Concordia College student from Chaska commissioned by Wisconsin orchestra for original composition

As a music composition major at Concordia College in Moorhead, Jacob Shay knows how to both write and play a good tune. But one of the Chaska native's latest creations will soon be featured on a larger stage.

"That's crazy. I really wanted to write for an orchestra before, so getting this chance to have that opportunity is wild," said Shay.

Last January, Shay sent some original pieces to one of his professors, Dr. Kevin Sutterlin, who also conducts the Concordia Orchestra, where Shay plays the violin, to get some critiques.

But Sutterlin was so impressed by the 22-year-old's work,  he commissioned an original composition for the Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra, which he also directs.
Shay's arrangement will premiere this weekend.

"It feels really weird to have something of mine go beyond just our college or even outside of my state to be honest," said Shay.

Shay says the four-minute-long overture called Spark draws on his influences like music from movies and video games, which he believes will appeal to a younger audience.

Sutterlin says commissioning the work is part of his effort to include more music written by living, female and underrepresented composers for the Fox Valley Orchestra to perform.

"The hope is that more and more people who live in our communities will find themselves represented in the music we are presenting," said Sutterlin.
Shay and his family will be in the audience when the orchestra plays his piece for the first time in Appleton Wisconsin on Saturday.

He hopes it will be the spark for a long and lengthy career.

"I definitely want to pursue this after college. Wherever or however that might happen," said Shay.