Music with Minnesotans: Jim Waldo

by Alison Young, Minnesota Public Radio
May 15, 2013

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Jim Waldo has a day job as a consultant - and he's one smart guy, he's even been on Jeopardy - but I must say that hanging out with him for just a few minutes, you'd think he must have a twin holding down the fort while the real Jim Waldo is making music all day long.

Jim is a founding member of the Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra, one of the finest community orchestras you'll ever hear. He plays bass, organ, sings baritone - even being singled out for a solo with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra chorale led by Dale Warland - and studied theory and composition in school.

Somehow it was in school he discovered that as much as he loved music, it was not quite the calling he'd thought for a full time vocation, and so he set his sights on making music an avocation.

That love for music started as it did for many of us, at a concert. This one when Jim was just a first grader. The Minnesota Orchestra playing Smetana's "Moldau" was so moving he can remember every nuance that swept him away on that most fateful day.

Jim shares on his playlist pieces by two performers who we lost just this past year - organist Marie-Claire Alain who will make listening to the organ a brand new and delightful experience.

Also Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau - a baritone who influenced an entire generation of singers. The music is stunning from Mahler's Kindertotenlieder, a song cycle with orchestra with words by Friedrich Ruckert that laments the loss to death of children.

One of the best parts of Music with Minnesotans is when guests bring in discs that we've never heard - like a reissue from the 1930's. Jim introduces us to Eide Norena, a Norwegian singer who just floats.

As a student at St. Olaf, Jim wanted us to hear one of the all time favorites by the founder of the choral program F. Melius Christiansen's "Praise to the Lord."

This weekend, don't miss Jim playing in the bass section with the Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra and what a concert, Beethoven's Choral Symphony with the Minnesota Chorale.

And if anyone can make an argument for continuing to make music after high school even if you plan to make a career doing something else, it would be Jim Waldo.

Jim Waldo's playlist:

Dietrich Buxtehude, Canzonetta in G - Marie-Claire Alain

Gustav Mahler, Kindertotenlieder: Oft Denkt Ich - Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau

F. Melius Christiansen, Praise to the Lord - St. Olaf Choir

Johann Alice Parker, Hark! I Hear the Harp Eternal - Robert Shaw Chorale

A la Claire Fontaine - Dale Warland Singers

Not One Sparrow is Forgotten - Dale Warland Singers

Edvard Grieg, Vaaren - Eide Norena

Next week young musicians Kelly Carter and Tricia Morgan-Brist have started an "El Sistema" - the Venezuelan music education system that produced Gustavo Dudamel - right here in North Minneapolis. They bring inspiration and great music to share.

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