It was the first time in many years that the Huron Symphony Orchestra wasn’t on hand to provide a patriotic soundtrack to the festivities. Although the absence of the orchestra didn’t bring the celebration to a halt, it was noticed by many in attendance and has sparked questions about the future of the Symphony. According to one Symphony member Andrea Friedrichsen, membership numbers have fallen off to the point that public performances are becoming more challenging to stage.
“It ( performing at the parade) almost didn’t happen last year but we did pull it together. We were able to perform at Thursday Nights in Campbell Park and the Fourth of July parade. This year, we couldn’t find anyone to direct.”
Andrea Friedrichsen, who has played bass in the Huron Symphony Orchestra since she was in eighth grade, says the problem is a familiar one: older members become less active and it is difficult to attract new members.
“We need more high school students and people who haven’t played in years but are interested in getting involved with music again. I think there are a lot of younger musicians out there who would join if we performed more music that they were interested in playing.”
In addition to the parade and Campbell Park appearances, the Orchestra also performs concerts throughout the year. Friedrichsen says the Symphony exposes Huron to different cultures and styles of music. The popularity of classical music has waned over the last several decades, which also means the public has fewer opportunities to hear music that was once as popular as today’s Top Forty hits. Friedrichsen believes, the Symphony can also serve as a bridge to Huron’s Hispanic and Asian community by introducing music that appeals to these groups into their public performances.
The Huron Symphony Orchestra is a source of pride for members , and residents, for several reasons, including the fact that Huron is the only community in South Dakota to have a symphony orchestra that isn’t associated with a college, a rarity for smaller communities. Last year, the Symphony celebrated its fifty-fifth year. Friedrichsen, and other members, are unwilling to let those traditions die.
“At our last board meeting there was some talk about not having a season. I want it to continue. We need all the local musicians, from Huron and the surrounding communities, to dust off their instruments, start practicing and join us. We need to keep the Symphony going.”
For more information about joining the Huron Symphony Orchestra or rehearsal times contact Andrea at 350-5563 or firstname.lastname@example.org.