Best Bets: Austin Symphony Orchestra to play ‘Homecoming’ concert

Published 8:31 am Thursday, May 4, 2017

The Austin Symphony Orchestra will celebrate a reunion, with past members and a frequent collaborator returning for this weekend’s concert. 

This year marks the Austin Symphony Orchestra’s 60th season, and it will perform its “Homecoming” concert at 2 p.m. on Sunday at Austin High School’s Knowlton Auditorium, featuring Italian husband and wife pianists Roberto Plano and Paola del Negro.

“Every few years we hold an event where we invite former members to come back and perform,” said Austin Symphony Orchestra board member Sonia Larson, explaining what makes it a “homecoming” concert. This year, 35 former Austin Symphony Orchestra members will return.

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The first half of the concert will feature Plano and del Negro performing German composer Max Bruch’s “Concerto for Two Pianos.”

“These two pianists are incredibly talented,” said Austin Symphony Orchestra Board Member Richard Smaby, who does marketing for the orchestra. “I think everyone will be amazed by them. They are of a caliber that is rarely seen in Austin.”

Roberto Plano, who recently joined the faculty of Boston University, has performed all over the world and won numerous awards and recognitions. This concert marks the seventh time he has performed in Austin.

The second half of the concert will feature the orchestra performing Czech composer Antonín Dvorák’s “Symphony No. 9,” also known as “From the New World.” Steve Ramsey will conduct the show.

“Classical Music doesn’t get the attention it deserves,” Smaby said. “The Austin Symphony Orchestra is an amateur orchestra that provides great music and if people would see them, they would be more interested in classical music.”

Smaby said the Austin Symphony Orchestra is planning to bring in famous violinist Sarah Chang, as well as other world-class soloists, next year.

The Austin Symphony Orchestra will also hold a fundraising dinner for those who purchased tickets on or before May 3 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Austin Country Club. The fundraiser will include a dinner that features a social hour and a silent auction featuring items donated by local businesses and individuals.

Tickets for “Homecoming” are $12 in advance and $15 at the door for adults and $10 in advance and $12 at the door for college students. Students age high school and younger are free.

They can be purchased in advance at Coffee House on Main, or at the door. Tickets For more information, visit For ticket information, call Sue Grove at 507-433-5464.

May 5

•Friends of the Library Spring Book Sale, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Austin Public Library. The sale features books for all ages as well as DVDs, VHS tapes, music and audio tapes. Proceeds benefit the Austin Public Library and the AAUW Scholarship Fund. For more information, call 507-433-2391.

•Fifth Annual Power of the Palate, 5 to 8 p.m. at the Austin Country Club. A Cinco de Mayo event. Enjoy gourmet food prepared by three local area chefs, cocktails and conversations along with a silent auction featuring wonderfully unique items. All proceeds support the Backpack Food program as well as going toward meeting children’s basic needs in Mower County. Tickets are $25 per person. For more information, call 507-437-2313 or email

•C. Willi Miles, America’s Everyday Comedian, 7:30 to 10 p.m. at the Historic Paramount Theatre. Comedian C. Willi Myles, “America’s Everyday Comedian,” has been combining his quick wit and a great sense of humor to deliver one of this country’s most high energy, side-splitting show for all ages. Visit the Austin ArtWorks Center or go online at to purchase tickets. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 the day of the show.

•Austi-Con, at the Austin, Minnesota, National Guard Armory. 2nd annual gathering for gamers of all types. Opportunity to play, trade, build your collection, learn more about this fun hobby. Admission $10 for the weekend. There will be tables for open gaming as well as scheduled events. Attendees can also take part in play-to-win events, check out games from the board game library and win door prizes.

May 6

•Austin City-Wide Rummage Sale, 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Annual city-wide event with bargains everywhere! Check the special section of the Austin Daily Herald with listings or just drive around town exploring. For more information, call 507-433-8851.

•Austin’s 2nd Annual Puzzle Competition, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Austin Minnesota National Guard Armory. Teams of up to four persons will race to see who can complete a 1,000 piece puzzle first. Entry fee covered as part of Austi-Con badge. Sign up at Register for competition by May 1. For more information, call 507-437-4563 or email Your registry for this event includes entry for all three days of Austi-Con.

•Friends of the Library Spring Book Sale, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Austin Public Library. Bag sale from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m., $5 per bag.

•Mower County Historical Society Open House, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Mower County Historical Society. Mower County Historical Society staff and volunteers will be on hand to lead tours. Last tour leaves Administration Building at 1 p.m.

•BBQ Rib Cook Off Fundraiser, 4 p.m. at Hoot & Ole’s Tavern. Proceeds divided to benefit both the American Legion Riders Post 91 and Hoot & Ole’s Tavern “Dutchtown Jumpers” PTTP Pink Plunge. Entrants will be cooking ribs all day! Come and enjoy two ribs, salad and beans. $7 per plate. Contact Roe Naylor 438-5804 or Ole 481-7899.

•Austi-Con, at the Austin, Minnesota, National Guard Armory.

•Brownsdale City-Wide Garage Sale, in Brownsdale. Bargains and treasures throughout the city. For more information, call 507-567-2167.

•Minnesota Junior Spring Classic Beef Show, at the Mower County Fairgrounds. For more information, go to or For questions, contact Noah Carroll at or call 507-440-0502.

May 7

•Austin Symphony Orchestra – Homecoming, 2 to 4 p.m. at Knowlton Auditorium, Austin High School. For more information, see above or visit

•Austin Symphony Orchestra Fundraiser, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Austin Country Club. Tickets $50 per person, includes meal and musical performances. Tickets must be purchased by Wednesday, May 3. For more information, contact Sonia Larson at or 507-433-8719, or Sue Radloff at or 507-396-2613.

•Austi-Con , at the Austin, Minnesota, National Guard Armory.