Past Events

Past Events 2022-05-31T14:48:26-05:00

Past Events

Celebrating 30 years with conductor Keith Swanson!

May 21st , 7 PM | Wilcox 
Reif Arts Center

The concert will be a celebration and a showcase of Keith Swanson’s career. Swanson will be retiring after 30 years conducting the Itasca Symphony Orchestra. For his final concert he chosen pieces are particularly beloved to him and reflective of the best performances of our community orchestra. The concert will present soloists Bill Bastian and Alexander Sandor who have a long history of performing with Keith, in addition to cellist Magdalena Sas.

This concert program includes audience favorites and highlights of the past 30 years, both as reminiscence and nostalgia as well as hope for the future. The concert will feature:

Les Préludes by Franz Liszt

O Sole Mio by Eduardo di Capua with soloist tenor Bill Bastian

“La Fleur” (The Flower Song) by Georges Bizet with Bill Bastian

Piano Concerto #9 (movement III) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart with piano soloist Alexander Sandor

Light Cavalry Overture by Franz Von Suppe’

Cowboys Overture by John Williams

Soundtrack Highlights by John Williams

Carnival of the Animals (The Swan) by Camille Saint-Saens with cello soloist Magdalena Sas along with Alexander Sandor

See our full concert program notes written by board member Tom Nelson.

Concert Program


Following the concert there will be a reception in Keith’s honor to allow our loyal orchestra audience members to celebrate our beloved conductor.  A slideshow with highlights going back to the early 90’s will be shown, with hors d’oeuvres created by friends of the orchestra.

Tickets available through the Reif Center box office and at the door.

Reif Performing Arts Center
$20 Adult | $17 Seniors | $5 Youth

If the concert price is a hardship or if you are coming with a large group, please contact our staff to inquire about discounted tickets.

Thank you to our Sponsor:



February 12th , 7 PM Wilcox Theater

Reif Performing Arts Center
$17 Adult | $15 Seniors | $5 Youth

Itasca Symphony Orchestra Plays Bizet

Featuring violist Evgeny Zvonnikov

playing Carmen Fantasy

The Orchestra will perform L’Arlesienne Suite number 1 & 2. Originally written as incidental music for a 1872 play, each of the suites include a selection of four pieces from the tragic love story written by Alphonse Daudet. They include a variety of styles and moods including lyrical melodies, spirited dances and traditional French folk tunes.

Carmen Fantasy borrows melodies from Bizet’s famous  opera Carmen. It was Initially performed and composed by the 19th century Spanish world famous violinist Pablo De Sarasate to highlight his dazzling technique. Despite the extreme technical challenges meant to spotlight a violin virtuoso, the piece communicates the drama and moods of the original opera composition including love, rage, passion and excitement. We are excited to bring Evgeny Zvonnikov’s to perform once again with our dedicated local musicians. Zvonnikov, a native of Russia is a member of the Itasca Orchestra and String Program’s partner organization The Third Coast Chamber Collective. He is an award winning performer and educator. Most recently he has performed at Carnegie Hall in New York City.

Feb 2022 concert insert

February 12th 2022 concert to be released March 7th.


Holiday Music Concert

Dec 4, 2021 7 PM | Wilcox Theater – Reif Art Center
$17 Adult | $15 Seniors | $5 Youth

Selections include medleys of traditional Christmas carols, Mozart’s “Sleigh Ride” as well as music
from popular holiday movies. IOSP’s Director of String Instruction, Pedro Oviedo, will be featured
as viola soloist in Vaughn William’s Suite for Viola and Orchestra. The orchestra will be performing
the first movement of the piece which includes “Carol” and “Christmas Dance.”

General admission seating is available on the Reif Website and the Reif box office.
Tickets will also be available at the door.

All guests must wear masks covering their mouth
nose while in the Reif Center venue.

Thank you, Sponsor!



Songs of Our Home – Third Coast Chamber Collective Festival
August 22, 28, 29, 2021 | Grand Rapids, M

This Summer, Third Coast Chamber Collective artists from Russia, Poland, Paraguay and the USA come together to explore the beauty of compositions inspired by Scandinavian and Bohemian landscapes and traditional melodies.

Songs of Our Home is a celebration of the rich and diverse heritage of nationalities that immigrated to the Iron Range and whose legacy, culture, and traditions are still deeply rooted in the area. Learn more & Explore the Festival Concerts …








May 22, 2021
7:00 pm
Wilcox Theater, Reif Performing Arts Center

Program Notes May Concert

May 2021 concert program

We are happy to announce that there will be a limited amount of seats available for in person viewing for this concert.Piano Soloist Alexander Sandor
Conducted by Keith Swanson

St Paul’s Suite – Gustav Holtz
Eclogue for Piano and Strings – Gerald Finzi
Keyboard Concerto No. 4 in A major – Bach

Masks required for the safely of our muscians and guests. Please do not attend if you are feeling unwell or have been exposed to Covid-19.

See the concert here!  May 22, 2021 concert viewing

Thank you to our concert sponsor:

Julie Takkunen, Financial Advisor

Financial Services


TCCC Virtual Concert & Fundraiser

Performers – Evgeny Zvonnikov – violin, Magdalena Sas- cello

​Composers – Eugene Ysaÿe, Akshaya Avril Tucker, Aleksey Igudesman and Maurice Ravel

Available virtually on Sunday, March 28 at 12pm CDT

This special event is brought to you through a partnership with the The Third Coast Chamber Collective and MacRostie Art Center and will be presented online on IOSP Youtube Channel. 

All received funds will support creation of the TCCC/IOSP Music Camp in Grand Rapids,MN.  You can find more information about the camp under our  Lessons page.

