Main Street Orchestra to play concert today

DULUTH -- At the local violin shop, Dixie Huthmaker kept encountering adult amateurs who loved to play but didn't have a group to join.

About five years ago, she formed Main Street Symphony to give them that chance.

"This was my dream," Huthmaker said. "For many people, playing in an orchestra is an incredible experience, and that is what I wanted for all these people."

Dana Lowe, Mill Creek High School's orchestra teacher who serves as the symphony's conductor, thought mixing beginning and top-level students would never work before she saw the community group come together.

"It is magical," Lowe said.

With a core group of about 25 string musicians, Lowe said people who have just taken up their instruments adapt to play alongside the more experienced players.

"They end up having a great time producing good music together," she said. "Everyone seems really happy."

The musicians range from Lowe's former students in their early 20s to people in their 60s, and the abilities are just as diverse.

Yet, the people have bonded to become not only a quality orchestra but good friends, she said. "We just look forward to every Sunday," when rehearsals are held.

The group will perform a concert Sunday that is just as varied.

The repertoire ranges from a difficult overture by Mikhail Glinka to a beautiful composition by a young composer Beth Bultman. And in the end, the group plans to get the crowd in the Christmas spirit with the songs "Silver Bells" and "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year."

Scheduled for 3 p.m., the free concert will be held in the Street Smarts building at 3160 Main St. in Duluth. Afterward, the concert-goers are invited to join the musicians at Chocolate Perks next door.

Staff writer Deanna Allen contributed to this report.