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Free and Low-Cost Concerts You're Missing Out On

In addition to the fantastic, professional organizations that we have here in the Twin Cities (and around the country!), there are loads of interesting free and low-cost concerts you may be missing out on. The programming is different, the presentation can be more relaxed. Add variety and some new music genres to your concert season.

Colleges and universities everywhere have music departments brimming with students, majors and non-majors alike, who are studying with the best teachers in the US. These students are often already experienced performers, providing an excellent musical experience.

Music majors are frequently required to write program notes for their recitals and choir concerts will have them anyway, so attending is educational and entertaining.

In college we had chamber music recitals at 5 p.m. on Mondays. They were no longer than 1 hour, which left students plenty of time to get to the dining hall for dinner. They were also open to the public and there was one man there who attended almost every single recital. He wasn't a student, no one knew who he was, and he always left just as soon as the concert was over.
English: The Portrait of Felix Mendelssohn

English: The Portrait of Felix Mendelssohn (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We finally met a few years ago at another Augsburg Music Department function and I told him, "I remember you--you were at so many recitals and concerts here!" He told me Augsburg was on his daily walk to and from work and since he loves music so much, he would just pick up the concert announcements on his way home from work and attend a concert whenever he had time.
This man has probably seen hundreds if not thousands of hours of quality music for free, simply because he walked in the door of the music building and picked up a piece of paper. He's heard everything from Brahms to Leo Brouwerand Philip Glassto Felix Mendelssohn. He has applauded hundreds of students and supported his community.

Faculty also give recitals and concerts; frequently it is required of them by their university. These are seasoned professionals who have high standards of performance and presentation. A faculty recital is often brimming with their students, which makes for a fun, sometimes awe-filled atmosphere.

Check the websites of all the churches and other religious institutions in your neighborhood. Watch the local paper listings for community choir concert advertisements and special summer music series. From a one-night coffee house to a regular, Wednesday-night-music-in-the-park, there are countless concerts all over your area.

You probably already know someone who sings in a choir or other ensemble (especially if you're reading this blog). The next time they tell you about a concert their choir is having, buy two tickets. Try it. I bet you'll like it!

Here are some more ideas:

  1. When you see a concert flyer, pick it up. (Just taking the flyer doesn't commit you to going. Just being open to the possibility.)
  2. Make a donation to a college music department. You will surely get on their mailing list then!
  3. Sign up for the music series mailing list at the nearest religious organization. Email is a convenient way to stay in the loop.
  4. Subscribe to your local paper, whether it's a hard copy or an online version.
  5. Ask at the barista your local coffee shop where he or she likes to catch concerts and performances. You might even have just met your next favorite concert-going-buddy!
What other ways have you enjoyed great concerts in your community? Or do you only ever attend concerts at a professional orchestra/choir? Comment below and spread the word!
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