkland is the daughter of Naomi and Tory Bjorklund.

The Alexandria Area Music Teachers' Association (AAMTA) hosted its eighth annual local contest in February. Finalists included Winston Anderson, Sophia Anderson and Kristi Knutson, students of Marcia Benson; Gabriella Staples, Eleanor Koranda and Sam Carlson, students of Charis Bjorklund.

The students each learned and performed two level-appropriate pieces by memory for a contest judge in Alexandria. After earning a score of 96 or higher, they were given the opportunity to perform at the state-wide contest.

Local AAMTA members include Ruth Aaseng, Diane Alveshere, Michelle Anderson, Charis Bjorklund, Marcia Benson, Ann DuHamel, Karen Erickson, Mercedes Hagen, Annette Helder and Kristi Wussow.

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