Unique concert to bring Minneapolis and St. Paul students together

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In the choir room at Harding High School, students are learning new music that will connect their choir and the Harding High School orchestra with students in similar programs across the river at South High School in Minneapolis.

Natalia Romero is the Harding High School choir director, and one of the instructors behind the vision.

"Our goal of this project was to celebrate our students and then students across the river who are in similar situations who are kids from the city who love music who maybe only sing at home, to get a chance to come together," Romero said. "Our whole project was that we would connect, we would cross the river and gather as an ensemble because at the end of the day we are the Twin Cities, and so we are really excited for the chance to be together in this concert."

She says this endeavor is one that stems from friendship. Her college classmate leads the orchestra at South High School.

She hopes it spurs friendships for her students who are currently connecting as penpals with the Minneapolis students.

"It's pretty cool to connect two high schools together and sing as one with the orchestra, so I think that will be fun and I'm actually excited to meet my penpal," senior Grace Bolton said. 

Sophomore Shiney Yang plays the violin.

She knows how significant this event will be.

"It's like once-in-a-lifetime where you have this big collaboration with another school to connect with, that you both share the same interests, and you love music," she said.

Romero says the music opportunity exists because of a $1000 grant from Hiway Federal Credit Union to pay for bussing and dinner before the roughly 130 students perform on stage together.

"Ideally, we are bridging St. Paul with Minneapolis together, and creating a larger community," said Harding High School Orchestra and Band Director Jennifer Greupner.

The practice that is happening behind closed doors now, is leading up to the concert that will be held at Harding High School on Feb. 27.