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Donna Wordelman, Chad Hoopes and Scott Wordelman pose after the young violinist serenaded them in Italy in 2010. The Red Wing couple and Hoopes, formerly of Minnesota, had a chance encounter that led to friendship.

International violinist to play at Fairview Red Wing

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Chad Hoopes plays in the world's great concert halls. The young master violinist also can be found playing in private villas across Europe. He's a rising international classical music superstar who's in demand.

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On Friday, Hoopes' backdrop will be Barn Bluff as he serenades Red Wing for free.

The 18-year-old will play at 12:05 p.m. in Fairview Red Wing Medical Center's Garden View Café for the Arts for Your Health Series, a collaborative between the Sheldon Theatre and the medical center.

He's here thanks to an encounter with Scott and Donna Wordelman two years ago.

The Fairview Red Wing CEO and his wife took a 30th wedding anniversary trip. While checking into their Italian hotel, they picked up a brochure for Tuscan Sun Festival and saw photographs of stars Renee Fleming, Sting and other musicians.

"Donna sees this bright young boy's face," Wordelman said.

The anniversary couple ended up being invited to a dinner by the hotel. The Ferragamo family not only owns the hotel but was a festival sponsor, and the dinner was a large one.

"Donna sees this face in the crowd. She goes over and meets him. 'You're American!' he said. And they struck up a conversation," Wordelman recalled.

Hoopes, who was 16, was traveling with his mother. He was immediately comfortable with Donna, who teaches at Burnside Elementary School. Their conversation turned to where she lived and he revealed he grew up in Lakeville, Minn., and moved away at age 12.

"He knew about the Sheldon Theatre, about Red Wing," Wordelman said.

Hoopes, of course, was there to play for the crowd.

"He pulls out a Stadivarius. He transforms from this young kid into a master musician," Wordelman said. Afterward, Hoopes pulled the couple into a side room and played them a French love song.

"We stayed in touch over the years. We talked about wouldn't be great if he could someday play here," Wordelman said.

Stage with a vista

The Arts for Your Health Series has had a few other performers with international connections, but most of the musicians in the monthly series live here or in the region.

The idea originated with Jan Graner, a former Fairview Red Wing vice president, and came to fruition after the organization's 10-year anniversary in 2007 with help from staff member Nancy Dimunation and Sheldon Theater Executive Director Sean Dowse.

"The series gets music out into the community and in a real accessible manner. They concerts are free. It's in a really nice public space and a non-traditional performing space. It's a space where music can have a healing effect," said Dowse, who helps identify and book the musicians.

Patients, staff and visitors can listen while eating lunch and looking through the three-story window at Red Wing. That's the same view hospital patients see out their rooms.

"Arts for Your Health has its roots in the planning that went into designing the medical center in the late 1990s and early 2000," Wordelman said. "We really designed the facility to maximize the physical environment that would promote healing."

The medical center is built on the concept of integrated healing arts. Music therapy, just as the vista, is an element.

"That doesn't cure the disease. It calms the spirit. It helps create an internal sense of calm," Wordelman said.

Dowse said he especially enjoys when a guest musician tours the hospital hallways. Patients smile and heads poke out of doorways.

"I believe the music that's played has therapeutic value," Dowse said, whether that's an international star or a singer from down the road.

The Wordelmans hoped the chance to fulfill their dream had come true when they learned Hoopes was Minnesota Public Radio's 2011-12 artist-in-residence. They attended his introductory concert last year, his final appearance was April 19, and he's squeezing in one more Minnesota stop right here.

"Sean, working his magic, made it happen," Wordelman said, adding "What a wonderful way to put an exclamation point on this project."

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Anne Jacobson
Anne Jacobson has been editor of the Republican Eagle since December 2003. 
(651) 301-7870
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