Friends of the Orchestra Ltd

A nonprofit organization

19 donors

Your donation is essential for the SMO to continue providing quality, live orchestra performances to audiences in southwest Minnesota.

The Southwest Minnesota Orchestra has been in existence for 50 years!  The original group was started in the spring of 1970 by True Sackrison, a music professor at then Southwest Minnesota State College (SMSC), and consisted of a 16-string chamber ensemble. The following fall semester winds, brass and percussion were added and the SMO has been in existence since. In 1994 the then Southwest State University (SSU) discontinued funding the music director position and SMO members created the Friends of the Orchestra, Ltd. (FOTO), a volunteer governing board and non-profit corporation. FOTO was successful in raising funds and finding musicians to fill the music director position, and the SMO continued to perform. In 1996, SSU reinstated the music director position. Dr. Daniel Rieppel has directed the orchestra since 1998.

FOTO and the SMO enjoy a strong relationship with the university. SMSU supports the SMO by providing rehearsal space and equipment, access to copiers, and design and printing services. In addition, SMSU provides administration of an SMSU Foundation account, the conductor’s salary and scholarships for the student manager and librarian. Nevertheless, a substantial amount of funding from other sources is required each season for the SMO to continue providing quality, live performances to audiences in southwest Minnesota.  

The orchestra is also in need of financial support for their concert series, as the funds the orchestra has relied on have dried up due to COVID and the state of the State.  Without these funds, the orchestra is unable to bring high-quality live orchestral performances to rural Minnesota.

This is where you come in. We ask that you consider making a donation to FOTO. All contributions are tax deductible. Suggested contribution levels are listed below. And as a way of saying ‘thanks’ for your support, your name will be listed in the SMO concert programs for one year.

Thank you!

FOTO Board of Directors

Organization Data


Organization name

Friends of the Orchestra Ltd

Tax id (EIN)



Arts & Culture


803 Cheryl Avenue