“As a 22-year horn player for the Minnesota Orchestra, Ellen Dinwiddie Smith has performed in many of the world’s most venerated concert halls—but never before on the bar at a brewpub, with a packed-in audience shouting woo-hoos of approval,” writes Kristin Tillotson in Sunday’s (4/10) Star Tribune (Minneapolis, MN). “Smith was part of a horn quintet playing a recent free gig at Sociable Cider Werks in northeast Minneapolis for Symphony and Suds [which] brings small classical ensembles to brewpubs…. Jami Orcutt of Minneapolis … said she hadn’t been to an orchestra concert since she was a little kid…. ‘I saw this on Sociable’s Facebook page and it looked interesting,’ she said. And the music? ‘I like it.’… Michael Gast, the orchestra’s principal horn … is a natural ambassador/emcee. He engaged the audience with brief background riffs on some of the 14 short pieces … and oversaw the demo of a crowd-surfing hose-a-phone (made with a garden hose and a trumpet mouthpiece)…. A key factor for success has been carefully matching instruments to venues…. Strings and woodwinds do fine in quieter environments, but at Sociable, even with the crowd up front listening in silence, only horns could blast through the background din.”

Posted April 13, 2016

Pictured: Ellen Dinwiddie Smith, a horn player with the Minnesota Orchestra, played “Amazing Grace” on an alphorn while standing atop the bar at Sociable Cider Werks in Minneapolis. Photo by Aaron Lavinsky / Star Tribune