Young musician takes center stage for Willmar Area Symphonic Orchestra on Saturday

The annual Young Artists' Concert of the Willmar Symphonic Orchestra will be held May 21 at the Willmar Education and Arts Center. It will showcase the winner of the Young Artists' Competition, celloist Caroline Becker.

The Willmar Area Symphonic Orchestra will be holding its annual Young Artists Concert on May 21.
West Central Tribune file photo
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WILLMAR — The next generation of musicians from the Willmar area will have its turn in the spotlight at the next concert of the Willmar Area Symphonic Orchestra. The annual Young Artists' Concert will take the stage at 7 p.m. Saturday, May 21, at the Willmar Education and Arts Center, with one very talented high school senior taking center stage.

Caroline Becker, a student at Willmar Senior High School, was the winner of this year's Young Artists' Competition, and has been invited to perform a solo at the concert. She will be playing the first movement of Joseph Hayden's "Concerto in C Major" for cello.

Caroline Becker with cello sitting outside amongst trees
Caroline Becker of Willmar Senior High School will be this year's featured young musician at the Willmar Area Symphonic Orchestra's Young Artists' Concert on Saturday, May 21, 2022.
Contributed / Willmar Area Symphonic Orchestra

In addition to playing the cello for the Willmar High School Orchestra and being a member of the Willmar Area Symphonic Orchestra, Becker also plays the French horn, sings in the choir, plays in jazz band and has been a member of many pit bands for high school musical productions.

She has also participated in the 2021 and 2022 Minnesota Music Educators Association all-state orchestras. The daughter of Shannon and Dale Becker, Becker has previously taken lessons with Marie Nelson. Becker plans to continue playing the cello in college.

The Willmar Area Symphonic Orchestra will treat the audience to a rendition of "Conga del Fuego Nuevo" by Arturo Marquez; Assistant Conductor Nickolai Podvin will direct the piece. According to a news release from the orchestra, the piece is inspired by Afro-Cuban conga, and is a fast-paced and fiery tune.


The second half of the concert will belong to a performance of Finnish composer Jean Sibelius' "Symphonie No. 2." The piece was started in 1901 and first premiered in Helsinki, Finland, in 1902.

According to the news release, in addition to the connection to the Finnish struggle for independence against Tsarist Russia back in the early 1900s, the music will also take listeners on a musical adventure with flowing water, dark passages and heroic themes.

Tickets for the concert can be purchased in advance at Whitney Music, online at or at the door. Prices are $12 for adults and free for those under 18. There will also be a livestream of the concert available, with more information on the website.

Shelby Lindrud is a reporter with the West Central Tribune of Willmar. Her focus areas are arts and entertainment, agriculture, features writing and the Kandiyohi County Board.

She can be reached via email or direct 320-214-4373.

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