By Todd Moen
Tyler Gaeth, an eighth grade student at Monticello Middle School, already had plans for last weekend — he was set to play violin in a concert for the St. Cloud State Youth Symphony Orchestra on Sunday, April 29.
However, a unique opportunity presented itself that Gaeth couldn’t resist — an invitation to become the first student his age allowed to play in a concert with the Amadeus Chamber Orchestra at Saint John’s University on Friday, April 27.
Gaeth, the son of Brian and Paula Gaeth, was told he wouldn’t be the only student playing with the Amadeus Chamber Orchestra, which features adult players, but that turned out to be only somewhat true.
“They told me they had four students in the orchestra but I got there and the other students were from college,” said Gaeth, who received the invitation to play with the orchestra thanks to the efforts of member Diedra Harkins.
Gaeth received his music the Monday before the Friday concert. He began practicing immediately and participated in his first practice with the orchestra on that Wednesday.
“It was definitely the hardest music I’ve ever played,” said Gaeth, who has been playing the violin since the sixth grade and is currently in the middle school orchestra directed by Michelle Schettler. “It was awesome. It was a totally different experience from anything else I’ve ever been in. The director, Axel Theimer, was great.”
The concert featured two selections — one 30 minutes long, the other a more comfortable 12 minutes in length.
Only days after that memorable experience, Gaeth participated in the St. Cloud State Youth Symphony Orchestra concert. Partly because that group is geared toward musicians his own age, Gaeth said that concert was a little easier. Instead of having only days to learn the material, he had seven weeks to practice the concert’s six songs.
For Gaeth to take on a challenging weekend of music, it wasn’t a surprise to his parents. Paula noted that the first time her son picked up the violin, “he just played and played and played and played.”
“I’ve never had to ask him to practice,” she said. “When someone finds that passion, you don’t have to ask them to practice. (The Amadeus Chamber Orchestra concert) was a neat opportunity. As a parent, you’re amazed but a little humbled that your child is taking a part in something like that.”
When he’s not playing the violin, Gaeth enjoys gardening, photography, and raising butterflies in his family’s home every summer. He is also a part of the Art Club, Yearbook and Culinary Club at the middle school. Paula is thankful that her son and his classmates have these types of opportunities to enjoy at school.
“As parents, we are so thankful for the opportunities he has had at Monticello Middle School and for teachers who have mentored and taught him so much,” she said. “Our home is always alive with the sound of music (literally!), and so many beautiful works of art and photography.”
Asked if he would take on another weekend as musically taxing as this recent one, Gaeth said he would do it again — and added that there was one thing that helped make it go pretty smoothly.
“Thankfully, there was not an overabundance of homework,” he said.