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The Northwestern College Orchestra is a symphony orchestra consisting of both music majors and non-music majors. Featuring regular concert performances throughout the Twin Cities, the Orchestra has a vast background in orchestral repertoire ranging from baroque to contemporary as well as jazz and film music. The Northwestern College Orchestra premiered the orchestration of Libby Larson’s Cowboy Songs, NWC faculty member Barbara J. Roger’s Sacred Americana Suite for their 2007 European Tour, and gave the 2008 world premiere performance of the opera Ruth, with music by Barbara J. Rogers and libretto by Pamela S. Wynn. In February of 2009 the Northwestern College Orchestra was invited to perform at the MMEA Midwinter In-Service Clinic (MMEA Convention) as a featured performing ensemble.
The Orchestra performs a wide variety of concerts each year both on campus and off. Annual traditions include playing at Showcase as part of Homecoming activities, Christmas at Northwestern, and accompanying the winners of the Concerto-Aria competition. Some members of the Orchestra also perform in pit ensembles for the theatre department in various productions and musicals.
The Orchestra, however, is not limited to just art music. The Northwestern College Orchestra frequently performs in churches and other Christian-based ministries. The Orchestra regularly performs at Crossview Covenant Church in Mankato, Minn.. The Orchestra also leads praise chapels on campus once a semester, in a joint effort with various student-led praise bands. More recently, the Orchestra made a recording and video of a Mercy Me song for Christmas services at Eaglebrook Church in Lino Lakes, Minn. Another part of the Orchestra’s outreach ministry is to play for nursing homes. The Northwestern College Orchestra uses the many God-given talents to spread His word, and bring joy to the elderly.
Like the other major ensembles at Northwestern, the Orchestra tours annually with foreign overseas tours occurring every four years. In 2007 the Orchestra toured Italy and Austria. While in Italy the Orchestra was one of the featured performing ensembles at the XVII International Music Meeting in Padua. The Orchestra also performed throughout the Vienna area of Austria with concerts at Votivkirche, Haydn Hall at Esterhazy Palace, and Orangerie at Schonbrunn Palace.