Edina siblings have musical legacy

The three Schreiner children have music in their blood.

Liesl, Sadie and Otto Schreiner of Edina began playing the violin when they were 3. (Submitted photo)

Liesl, Sadie and Otto Schreiner of Edina began playing the violin when they were younger, following in their mother Aundria’s footsteps. Her parents began her on the violin when she was 3 and it continues to be a passion for her as an adult.

They’re also the fourth generation in the musical Schreiner family that began with noted Mormon Tabernacle organist Alexander Schreiner and continued with Alexander’s son John, who performed the organ for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints congregations in Crystal and Plymouth.

Alexander Schreiner immigrated to the United States from Nuremberg, Germany, when he was 11, John’s son Carl said. They sailed a few months after the Titanic sank and Carl added that his great-grandmother was very concerned about traveling after that sinking.

Alexander had been a church organist as a child in Germany and used his skills in the United States to play the music during silent movies as a high school student. He was so successful, he owned his own car – a big feat during the 1910s.

He first performed for the Mormon Tabernacle when he was 20. It was on a leave of absence from the Tabernacle to study music in Paris that he began dating a cellist named Margaret, who he knew from Salt Lake City, Carl said.

After returning to Salt Lake City, he went on to perform with the Mormon Tabernacle for more than 50 years.

The Schreiners still play some of his music, especially his recording of Bach’s “Toccata and Fugue” around the time of Halloween, Aundria said.

Alexander’s son John moved to Minnesota in 1969 to work as a business finance professor at the University of Minnesota. However, his passion was for the organ.

He would play for local congregations. In 1982, John and Alexander played a duet concert that attracted a few thousand audience members, Carl said.

John went on Pipedream Organ Tours with organist Michael Barone in Europe. While on a tour, he had the opportunity to play the organ in Austria on which the hymn “Silent Night” was first performed.

“All they wanted to do was just play organs,” Carl said.

Aundria was also raised with music in the house. She and her six siblings played the violin together at many events, including weddings and funerals.

Her grandfather always wanted them to get out their violins and play every time they saw him, she said. As a tribute to him, they played one of his favorites, “Millionaire’s Hoedown,” at his gravesite.

“We said a prayer, and then balled and played ‘Millionaire’s Hoedown,’” she said.

She now plays with the Linden Hills Orchestra. It’s not always easy to get to rehearsal with her family’s schedule, but she said she always drives home glad she made it. The director, Yuri Ivan, has taken the orchestra to a higher level and they perform a lot of music that’s difficult, but it keeps her practicing, she said.

She loves performing Tchaikovsky’s ballet music, which is fun and beautiful. She also loves to learn new hoedowns, her favorite of which is “Orange Blossom Special.”

She wants music to be a part of her children’s lives.

“It can do magical things for people,” she said.

Music training is important at an early age because it becomes ingrained in the child, Aundria said.

Studying music creates well-rounded people, she said. It also helps develop a child’s brain and helps them think better, which helps them do better in school, she said.

She’s also glad her children enjoy performing together the way she and her five siblings did as children. Liesl, 12, Sadie, 10, and Otto, 8, perform in front of large congregations at church several times a year in addition to the usual music recitals.

The Schreiner children are also spreading their talents to other musical instruments. Sadie has started playing the clarinet with the band at Normandale Elementary and Liesl plays the cornet in the Valley View Middle School band.