Senior Connections Senior Connections Feb 2019 - Page 2

Sharing the gift of music Members of the Community Strings performed at a Christmas concert in 2018 at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Glencoe. NIKKI NAU Correspondent Jack Noennig has been playing the violin for more than 70 years, and currently performs in Glencoe and surrounding towns with the Community Strings Or- chestra. Noennig has been leading this multi-genera- tional group for the past 13 years. Noennig grew up in Hamburg, located southeast of Glencoe. His father was the principal and teacher at Emanuel Lutheran School, and his mother was a church organist and piano teacher. His mother’s mu- sical talent and his father’s dedication to Lutheran education were inspirations to Noennig. He explained, “Education was always my vocation, and music – my violin – was my avocation.” Following three years in the military and under- graduate school at Concordia University, Noennig started the string program for the Minnetonka School District, taught elementary grades, and eventually became an assistant principal. In 1972, he became the elementary principal at Norwood-Young America. In 1979, he became su- perintendent of schools in Fairfax. Over the next 20 years, he was also superintendent of schools in Glen- coe, St. Francis, and Rochester. Noennig enjoyed his career in education, yet he al- ways remained passionate about music. “Music and education for me have always come together! Even though I may have put the fi ddle away for a short time, it always seemed to reappear,” he explained. Noennig started piano lessons at the age of 5, but soon convinced his mother that he wanted to play 2 Senior SUBMITTED PHOTOS the violin. There was not a violin teacher in the area, so he began weekly trips to the MacPhail School of Music in Minneapolis. That often meant an unaccompanied, 50-mile bus ride on Satur- day morning. Noennig recalls this weekly trip as not being a big deal. “It was nothing for a 9-year-old to ride by him- self to Minneapolis. I don’t think you would allow it now!” His earliest performance was at Glencoe High School, where, as an 8-year-old, he competed in a locally-spon- In this photo of the Golden Strings, Jack Noennig is third from the left in the front sored contest. He came in row, and Cliff Brunzell is third from the right in the front row. classical to country. During her lifetime of teaching, second and discovered he she had more than 2,000 students. enjoyed performing. His other inspiration was Cliff Brunzell, who was By the age of 12, Noennig was playing violin in many different venues. He won the Minnesota Mu- Noennig’s violin teacher for about 10 years. Brun- sic Teachers Award, and had the opportunity to per- zell pushed Noennig to practice two to three hours form a solo at Northrup Auditorium. By the age of 14, daily and to become a good violinist. In later years, Brunzell became the leader of the Golden Strings Or- Noennig knew the violin would be a part of his life. Noennig was inspired and guided musically by two chestra at the Radisson Hotel in Minneapolis, and, people in his early life – his mother and his fi rst vio- in 1963, he invited Noennig to become a part of this band. Noennig played with the Golden Strings six lin teacher. His mother was an incredible musician. She played More MUSIC on Pg 5 the piano and organ, and every type of music from Connections February 2019 Senior Connections HJ.COM