WORTHINGTON — The Minnesota Sinfonia orchestra performs in a 7 p.m. Friday concert at Memorial Auditorium Performing Arts Center that is free and open to the public.

Joining them will be the Worthington Middle School seventh- and eighth-grade chamber orchestra ensemble, plus the 125-voice WMS fifth-grade choir.

Local instructors of the involved students are Jeanette Jenson, Zac Paulsen and Morgan Rukstales.

Jay Fishman, founder and conductor of the Minneapolis-based Minnesota Sinfonia, along with concertmaster Julia Persitz, began working with the local students on Monday. Fishman and the 26 instrumentalists of Minnesota Sinfonia are in town this week due to a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, supplemented by support from District 518 and additional local organizations.

On Monday evening, Fishman and Persitz offered a free presentation about the Magical Mysteries of Music that explored the value of music education to students. Playing an instrument or singing, the professional musicians stressed, aids development in multiple areas, including social, intellectual, emotional and physical.

Using familiar classical tunes such as Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” and Emile Waldteufel’s “Skater’s Waltz,” Fishman illustrated the ways in which music elicits emotion, movement and brain activity from listeners and performers alike.

In addition, Fishman offered examples of how classical music in particular connects students to lessons in history, mathematics, geography and other academic subjects, as well as fostering student levels of attention and discipline.

For more information, call 376-9101.