Friedell Orchestra Newsletter

Welcome to a new year!

I am excited to be back and starting another new year at Freidell! This will be my twelfth year teaching orchestra with the falcons, and every year brings new challenges and new triumphs. This year, we will be celebrating our triumphant successes as we focus on grit. The dictionary defines grit as "courage and resolve; strength of character." Educational researcher Angela Duckworth found grit to be one of the most essential character traits that set successful students apart. She defines grit as "a special blend of passion and perseverance."

I was able to see the power of grit firsthand this summer as I backpacked the Superior Hiking Trail with my two kids and our friends. When the bugs were biting, we were up to our knees in mud, and we were hiking the sixth mile of seven with 30% of our body weight on our backs, the kids were close to mutiny. I knew I had to distract them and refocus their thoughts, so I asked them each who their superhero alter ego was. My daughter chose Wonder Woman, and when I asked her why she said, "because she has a lot of grit!" I couldn't be prouder in that moment! They spent the next two hours talking nonstop about Marvel superheroes, and I didn't hear another complaint. Changing their attitude from "I can't take another step" to "I'm strong and powerful" gave them the strength to keep putting one foot in front of the other.

Concert dates

Tuesday, December 18, 7:00pm, Mayo High School

Thursday, May 2, 7:00pm, Mayo High School

Instrument rental

Violas, cellos and basses can be rented for a $90 rental fee. If quantity allows, a second cello or bass may be kept at home for $45. Please fill out the rental form below, and we will provide an instrument by the second week of school. At-home instruments may take longer to be assigned. 7th and 8th graders who have an instrument at home already should plan to keep the same instrument at home unless we have a shortage, but still need to complete the form for this year. If your family needs assistance with the rental fees, simply click the box on the form.

Violins need to be rented or purchased from a music store. You can find store information in this newsletter. If your family needs assistance with obtaining a violin, you may fill out the school rental form below and check the box for financial assistance. We have a few violins that have been donated to the school, and will rent them on a needs basis as quantity allows. Violins are not needed until the second week of school.

Your student will need a few supplemental supplies for his/her instrument. See the list below.

Supplies may be purchased anywhere, but I've linked the listings from so that you can see the items.


Shoulder rest for violin or viola

Endpin strap for cello

Rock stop for bass

Folding stand

Music books will be provided by the school.

Music stores in Rochester

Online shopping

In the last decade, there has been a rush to provide low-priced violins on websites like Amazon and eBay. Sellers are responding to the shifting needs of consumers, and the prices are tempting. Unfortunately, these violins are not made to the standards required for an instrument to be playable and to last through the beginning years. Students at Friedell have struggled with these instruments, and have had to make frequent repairs to them at a cost to the family. If you wish to shop online, I strongly recommend the stores below.

Interested in private lessons? Click below for our most recent list of teachers.

SEMYO is still accepting students for the fall season

Southeastern Minnesota Youth Orchestras (SEMYO) is still accepting students on all instruments for the 2018-19 season. A late summer audition will be held on Thursday, August 23. After August 23 auditions are available by appointment. Scholarships are being offered for viola students in our entry-level Chamber Strings ensemble, and for bass students at all levels. Need-based financial scholarships are also available.

SEMYO offers high-quality musical opportunities to a diverse group of students and offers three ensembles for students of all playing levels. 1-2 years of previous playing experience is required. For more information visit:

For those who can’t wait to pick up their instrument again, the following are some previews of pieces we'll play this fall.