Bailey Hilgren, a Chatfield graduate and current student at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, will be performing with her college symphony orchestra on March 25, at the Chatfield Center for the Arts.
Bailey Hilgren, a Chatfield graduate and current student at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, will be performing with her college symphony orchestra on March 25, at the Chatfield Center for the Arts.
“It’s rather unique to Chatfield to have a symphony orchestra play here. It just doesn’t happen very often. It is really a unique opportunity for adults and younger kids alike,” said Chatfield Center for the Arts (CCA) volunteer Tom Hilgren.

Hilgren was speaking of the arrival of the Gustavus Symphony Orchestra from Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minn., at the Chatfield Center for the Arts on Saturday, March 25, to perform a free concert for anyone wishing to hear notes that will uplift them.

According to a press release, “The Gustavus Symphony Orchestra will present a concert in the historic Potter Auditorium at the Chatfield Center for the Arts. Under the direction of Dr. Ruth Lin, the Gustavus Symphony Orchestra is on a weeklong tour of Minnesota. The concert is free and open to the public. Students performing include Bailey Hilgren of Chatfield, Nikki Skifton of Stewartville and Katelyn Yee of Decorah.”

It continued, “The Gustavus Symphony Orchestra has a membership of 60 student musicians, of which only a quarter are majoring in music. The Symphony Orchestra was a finalist for the 2015 American Prize in the College/University division, and was also featured at the 2016 Minnesota Music Educators Association conference. As the official touring orchestra ensemble from the Department of Music at Gustavus Adolphus College, the Gustavus Symphony Orchestra has toured internationally to the British Isles, the People’s Republic of China, and South Africa, Greece and Macedonia. The Symphony Orchestra will have its next international tour in January of 2020.”

Tom Hilgren related, “The CCA was looking to expand its offerings of music. There are a number of Gustavus Adolphus alumni and friends on the CCA board as well, and I had a connection to the Gustavus Adolphus program since my daughter is in the orchestra. We’ve been pestering their travel coordinator for the better part of four years that they should play in the newly-renovated historic Potter Auditorium. Every year, they do a tour, and it was really making contacts and convincing Gustavus Adolphus College that we had the facility. Since then, there have been a handful of donations to cover costs, and a host of volunteers – as well as our directors – that have been working to promote the event.”

He promised that the time spent listening will be worthwhile. Concert attendees will hear music composed by well-known composers whose works are meant to provoke thought and move the soul, including Ferde Grofé’s “Mississippi Suite (Tone Journey)” and Antonín Dvorák’s “Symphony No. 9 in E minor, popularly known as the “New World Symphony.”

Hilgren commented, “‘Dvorak’s Symphony #9 in E Minor’ from ‘The New World’ is widely known.”

Of course, he’s proud that his daughter, a graduate of Chatfield High School majoring in biology at Gustavus, will be home to perform with the symphony.

Bailey Hilgren has become the co-principal of the symphony orchestra and rotating principal of the Gustavus Wind Orchestra, participating in the Young Artist Seminar at Rocky Ridge Music Center in Estes Park, Colo., and the Woodwind Quintet program at Madeline Island Music Camp in La Pointe, Wis. She is also a recipient of the Jussi Björling Scholarship and Gustavus Music Award. Bailey hopes to pursue a graduate degree in musicology after graduating from Gustavus Adolphus this spring.

The elder Hilgren has been an advocate of chamber music performances held at the CCA last spring and summer and hopes that the entire Potter Auditorium is filled with people expecting to hear beautiful sounds from the symphony’s players during the Gustavus Symphony Orchestra’s appearance this month.

“I really don’t know what to expect, but wouldn’t that be nice? It would be great to have a nice crowd on hand for the performance,” he said. “The sound is great in the newly renovated auditorium, and the concert is free.”

The Chatfield Center for the Arts will welcome the Gustavus Symphony Orchestra on Saturday, March 25, at 7:30 p.m. in Potter Auditorium. Concessions will be available before the concert. The concert is free and open to the public.

For more information, log onto the Chatfield city website at or the CCA’s website at