Sweet Sounds: Area musicians getting prepared for ASO’s December concert

From left to right: Sue Radloff, Ted Lund, Brenda Radloff, Tristan Lund and Beth (Radloff) Becker. Photo provided

From left to right: Sue Radloff, Ted Lund, Brenda Radloff, Tristan Lund and Beth (Radloff) Becker. Photo provided

By Margo Bissen

The holidays are upon us bringing hustle and bustle, and hopefully some peaceful moments spent with family, enjoying the sights and sounds of the season.

Members of the Austin Symphony Orchestra, Symphony Chorus, Riverland College Choir and Children’s Chorus are busy rehearsing for our Dec. 14 concert.

Within these groups, in true holiday fashion, families are making music together. The adult singers include husband and wife teams, mother and daughter duos and a mother and son combo.

The children’s chorus has several sets of siblings singing together. But perhaps the most unique family constellation happens in the orchestra with the Radloff family, which spans three generations of musicians.

Sue Radloff, mother, grandmother and concertmaster of the ASO began playing for the symphony in the fall of 1958 when she was a freshman in high school.

Paul Heltne was the maestro and Sue sat last chair in the second violin section. By the time she graduated high school, however, she had earned a spot with the first violins. She left Austin for college and other adventures and upon returning to town, rejoined the ASO in 1971.

Sue became the third concertmaster of the orchestra in 1986, succeeding Norene Sundal, who succeeded Harold Sundet. As a mom and musician, she was delighted when both of her daughters became members of the ASO.

Beth (Becker) joined the orchestra as a ninth-grader in 1981. Richard Larson was on the podium and Beth played viola. She was awarded a scholarship and studied with Alice Peves in Edina. Beth has fond memories of playing next to Nell Madura, one of the charter members of the orchestra. She also remembers her grandmother sewing her very first long black skirt which she wore for many years.

Brenda Radloff, a bassist, played for both David Jordal and Phillip Burkhart. She also received a scholarship and studied with Connie Brown from Northfield. Brenda loves playing in the orchestra and finds it a little ironic that Phil Burkhart, once her director, is now her colleague in the bass section.

Her son Tristan, also a bassist, is her stand partner and her son Ted, a cellist sits directly in front of her. Rehearsals offer her a chance to ‘connect’ with her busy family. Both Tristan and Ted continue the family tradition of sharing their musical talents with others.

There are other family connections in the ASO, and many members with decades of service to the ensemble. Future articles will feature other musicians, but today we offer kudos to the Radloff family for their gift of music to our community.

Treat your family to a little Christmas magic at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 14 at Knowlton Auditorium. Come and enjoy the sweet sounds of holiday harmony the ASO has to offer.

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