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Raking leaves keeps them from washing down the storm drain and polluting area rivers and lakes. (Photo courtesy of Cannon River Watershed Partnership)

Local violinist performs in prestigious music school concert series

Waseca native Louisa Byron grew up in a house full of music. She started playing music, specifically the violin, at just 3, because her two older sisters played the violin, and her passion grew from there. 

She continued her love for music through Berklee College of Music in Boston, pursuing her degree in film scoring and violin performance with minors in conducting and video game scoring. She is a multi-genre violinist/violist and composer.

Last spring, she applied to perform in the Berklee Anywhere Concert series that she recently performed in virtually. 

“It was a really great surprise to get the email that I've been invited to perform for the series,” Byron said.

Berklee Anywhere Concert Series 

For the series she performed two original songs: “Mud Sisters” and “Better Half" with her partner, Benjamin Knorr, who accompanied her on the guitar.

The Berklee anywhere concert series consisted of Berklee College of Music and Boston Conservatory at Berklee students who wanted to continue to create music and perform in innovative ways.

“I think that Louisa is a generous, perceptive, curious person,” Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies Program Director Miranda Byran said. “She is dedicated to refining her art and contributing to the community in equal measure, which I believe is a unique and valuable trait in a performing and composing musician."

The concert series featured students streaming performances from their locations around the world, shown on Berklee’s Instagram and Facebook pages. The student performers raise money for the Berklee Student Emergency Fund, which supports students in the immediate aftermath of COVID-19.

“It was really fun to see other people’s takes when I saw other people's Berklee Anywhere Concerts,” Byron said. “Especially international students, they would go to some beautiful places.”

The performances are shown each Tuesday. Byron’s was Oct. 6.

Byron worked on the technical side of the music and pre-recorded her performance before filming the video part of the project. An editing team put both parts together as one video. Byron recorded and performed her original songs for the concert in Los Angeles, California, in a professional studio during her internship. She intended to record the songs outside on her family farm to show what Minnesota is like but she had to move for her internships.

“It almost feels like I'm back on campus because on campus you can hear any kind of music while walking on campus,” Byron said. “I'm really excited to get back to that lifestyle where music is all around us.”

Learning to play 

Byron started learning the Suzuki method with local music teacher Crista Bohlmann.

“I started Louisa on her fruit snack box violin when she was 3,” Bohlmann said. “I had her as a student for several years. She is extremely fortunate to have the parents she has, they provided her with so many enriching experiences as a young musician. She has been very motivated and has worked very hard.”

The Suzuki method is different from the traditional method. With Suzuki, students begin learning at a young age and teachers believe musical ability can be developed in all children. Parents play an active role in the learning process and students perform frequently so they become comfortable with the instrument before learning to read music, according to the Suzuki Association of the Americas website.

She also worked with a music center in Minneapolis and became a member of the Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphony. GTCYS, in its 49th season, is known for transforming young musicians of all ages, abilities and backgrounds through an all year-round program. To join, students perform a short audition for judges who then determine which of the 10 orchestras the student will work with.

From 2010-16, Byron performed with GTCYS and became a member of different orchestras through the organization. She also mentored beginner students and participated in music camps through the University of Minnesota, fiddle camps and other camps and music festivals.

In college, she worked on her music through many projects, classes, festivals and internships, and took every opportunity to play.


She is a part of two internships in Los Angeles at MPath and Audiomachine Studios.

Both are music library companies that offer a variety of music available for licensing for movie trailers, advertisements, commercials and other uses.

“I was really drawn to that company, (MPath) because they are the first company to achieve gender parity,” Byron said.

Byron started the internship through Zoom due to COVID-19 moving people to work from home offices. She said she had a Zoom call in the morning and worked with metadata for the albums in the music library, coming up with descriptions and moods for each track.

Through MPath she had the opportunity to write her own original track to add to the “Better Half” album in the music library.

“It’s really nice to be featured that way,” Byron said. “They really liked that track and they want me to write a whole album for that track.”

At Audiomachine, Byron did more composition and learned about composers compositional techniques. On Mondays she met with composers to learn from them about their techniques and what software they use.

The main work she did at Audiomachine had her edit tracks down from the original length to 30 seconds. She made edits and cuts to the tracks to hear how removing vocals or drums made it sound.

“It was a little bit stressful at first, but I had really great mentors that helped me out with a lot of tech side through that internship,” Byron said. “I was also able to write for them (Audiomachine). It’s been really nice that both internships I ended up writing for them and that usually doesn't happen, so I’ve been really fortunate to have people want to help me out and want to feature me on their website.”

With classes online Byron stayed in Los Angeles to continue her career in music. She is in her fifth year at Berklee, graduating in the spring.

Trump said his father, President Donald Trump, has taken action on a number of important issues, like illegal immigration, prescription drugs and the military. (Sam Wilmes/southernminn.com)

Police plan welcome home celebration for wounded officer

Waseca Police Officer Arik Matson is coming home Monday, and the community’s invited to join in on the welcome.

Matson, gravely wounded in the line of duty earlier this year, returns to southern Minnesota after nine months of rehabilitation.

“The day we have hoped for is finally almost here,” Waseca Police Chief Penny Vought said in a Wednesday release. “Arik will soon be home with his family, his law enforcement family and his friends. We have missed him tremendously and will continue to support him as he recovers from his injuries.”

