Ava Ernst 

Ava Ernst reacts to winning the National American Miss Minnesota Junior Teen 2019 pageant.

Ava Ernst, daughter of Matthew and Holly Ernst of North Oaks, was recently crowned National American Miss Minnesota Junior Teen 2019 out of a field of 30 contestants from across the state on Aug. 18. Ava was also awarded “Miss Personality,” which is voted on by the contestants and awarded to the girl who they felt was the most friendly and helpful. She also won the Heart of Service award, which is bestowed upon the contestant with the most volunteer/community service hours. Additional awards include Most Photogenic, Most Promising Model and Best Thank You Note. She placed as first runner-up in the following optional categories: Spokesmodel, Casual Wear, Actress, Top Model, Runway and Screentest, and placed as 2nd runner-up in Talent.

As part of her prize package, Ava won $1,000 cash; airfare and entry fees paid to the national pageant in Hollywood, California; tickets to a VIP day at Disneyland; the official state crown, banner, trophy, and roses; a tour through Hollywood; interview training; a modeling contract; travel opportunities; hotel expenses to attend her 2020 successor and more.


—From press release



Craig Hara

North Oaks resident Craig Hara is the new music director and conductor of the

East Metro Symphony Orchestra (EMSO). EMSO is a community orchestra based in Woodbury offering four to five concerts each season and educates and inspires our members and audience through thoughtful collaborations with local artists and organizations, unique programming, special educational partnerships, and programs for seniors. 

The East Metro Symphony Orchestra (EMSO) is pleased to announce North Oaks resident Craig Hara as its new music director/conductor for the 2019-2020 concert season.

Hara comes to EMSO with a background that includes a broad range of experience as a professional musician and educator. Hara's professional experience includes recordings and live performances with various artists and groups, both locally and international, and has performed with many of the world's eminent musicians, including Leonard Bernstein, Bill Conti, Zubin Mehta, Helmut Rilling, Michael Tilson Thomas, John Williams, Louis Bellson, David Benoit, José Carreras, Stanley Clarke, Chick Corea, Amy Grant, Mark Isham, Kiri Te Kanawa, Chuck Mangione, Itzhak Perlman, Doc Severinsen, Michael W. Smith, and Sarah Vaughn.

Hara brings an energy to the podium that EMSO audiences will find inspiring! “My appointment to the position of music director and conductor of the East Metro Symphony


Orchestra is going to be a new and exciting experience for me,” Hara says, “This will be my first extended experience on the other side of the conductor’s stand. I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to work with the orchestra, and look forward to an enjoyable music-making experience for the orchestra and its audience.”

Hara will begin his tenure as EMSO’s music director and conductor with the first concert of the 2019-2020 “New Beginnings” concert season Oct. 27. Further details about Hara and the orchestra’s upcoming season can be found online at emsorch.org.


About East Metro Symphony Orchestra (EMSO)

The East Metro Symphony Orchestra enters its 11th season of providing innovative and inspiring programming to the East Metro community. EMSO concerts are informal, educational, fun, and perfect for all ages and musical backgrounds. To learn more, visit us on Facebook, Twitter, or at emsorch.org.


—From press release

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