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Music and Drama Fact Sheet

December 16, 2010

Related Document: MusicAndDrama.doc

There is an abundance of great theater and music entertainment available to Rochester, Minn. residents and visitors, with something to satisfy every taste.  Rochester provides a surprising number of arts and entertainment options for a city of its size, including free and seasonal entertainment.

Choral Arts Ensemble

This 40-voice auditioned choir performs choral and orchestral masterworks, as well as vocal jazz.  The ensemble is dedicated to the creation and performance of new music, as well as the presentation of masterpieces from the Renaissance to the 20th century.

Rochester Civic Music

Presented by the City of Rochester Music Department, Rochester Civic Music features free live music in their "Down By the Riverside" outdoor summer concert series.  This series has been known to highlight acts like Joan Baez, Three Dog Night and The Marshall Tucker Band, as well as celebrated local acts.  Concerts are held Sunday evenings at Mayo Park behind Mayo Civic Center along the Zumbro River.  The city also presents RiversideLive!, a ticketed indoor concert series, from September to May.

Rochester Civic Theatre

The largest community theater in Minnesota, the Rochester Civic Theatre offers numerous performances a year, including dramas, comedies and musicals.  Some of its past performances include Fiddler on the Roof, It's A Wonderful Life and The Adventures of Stuart Little.  The Rochester Civic Theatre's mission is to enrich the lives of children and adults through the production and performance of live theater.

Rochester Repertory Theatre

The Rochester Repertory Theatre offers classical and contemporary works by a variety of artists.  Past performances include Three Tall Women, The Foreigner and FoxFire.

Rochester Symphony Orchestra & Chorale

The Rochester Orchestra & Chorale performs a variety of works under renowned music director and conductor Jere Lantz.  The organization also offers a Symphony 101 course, a first timer's introduction to the orchestra, where participants can meet musicians, get advice on when to clap, learn the difference between the instruments and terms, and why the orchestra tunes to the oboe.

Southeast Minnesota Youth Orchestra

A non-profit organization, the Southeast Minnesota Youth Orchestra brings middle and high school students together to study music, learn to work together and contribute to the cultural life of the community.  Concert season runs from November to May.

Vertigo Theatre Factory

Vertigo is a non-profit theater company that produces alternative, cutting-edge theater.  It performs both original and established plays, including some with mature content.  Recent shows have included The Laramie Project, Moby Dick and Dear George.

Seasonal Entertainment

The second week in June, Rochester kicks off the summer with Rochesterfest, a weeklong festival with fun for the whole family.  Additional publicly funded music entertainment includes the annual Youth Concert featuring the Southeast Minnesota Youth Orchestra and Honors Choir of Southeastern Minnesota.  Every August, the Olmsted County Fair features a variety of musical entertainment, and the 1st Avenue Street Market & Concert Series highlights the finest local musicians throughout the summer season.  The St. John's Block Party, an annual community event that hits the streets of downtown
Rochester in July, features live music from local and nationally-known bands, family entertainment and a variety of food and refreshments.

Free Music Venues

A variety of Rochester nightspots, restaurants and other venues provide free music and entertainment, particularly on the weekends.  The Canadian Honker, Pappageorge's, Kathy's Pub, the North Star Bar, CJ's Midtown Lounge and Rookie's Sports Grill & Bar regularly feature musicians and DJs with no cover charge.  The Plummer Building in downtown Rochester, the Calvary Episcopal Church, the Chateau Theatre, the Rochester Public Library and the VFW hall are also venues for free concerts, including bands, carillon bells, movies, magicians and other performances.


For more information on Rochester's music and drama entertainment, please contact Mary Gastner at
800-634-8277 or mgastner@rochestercvb.org or visit http://www.rochestercvb.org/.