A welcome home escort is planned for around noon Monday in Waseca. Spectators can line Hwy. 13 sidewalks starting at the Waseca Junior Senior High School and continuing south to the Waseca Public Safety building. Emergency vehicles will transport Matson around noon Monday for a drive-by so those gathered can greet him.

The department asks attendees to follow social distancing guidelines during the parade and to stay on the sidewalks or far off of the roadway. Normal traffic will continue on Hwy. 13/State Street during the welcome.

Matson will finish his rehabilitation at home after leaving an Omaha, Nebraska, rehabilitation center. Insulation Distributors Inc. donated the cost of private air transportation for Matson’s return.

In a CaringBridge post Matson’s wife Megan Matson said there hasn’t been a lot of change in her husband’s recovery in the last month, but that she has been able to visit him every two weeks for a few days at a time.

While she’s there she takes time during the therapy sessions to interact with her husband and his therapist to prepare for having him home again. They have practiced walking together, car transfers, getting dressed and other daily life skills.

In the journal she wrote “Arik is moving in the right direction slowly but surely. Every week we are making strides onto the right path. He is very excited to be coming home soon and continuing his therapy’s here in Minnesota for the long months to come ahead.”

The accommodate the anticipated number of spectators, the Waseca Public Safety Building parking lot will be closed to the public until 2 p.m. Monday. The Public Safety Building will be closed from 9:30 a.m.-2 p.m.

Vought commended Matson’s care team and others who have reached out following Matson’s shooting.

“We would like to acknowledge and express our deepest gratitude to the first responders, doctors and nurses who saved his life. We also would like to thank the numerous retired and current law enforcement officers who watched over him at various facilities and the essential workers who provided outstanding care to him during his healing journey. Lastly, thank you to the countless number of people throughout Minnesota and the United States who have sent their well wishes to Arik and to us. Your support will never be forgotten.”

Matson was shot shot in the head Jan. 6 after he and three other Waseca officers responded to a report of a suspicious person. The suspect, Tyler Robert Janovsky, 38, of Waseca, was shot by officers, but sustained non life-threatening injuries.

Janovsky, who was on supervised release for a 2010 drug conviction, had a warrant out for his arrest at the time of the shooting. According to court records, police found materials for a potential methamphetamine lab, as well as drugs and a loaded handgun at his Waseca residence in December.

Janovsky pleaded guilty in July to two counts of attempted murder of a police officer. He’s expected to be sentenced Nov. 6 to 35 years in prison.

Three teens charged with torching vacant home

Three Waseca teens have been charged with arson of vacant Waseca County home.

Haden Lee Groll, Tyler Steven Morris and Nathan Allen Ribbe, all 19, are charged with three felony counts: second-degree arson, second-degree burglary and first-degree property damage.

On Aug. 1, a Waseca County Sheriff’s deputy learned of the fire from a person who received a Snapchat message about the house, belonging to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, being on fire.

Groll, Morris and Ribbe all shared similar stories as to why they went to the abandoned house that night. When speaking with Sheriff’s investigators they said they went to the house to explore and destroy things inside by punching holes in the walls and breaking cabinets, but, according to the police report, they didn’t initially go there to burn the house down.

Morris reportedly told police that all three had consumed alcohol before arriving at the house in a vehicle driven by Ribbe. Groll confirmed they had all been drinking as well, according to the police report.

Bailey Grubish / By BAILEY GRUBISH bailey.grubish@apgsomn.com 

The ground surrounding what is left of the house is covered in ash and debris as well from the fire. Some of the trees and plants also burned around the house. (Bailey Grubish/Southernminn.com)

Inside the house, they allegedly made sarcastic remarks about burning it down, before one of the three allegedly started the fire near the front door. Ribbe reportedly told the deputy that they wanted to put the fire out, but it got too big so they left.

Ribbe allegedly told the deputy “this time they got out of hand” and the problem that caused this was “group mentality,” according to the police report.

It is unclear which of the teens set the fire as investigators have heard numerous versions, some saying it was Ribbe, and others saying Groll who started the fire. Videos the deputies saw allegedly show Groll, Morris and Ribbe along with a fire in the beginning stages, but investigators remain uncertain who started the fire.

Once the fire got out of hand and the group left the property, Ribbe allegedly expressed concerned about the fire extending beyond the house because of the grass around the area. They reportedly drove by the house several times again that night to check on the progress of the fire.

The tuck under garage in this photo is also a loss from the fire. In this photo, the grass can be seen surrounding the property. (Bailey Grubish/southernminn.com)

Groll, Morris and Ribbe were in the house for about 20 minutes while three others waited in the vehicle and only knew about the fire after it was set, according to the police report.

The police interviewed the three who remained in the vehicle and each named a different person as starting the fire.

A 2012 federal government assessment of the improvements of the property for the house and tuck under garage valued it at $183,500, according to the police report. Further research is being conducted for the total damage and cleanup cost.

Morris appears for the first time in court on Oct. 23 via Zoom. Groll and Ribbe both appear for the first time on Oct. 27 via Zoom.

waseca court 20- 1

The Waseca Junior Senior High 2020 homecoming court is chosen by the student body. This year’s royalty are back row, from left, Marcus Hansen, Kyreese Willingham, Connor Buchele. Second row down, Rachel Brorneke and Laney Srp. Third row, Mason Gehloff, Ryan Dufault and Zander Fitzsimmons. Fourth row, Gabriela Rodriguez and Mariah Daniel. Front, Ella Pehrson and Jacklynn Jevning.