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Lourdes grad a throwback to another era

Luke Miksanek surrounds his life with music, but you're not going to find any Lady Gaga or Black Eyed Peas on his iPod. In fact, the 18-year-old's unassuming, humble demeanor would probably be more at home with a Victrola.

Miksanek, who has played violin since he was 5 years old, graduates from Lourdes High School today. His digital jukebox is filled with classical music, scores and selections from different professional orchestras.

This fall, Miksanek plans to attend Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn., and major in music performance.

"I can hardly remember a time when I didn't play the violin. I enjoy music so much. It's really great and I … I'll stop right there," Miksanek said, cutting himself off with a laugh. "It's really great."

His throwback nature captures a bit of Richie Cunningham from TV's "Happy Days," Lourdes High School Principal Thomas Donlon said.


Luke isn't affected by popular trends, either.

He enjoys the crooning melodies of Frank Sinatra, but has never heard of neo-Chairman of the Board, Michael Bublé.

While some Lourdes students have shed the required long pants for shorts at the end of the year, Miksanek keeps wearing his tucked-in, button-up shirt, belt and khakis.

When Donlon once suggested that Miksanek should play the electric fiddle, he just smiled in response.

The student wasn't being pompous or disrespectful. It's just his unassuming, straight-forward personality, Donlon said.

"He's a contemporary of another age, but he is as fresh as he can be," Donlon said. "He's fun to know — he's a person that you say to other people, 'Have you met him? You've got to meet him.'"

Others who know him said his accomplishments and talents could fill several pages in the phone book, but that Miksanek would never be one to extol his own honors.

Here are a few of those accomplishments: Miksanek has been a member of the Southeastern Minnesota Youth Orchestra for nine years, a member of Rochester Symphony and Chorale for two years and has performed in the youth orchestra at the Boston University Tanglewood Institute and the Madeline Island music camp.


"When he first auditioned, I don't remember how many years ago that was, maybe fourth grade, his feet dangled off of a chair when he played," said Adam Lange-Pearson, a Southeastern Minnesota Youth Orchestra conductor. "He came off to me as very serious and diligent and I asked him, way back then, 'When you grow up, what do you want to do?' And he said, 'I want to be a violinist.'"

His favorite subjects, away from anything instrument-related, are history and religion. Miksanek, a member of the National Honor Society, was an "A" honor roll student and earned Magna Cum Laude honors on the National Latin Exam.

He also volunteered at the Mayo Historical Suite, which involved his interest in history. He enjoyed reviewing the personal correspondence of bygone Clinic doctors, seeing how they merged their personal lives with professional.

"A lot of it was kind of paperwork, but you do come across some really interesting things," Miksanek said.

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