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Minnesota Orchestra flutist reflects on return

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Orchestra rehearsal
Wendy Williams plays with her fellow Minnesota Orchestra members during a rehearsal at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis, Minn., Thursday, Feb. 6, 2014.
Jeffrey Thompson / MPR News

Wendy Williams, who has played second flute for the Minnesota Orchestra since 1992, is preparing to play tonight's first concert since the 16-month lockout ended in January.

• RELATED: Minnesota Orchestra returns to the stage tonight

"It's bittersweet, complicated. I was nervous this morning but I'm thrilled to be back here," she said. "I remember packing up and moving out in June of 2012 with a sick feeling in my stomach and little did I know it would 20 months until I would return."

She'll feel sharply the absence of colleagues like Burt Hara, clarinetist who left to play with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and music director Osmo Vanska. But she's hopeful about the future.

"I was introduced to a Japanese concept the other day of kintsukuroi -- the art of repairing broken pottery with gold or silver lacquer, with the idea that something that has been broken can be treasured as it heals and as it is repaired. 

"And that's the image I have that I enter this hall today. This orchestra has been broken, but that perhaps in the rebuilding process if we lacquer those cracks with gold and silver that we may end up more beautiful and stronger in the future."

Click on the audio above to hear their full conversation and music from the orchestra's first rehearsal.