In 2001, Miriam Zien Edgar graduated from St. Louis Park High School and in fall 2010 she returned, this time as a teacher. The high school’s orchestra director talks to us about her favorite musical memories, her favorite SLP spot and why she’s so happy to be at the helm of the orchestra she once played in.
St. Louis Park Magazine: What is it like to teach at the school you used to attend?
Miriam Zien Edgar: It’s a huge honor for me. The high school orchestra program made quite an impression on me when I went through it, and giving back to the program feels really awesome.
SLP: How has St. Louis Park High School changed since you were a student?
MZE: In a lot of ways, it hasn’t. A lot of the values have remained the same. Community and respect have always been important [to the school].
Our orchestra program has almost tripled in size since I started working there. When I interviewed for my job, I told them my vision for the program was that so many kids would be in the orchestra, we wouldn’t be able to fit them in the room. That has happened, and we’ve had to add a second class. At this rate, we’ll need a third.
SLP: What makes St. Louis Park a special place?
MZE: Our community really cares about education. There’s a high awareness here for the students’ potential. It makes a huge difference; the students are more driven and the community is more connected. There’s a great pride in music and education that leads to great things.
I’ve been approached at concerts by older people who didn’t even have kids or grandkids. They came to our shows just to hear good music and they thanked me afterwards. That’s really special.
SLP: What’s your favorite spot in St. Louis Park?
MZE: My husband and I love Wolfe Park. We recently had a baby, and the park is a great place to bring her. It’s a really beautiful place. When my husband and I were married, the groom’s dinner was actually a picnic at Wolfe Park.
STP: What’s your favorite activity during the holiday season?
MZE: I’m a big family person, so during the holidays I value family togetherness. My husband and I still live with my family. A lot of my friends are teachers and musicians in town, too, so I get to see them a lot during the holidays. Occasionally, I also play in my husband’s band, the Union Shakedown.
STP: What kind of music does Union Shakedown play?
MZE: They do a little bit of everything, but it’s primarily a blues/ jazz band. Their singer, Mike Lloyd, has a really deep, kind of gravelly voice. It’s very bluesy. They’ve all been together since college; they even have a CD.
STP: What are you most excited about for the upcoming year?
MZE: After three years of student-driven fundraising, the high school orchestra will be going on our first-ever international trip—to London and Paris—for spring break. The St. Louis Park school board unanimously approved the trip last year. I was skeptical about an international trip at first, but the students have really demonstrated their maturity and determination in getting this approved and paid for, and now we can’t wait!