RED WING -- A group of six local French horn players joined in a worldwide premiere by playing a song honoring frontline health care workers on the lawn in front of Mayo Clinic Health System Red Wing on Monday evening.

Heidi Oros, a musician from New York, knew about people playing music at 7:00 each evening to honor health care workers. Oros, who has a daughter who is a registered nurse and a horn player, contacted James Naigus, a professor at the University of Georgia who composed a song called “Lionheart’s Call” specifically for French horns, and Oros invited musicians around the world to play the song on Monday, June 22.

“I saw the invitation on Facebook and thought it was cool,” said Greg Beckwith, horn player and band instrument repair instructor at Minnesota State College Southeast in Red Wing. “My wife, Susan, is in health care, and we are really respectful and thankful for all of these people doing what they are in a really tough time.”

Beckwith contacted other French horn players in the area and found five others who wanted to play. Joining Beckwith were Rob Schmidtke, Laura Maxwell, Deb Ellwood, Jason Bystrom and Kestrel Wright.

“It was a real goosebump moment,” Beckwith said. “ As musicians we love communicating our art, and we don’t get to perform much live now, so I’ve been doing some things online and practicing on my own, but to do something live, especially for this kind of occasion was really special. It was very emotional.”

Greg Beckwith saw an invitation for horn players to participate and honor healthcare workers and arranged for an event in Red Wing. Photo by Katryn Conlin
Greg Beckwith saw an invitation for horn players to participate and honor healthcare workers and arranged for an event in Red Wing. Photo by Katryn Conlin

Beckwith said the song was an excellent one to play honoring health care workers.

“It starts out heroic, giving thanks and honoring, making these people stand out,” he said. “Then at the end it takes on the trial and angst and chore, all that is wrapped up in what these people are doing. That’s how we interpreted the piece.”

Even though people couldn’t come together to play, Beckwith said that knowing “other people were playing the same song for the same reason all over the country and maybe around the world adds to the specialness of what we were doing.”