When the dust finally settled on the Minnesota Orchestra's groundbreaking tour of Cuba three years ago, President and CEO Kevin Smith had just a single, niggling source of disappointment.

"That tour happened so quickly that we really weren't able to connect it to our own community here," he recalled.

The impact of the tour had been profound, Smith felt. But there was limited opportunity to share and disseminate the experience with the orchestra's Twin Cities audiences.

Minnesota Orchestra members will soon pack their instrument cases once again, this time for a five-city tour of South Africa celebrating the 100th anniversary of Nelson Mandela's birth. But this time around, the tour's purposes and programming will be extensively showcased to local audiences in advance.

Taking place Saturday in and around Orchestra Hall, the International Day of Music is a kind of grand overture to the Minnesota Orchestra's South African journey. No fewer than 19 ensembles will perform during a 12-hour period, from noon to midnight Saturday. Some groups will perform at the WCCO Outdoor Stage (located at 11th St. and Marquette Av. S.). Others will play inside Orchestra Hall. Here are five of the day's finest free concerts:

Insingizi (noon-1:15 p.m. Sat., WCCO Outdoor Stage)
This outstanding Zimbabwe vocal trio hooks up with the MacPhail Bucket Drummers and Heart and Soul Drum Academy for a collaborative session.

Minnesota Orchestra String Quartet (2-2:45 p.m. Sat., Target Atrium)
South African composer Bongani Ndodana-Breen introduces two works for string quartet, "Impepho" and "Apologia at Umzimvubu."

29:11 (3:15-4 p.m. Sat., Orchestra Hall Auditorium)
Cape Town singers and instrumentalists share the fervor of South African-flavored gospel.

Marimba Africa (6-7 p.m. Sat., WCCO Outdoor Stage)
The Minneapolis-based group captures the joy heard in a variety of African dance music.

TU Dance (11:25 p.m.-midnight Sat., Orchestra Hall Auditorium)
A leading Twin Cities dance company performs "Lady," based on the music of Ladysmith Black Mambazo.

Where: Orchestra Hall, 1111 Nicollet Mall, Mpls.

More information: 612-371-5656 or minnesotaorchestra.org