Meet the Staff
Michael has served as the music director of the Woodland Community Orchestra and Long Prairie Chamber
Orchestra and is a guest and cover conductor with regional orchestras including the St. Cloud Symphony
Orchestra and Willmar Area Symphonic Orchestra. His interest in music education has led him to conduct
string sectionals for the College of St. Benedict/St John's University Orchestra, clinics for high school
orchestras, and has adjudicated auditions for solo/ensembles and camps including Interlochen Camp for the
While offering private lessons, his students have won auditions for All-State Orchestra, have been awarded
music scholarships at universities and have received high school recognitions for outstanding performance.
Michael maintains a private studio, a member with the Duluth-Superior Symphony Orchestra, 2nd violin
principal with the St Cloud Symphony Orchestra, member of the St Cloud String Quartet, and music director of
the Crow River Area Youth Orchestra and the Central Minnesota Youth Orchestra.
This branched out to include his Christmas shows throughout the region, playing at Big Top Chautauqua in Washburn, Wisconsin with Bobby and Buddy Holly’s band The Crickets, and in 2009 at 50 Winters Later in Clear Lake, Iowa with Bobby, The Crickets and The Smithereens. Rhonda has also done the Bridge over Troubled Water album with local band Collective Unconscious.
Rhonda and her husband, John, opened their own music store, Johnsons' Violins in St. Cloud to keep string playing alive in Central Minnesota. Currently, she performs with the St Cloud Symphony Orchestra and the Bethlehem Chamber Orchestra, teaches in her own private studio, with the St. Cloud Suzuki Studio and at St. John's Preparatory School giving middle school string lessons and an instructor/conductor for the Crow River Area Youth Orchestra and Central Minnesota Youth Orchestra.
Michael Zellgert attended University of Wisconsin-Superior where he studied
violin performance and conducting, including both choral and orchestral technique
with Diane Balko and Dr David Scott. In addition, he received mentoring under
Markand Thakar and Yong-Yan Hu.
Mr. Zellgert has appeared as a soloist with community and university orchestras
throughout Minnesota and part of Wisconsin including Gustavus Adolphus College
and University of Wisconsin - Superior. He has served as concertmaster of the
Itasca Symphony Orchestra, UW-Superior Chamber Orchestra, Heartland
Symphony Orchestra, and St. Cloud Symphony Orchestra along with performing as
a violinist with the Minnesota Ballet, the Duluth Festival Opera, and the Lyric Opera
of the North.
Rhonda Johnson has a Bachelor of Science degree in Music Education from St. Cloud State University and holds a current teaching license issued by the Minnesota Department of Education. For the past three summers Rhonda has attended the American Suzuki Institute at the University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point earning certifications in the Suzuki Method of Talent Education. Rhonda started her career by heading the Elk River Area Arts Council’s Strings For Youth program. For the past 18 years, Rhonda has taught orchestra in the St. Cloud area public and parochial school systems.
Rhonda has also enjoyed opportunities to perform outside the ‘classical’ realm on violin, viola and cello. Rhonda was recruited to be a part of the string quartet backing up music legend Bobby Vee for the fundraiser Rockin’ Round the Clock.
Michael Zellgert, Artistic Director
Rhonda Johnson, Music Director
Throughout his career as a violinist, he has performed with small ensembles including the Dynamic String Quartet, Highland Quartet, Saint Benedicta Trio, Pastiche, and Music Saint Croix.
"To provide a unique orchestral experience leading to performances that shape, educate and inspire lives of developing youth musicians in the communities of Central Minnesota."
Address: P.O. Box 85 St. Joseph, MN 56374 Phone: (320) 227-6847 Registration Contact Us