by Steven Wright
Since he was old enough to walk, Michael Zellgert has lived and breathed music and the fine arts.
An accomplished violinist, Zellgert’s talents started to take root at the age of 6 while playing around on his dad’s violin.
Now, after appearing as a soloist with several community and university orchestras throughout the Midwest, as well as conducting with the St. Cloud Symphony Orchestra, Zellgert’s passions have taken on a new form.
In July 2013, the Central Minnesota Youth Orchestra was born.
Zellgert and area musicians noticed the lack of opportunities for students interested in playing orchestra music, many of whom don’t have access to such programs.
“It’s easy for the arts to be segregated into certain pockets,” Zellgert said.
One of the orchestra’s main goals is to bring the arts together and make them more enjoyable and attainable for everyone involved. The Central Minnesota Youth Orchestra also helps students find venues in which to perform and be heard.
“If you don’t have a program, this gives you an opportunity to play in an ensemble,” Zellgert added.
The Youth Orchestra brings students from Sartell, St. Joseph, Sauk Rapids, St. Cloud and surrounding areas together to form this unique orchestral experience. The program gives grade-school- to high school-aged students the opportunity to learn and grow with proper concert etiquette in a fun and inviting environment.
St. Cloud State University, the College of St. Benedict and St. John’s University play host for rehearsals. The orchestra’s first concert of 2015 is scheduled for April 25 at SCSU.
Central Minnesota Youth Orchestra collaborates with private instructors, directors and professors to continually provide the best instruction and talent. This spring, Zellgert said the orchestra is thrilled to announce Coca Bochonko as a guest musician. Bochonko has performed with the Minnesota Orchestra and Minnesota Opera and is the principle violist for the St. Cloud Symphony Orchestra.
Tryouts are now open for the spring semester with the Central Minnesota Youth Orchestra. The first rehearsal is scheduled for Feb. 7.
Brochures and more information can be found on its website at cmyo.org or by calling 320-227-6847.