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Five area pianists to perform at State Honors Concert

Five students from the studios of local piano teachers Ruth Aaseng, Marcia Benson, Annette Helder and Wendy Lindlief will perform in 31 ensembles in the State Honors Concert at the Minneapolis Convention Center Auditorium on Saturday, May 19.

The concert is held each year as the culmination of the state piano contests, sponsored by the Minnesota Music Teachers Association. This year marks the 77th consecutive year of this celebration of music and achievement.

Seven hundred young pianists earned the privilege to perform in the concert by winning at preliminary and final contest rounds, playing selections for their age group taken from the contest list.

The musicians represent the top 5 to 7 percent of pianists in the state of Minnesota.

More than 3,500 students across the state participate in the preliminary contest held each year in January or February. The winners of that contest further prepare and perfect their performances for the final contest held in mid-March.

The results of the final contest are mailed to each teacher, along with ensemble assignments for each winner. Then the hard work begins; three ensemble rehearsals are held at Schmitt Music in Brooklyn Center. Each ensemble uses 20 grand pianos with half of the students assigned the Primo, and half the Secondo parts of the ensembles.

The conductor rehearses the ensembles for about 20 minutes of concentrated work each rehearsal date. A dress rehearsal is held all through the day of the concert, and then the concert takes place at 7 p.m.

Local students participating this year include:

Serena Stoeck, Senior A, daughter of Linda Skoglund and Donald Stoeck of Alexandria and student of Ruth Aaseng.

Isabelle Hartokolis, Intermediate A, daughter of Beth and Tim Hartokolis of Alexandria and student of Marcia Benson.

Jordyn Anderson, Senior A, daughter of Jon and Patty Anderson of Evansville and student of Annette Helder.

Bethany Hellem, Intermediate B, daughter of Scott and Julie Hellem of Brandon and student of Annette Helder.

Gabi Ross, Junior B, daughter of Kevin and Sara Ross of Wadena and student of Wendy Lindlief.