Aloha ‘Oe, Minnesota: Minnetonka Music Students Escape To Hawaii

Meiling Mathur, Copy Editor

The end of this month is an exciting time for the students in Minnetonka’s music department. In addition to performing several concerts this month, Wind Ensemble, Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra, Concert Orchestra, Treble Choir and Concert Choir will travel to Los Angeles, California and Honolulu, Hawaii over spring break. From performing at Pearl Harbor to riding on a cruise ship, the students on this tour are looking forward to participating in a plethora of fun and educational activities.    

Sarah Finn-Sommerfeld, the director of the Symphony, Chamber and Concert Orchestras, is looking forward to many parts of the trip.

“For me, I think the biggest highlight is our performance at Pearl Harbor,” she said. “I think it will be a really meaningful performance for us. I think it will be an opportunity for us to get out and actually see living history around us, and then go there and become a part of it, so I’m really excited about that opportunity.”

Aside from performing at Pearl Harbor, Finn-Sommerfeld is excited to see the Los Angeles (LA) Philharmonic perform Gustav Mahler’s seventh symphony. The LA Philharmonic is one of the best symphony orchestras in the world; the venue that they perform in, the Disney Concert Hall, is considered one of the most acoustically perfect buildings in the world.

Finn-Sommerfeld is also looking forward to Hawaii’s warm weather, an interactive luau on the Nutridge Estate, hiking Diamond Head  and spending a day at Paradise Island just off the rainforest coast of Honolulu. 

“We have to take a ferry over to [the island], so it’ll be just us hanging out in Hawaii at the beach,” she said. “I think it will be a really magical day.”

To minimize exposure to COVID, Minnetonka’s music department 

has several protocols in place. All tour participants are required to be vaccinated prior to going on the trip, as most of the public facilities in LA and Honolulu require proof of vaccination. Additionally, masks are required on all forms of public transportation. Should a student test positive for COVID, they will be set up with their own hotel room and placed into quarantine. 

“I think playing at Pearl Harbor has to be the coolest thing,” said Ken Smith, ‘24, a violinist in Symphony Orchestra. “Getting to listen to the LA Philharmonic is also pretty cool. I’ve never heard them play before, other than on YouTube, so that should be awesome.”

   Mackenzie Eresov, ‘23, another violinist in Symphony Orchestra, is also looking forward to the LA Philharmonic’s concert.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen a professional orchestra play before, so that’s the big [highlight], I think,” she said. 

When asked what else she’s looking forward to, Eresov replied, “Probably being with people my age. I’ve been [to Hawaii] with my family, but this will be a lot more fun. I just think it’ll be a cool experience mostly.” She then added, “[Performing] in interesting places and not just at school [is] more interesting.”

For Finn-Sommerfeld, this trip is significant because of the ensembles involved.

   “I’m excited for this tour because we’ve never done one with band and orchestra and choir in my time here at Minnetonka,” Finn-Sommerfeld said. “This is a really exciting opportunity to bring our three groups together, and it will help make our department stronger, so I’m really excited about that.”

“It’s going to be a great trip,” she concluded.