Minnesota Orchestra and Simpson: A Harmonious PartnershipPosted on December 16th, 2019
The partnership started several years ago when small groups of Minnesota Orchestra musicians played music for guests at Simpson’s shelter several times during the year. “We’ve had cellists, woodwind quintets, and string quartets play classical and more familiar music. A favorite part of the evening is when the audience asks questions about the music and the instruments, and the musicians and guests can engage in conversation with each other,” says Minnesota Orchestra’s Director of Education and Community Engagement Jessi Ryan.
Building on their relationship with Simpson, the Minnesota Orchestra found it a natural fit to highlight the agency as a donation recipient during their pre-and post-concert collection efforts. For the last three years, Minnesota Orchestra has asked audience members to contribute basic need items — like blankets, bath towels, water-resistant mittens, and thermal underwear — to Simpson during the holidays.
Minnesota Orchestra also collaborates with celebrated pianist George Winston to support Simpson. Dedicated to supporting local organizations through his music, Mr. Winston has generously donated the proceeds of his CD sales at his annual Orchestra Hall holiday concert to Simpson for the past two years. In addition, Simpson staff have connected with the music community at Orchestra Hall by facilitating the CD sales to patrons at George Winston’s holiday concert.
The Minnesota Orchestra has also played a unique role in supporting the Minnesota Homeless Memorial March and Service, an annual event that honors people who have died while homeless in Minnesota. For five years, Minnesota Orchestra musicians have played music during the Memorial Service.
The Minnesota Orchestra staff and musicians value their work with Simpson. Jessi highlights the organization’s desire to forge a partnership that is both creative and meaningful: “Our musicians enjoy interacting with the community outside of the concert hall, and they’ve found it incredibly worthwhile to connect with Simpson Housing guests and staff over the years. On the staff side, we are excited about the way that the partnership with Simpson Housing has grown over time, and we look forward to thinking about how we can continue to enrich and inspire the community through this partnership in the future.”