The East Metro Symphony Orchestra presents A Season of Stories – Chapter 1: Friendship

The East Metro Symphony Orchestra (EMSO) will present the first program of its 2016-2017 concert series, A Season of Stories, on Sunday, November 6, 2016.

The program, Chapter One: Friendship, will be the first of five concerts celebrating different story themes through music. The concert will be presented at Trinity Lutheran Church, 115 North 4th Street, Stillwater, MN, at 2:00 p.m. Tickets will be available at the door or in advance on the orchestra’s website: $10 adults, $7 seniors, 17 and under free.

Chapter One: Friendship will feature special guest artist cellist Gary Stucka performing Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s Variations on a Rococo Theme for cello and orchestra. A member of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO) since 1986, Stucka began playing cello at the age of eight.

He received both bachelor’s and master’s degrees as a scholarship student of Karl Fruh at Roosevelt University’s Chicago Musical College and is a recipient of the Louis Sudler Foundation for the Musical Arts Award.

Stucka previously performed as assistant principal cello of the Grant Park Symphony and principal cello of the Winnipeg Symphony. He has also performed with the Cleveland Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony String Quartet, and at the Sebago-Long Lake Chamber Music Festival in Maine.

Stucka has been a member of the Pressenda Trio since 1989 and recorded Easley Blackwood’s Piano Trio with the composer and Charles Pikler for Cedille Records. He has served on the faculties of the Chicago College of Performing Arts and Northwestern University.

Also included in the program will be performances of Johannes Brahms’ Academic Festival Overture and two suites of Georges Bizet’s opera Carmen.

The 11 songs from the opera that constitute the suites will be arranged in their original operatic order and will be performed with supporting narration to tell the story of the seductive gypsy.

A meet-and-greet with orchestra members and refreshments will immediately follow the performance.

This concert reunites three childhood friends – EMSO Music Director and Conductor Dr. Elizabeth Prielozny Barnes, special guest cellist Gary Stucka, and violinist Robin Fossum, who will also be performing with the orchestra for this event.

Barnes and Stucka met in their fourth grade orchestra at Park View School in Morton Grove, Illinois, and played together through high school; Barnes and Fossum’s relationship began in high school.

The three mutual friends followed each other’s activities and life events via Facebook for years. Then Fossum, an avid fan of Russian music, attended EMSO’s May 2016 concert, The Soul of Russia, which she saw promoted on online. After not seeing each other for 45 years, Barnes and Fossum reconnected during intermission, and Fossum posted their selfie on her Facebook page, where it was seen by mutual friend Stucka.

The three soon made plans for Stucka to join EMSO to perform Tchaikovsky’s Variations on a Rococo Theme, with Robin joining the orchestra in this reunion concert.

Four other concerts will be presented in EMSO’s A Season of Stories concert series later in the season: Chapter Two: Dreams on December 18, 2016; Chapter Three: Romance on February 11, 2017; Chapter Four: Generations on February 27, 2017; and Chapter Five: Traditions on May 21, 2017. Visit EMSO’s website for more information.

The East Metro Symphony Orchestra enters its eighth season of providing innovative and inspiring programming to the East Metro community. EMSO concerts are always informal, educational, fun, and perfect for all ages and musical backgrounds. To learn more, visit us on Facebook, Twitter, or at