About Red Cedar Symphony
The Red Cedar Symphony was founded in the fall of 1983 for the purpose of presenting symphonic music experiences to the Rice Lake community. In its first season, the orchestra presented two public concerts under the direction of Sister Shirley Wagner. In 1984 the orchestra engaged the services of Warren Friesen as director and conductor. Under his direction, the orchestra grew numerically, artistically, and financially. It was during Friesen's tenure that the orchestra legally incorporated as a non-profit organization. Mr. Friesen is currently on staff at Gustavus-Adolphus College as orchestra director.
Successive conductors include:
Dr. David Scott
Edward G. Thompson
Guest conductors include:
Internationally-known conductor, composer, and musician Ivar Lunde will guest conduct the RCS spring concerts on March 30 and 31. Born in Norway and educated at the Conservatory of Music in Oslo and the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria, Lunde was principal oboist of the Norwegian National Opera and a soloist with many orchestras in Europe and the United States, including the Bergen Philharmonic and the Oslo Philharmonic. Arriving in the United States in 1966, Lunde joined the music faculty at the University of Maryland and performed regularly with the National Gallery of Art Orchestra. He joined the music faculty at UW-Eau Claire in 1968, and for some years played with the Red Cedar Symphony. Lunde has conducted symphony and chamber orchestras in both Europe and the U.S., including the Eau Claire Chamber Orchestra and Chippewa Valley Symphony, as well as being a co-founder of the Chippewa Youth Symphony. He is a prolific composer as well. His Symphony No. 1 received shared first prize in the Oslo Concert Hall Composition Contest, and his composition Ovation won the 1990 Fanfare contest of the Milwaukee Symphony in 1990. Retired from the university since 2003, Lunde continues to run Skyline Publications, which he founded in 1988 to publish art music.
During its first three years, the orchestra was graciously supported by the UW-Superior Chamber Orchestra, which helped the RCSO "get on its feet" by joining it for dress rehearsals and concerts. Subsequent to that, the orchestra has been able to recruit and retain local string musicians to fill sections, no longer needing help from UW-S musicians. The orchestra roster currently includes twenty or more area string players. These, together with the requisite wind and percussion players, make an impressive roster of about forty-five musicians. Musicians have come from:
La Crosse, Eau Claire, Chippewa Falls, Prairie Farm, Rice Lake, Cumberland, Shell Lake, Spooner, Hayward, Ladysmith, Cable, Danbury, and points in between.
Bethany Lutheran Church hosts the orchestra for rehearsals and performance space. The Red Cedar Chorus (formerly Community Choir) has joined with the orchestra for a combined program several times. The orchestra's concerts have included programs outside of Rice Lake in Spooner, Cumberland, Shell Lake, Siren, Ladysmith, Hayward and Chippewa Falls. The orchestra has twice featured Ronald McDonald at its children's concerts and was honored to be a part of the world premiere of One Nation, with Pipestone. This work for Symphony Orchestra, Native American Drum Group, and student string players was composed by Kevin McMullin, A concerto competition is held in the spring on even-numbered years, to promote talented local musicians and to give them the opportunity to perform as soloists with the orchestra. The Music Director, Executive Director and Personnel/Music Manager are the only paid part-time positions.