See the following link to read more about performers. Third Coast Chamber Collective

IOSP teachers Pedro Oviedo and Magdalena Sas are founding members of the group and through that organization they will bring performance and learning opportunities to Grand Rapids and connect our community and our students to outstanding world class musicians.

Third Coast Chamber Collective is a group of emerging musicians from diverse backgrounds devoted to promoting the transformative power of chamber music through inspiring performances, residencies and workshops.​

Peter & the Wolf  | February 20, 2021

Our February concert recording of Peter and the Wolf by Sergei Prokofiev was released was produced by The Reif Center field trip and is available for viewing on the Reif Center website. The field trip is available at no charge to classrooms in the Grand Rapids, Greenway and Deer River school districts thanks to a generous donation by concert sponsor – Loggy Dome.

An educational performance for all ages based on Sergei Prokofiev’s classic. Great for classrooms and virtual learners! Written in 1936, Peter & the Wolf is performed with a narrator and the musical work is as an introduction to the instruments of the orchestra. Each character in the story is personified by its own instruments and melody.

Study guides will be provided to help students make connections with their classroom learning and creating opportunities for active listening and related creative activities. In addition to learning to identify instruments by sight and sound, students learn that stories and emotion can be communicated through music.

The performance is  directed by Itasca Strings Program director of string instruction Pedro Oviedo and performed by The Itasca Orchestra and Strings Program. Guest musician Evgeny Zvonnikov has performed this famous piece as concertmaster in orchestras in his native Russia and will perform as concertmaster of our Grand Rapids based community orchestra. Steve Jaeger from the Grand Rapids Players will narrate and bring his own special style and charm to the story.


Tickets Available on the Reif Center website through May 31, 2021


December 2020 Virtual concert

This concert was aired virtually via Itasca Community Television, aired on KOZY and KAXE. It was also aired as a YouTube Premier. You can find the full concert recording on our YouTube Channel

December 2020 Virtual concert

String Quartet No. 12 in F major, B. 179, op. 96, “American” | Antonin Dvorak

Selections from the Nutcracker for String Quartet | Pyotr Tchaikovsky

Pop Christmas with area strings players

Traditional Christmas Carols with short readings by the Grand Rapids Players



February 15, 2020      
Featuring our local musicians including the Itasca Strings Students

We will celebrate the 200th anniversary of Ludwig van Beethoven birth by starting our February concert out with Beethoven’s Coriolan Overture, op.62.

This concert will feature the exceptional talent of local musicians in a program that moves the spotlight around the sections of the orchestra. Violinist Kristine Arntson will solo in Bizet’s Meditation from Thais. A selection from a Joseph Haydn symphony nicknamed the “Horn Signal” will feature our strong French Horn section. The solo in the Adagio section of Mozart’s Clarinet Quintet will be performed by Jan McKinney. If you didn’t hear enough from the opera Carmen at our November concert, you are in luck. This concert will include Carmen Suite 1.

In this concert selected Itasca Strings students will join us in playing an arrangement of music from the movie Jurassic Park.

Thank you to our sponsor

Purchase your tickets here!

2020 Feb Concert Program Notes

November 2, 2019                 
Featuring soloist Olivia Skaja performing Mendelssohn’s violin concerto

Former Itasca Strings Program student and Deer River native Olivia Skaja will perform Felix Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto with the orchestra. The orchestra will also perform six selections from Bizet’s great opera Carmen.  In this arrangement Carmen Suite No 2 by  Guirard, vocal lines are picked up by instrument voices.

The concert will conclude with a medley of military songs in the Armed Force in honor of Air Force veteran Mike Wourms who is retiring from the ISO principal trumpet position after 20 years with the orchestra.

Thank you to our sponsor

Tickets for veterans for this concert are $5 as a token of gratitude for their service.




Simply Three Workshop October 10, 2019

Simply Three

October 30, 2019 Concert with the Concordia Orchestra

Itasca Strings Students will perform with The Concordia Orchestra in Dances in the Canebrakes by Florance Price

February, 2019

We had a fabulous concert on Saturday.  Looking back at the records showed this was the most people we have had at a concert for at least two years. The audience was very enthusiastic.  I heard lots of exclamations after the pieces.  People I talked to after the show who had not been to an Itasca Orchestra concert before were very surprised by the quality of the performance.  Musicians who we retained from outside of the area remarked that we have very high quality musicians locally and they really enjoy coming to perform at the Reif Center with them.

There was a lot of energy in the music. Living here in the Northland with the snow and cold I think we all appreciate something colorful and spicy to recharge us.

We did something new this concert by having the musicians and conductor Keith Swanson come out into the lobby.  I was a little afraid that it would be like an elementary school dance with girls on one side and boys on the other and no one going up and visiting with the other.  That was not the case. There was an excited after concert buzz and I think people enjoyed being able to connect with the musicians and conductor.  My favorite moment was watching a young trumpet player ask soloist Earl Salemink for his autograph.

I know I enjoyed talking to many of you loyal orchestra supporters.  Feel free to call or stop in my office any time.



2019 Feb InsertFE


The Artaria Quartet Residency 2019

We are fortunate to once again have the opportunity to participate in a residency with the Artaria Quartet. The Artaria Quartet will work with Itasca Strings Students over a period of three months. At the end of the residency, strings students will play a joint concert with Artaria. This has been a fun experience for the students and an incredible learning experience. We are really looking forward to this year’s residency.

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The Artaria Quartet


OK Factor Workshop January 2019

In January, the young and creative duet The OK Factor will be playing a concert at the Reif Center. As part of their education program they have offered to hold a workshop that will be open to all Itasca Strings Students.