KCCO Welcomes Board Member Mark Barone

We’re pleased to welcome Mr. Mark Barone as a member of KCCO’s Board of Directors. Mark was born and raised in the inner city of the Bronx and was the youngest of six children. Growing up, he was never exposed to orchestral music; he had to listen to the music other people wanted to hear. In addition, he says, they did not have good music programs in the New York Public Schools. Therefore, when he learned about the KCCO Instrument Petting Zoo, where children who are otherwise not exposed to classical instruments get the hands-on opportunity to touch and play them, he was extremely impressed.
Mark attended his first KCCO concert three years ago, in 2014. Even though he had lived in Kansas City since 2001, he “never knew such a gem existed.” Mark says he was amazed by the sound, quality, and professionalism of KCCO’s performances.

Mark has always been active in serving his community, and when he moved to Kansas City in 2001 he had the opportunity to serve as Executive Director of Christian Family Services (CFS), a licensed Christian Counseling and Adoptions Agency, for 12 years. CFS provided both international and domestic adoption services, licensed marriage and family counseling, as well as counseling for abused and neglected children.

In 2013, after his children finished high school, Mark took a position with Edward Jones Investments as a Financial Advisor. Now, he says, he gets to continue serving families by helping them face the challenges of retirement and planning for their future. He continues to support CFS, but was also eager to help support and increase the impact KCCO has on children and families through its various programs. Mark says he appreciates the opportunity to serve on the Board. “KCCO is truly making a difference in the lives of everyone involved, and has been for over 59 years.”


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2018 Young Artist Concerto Competition Winner


Introducing Miss Bethlehem Kelley!

Bethlehem (Betti) Kelley is an Ethiopian-American violinist in the tenth-grade who resides in Johnson County. Betti studies with Kansas City Symphony Violinist Kristin Velicer. Prior that she studied with Alice Joy Lewis at Ottawa Suzuki Strings for eight years. One of Betti’s most cherished musical experiences has been attending the full scholarship Sphinx Performance Academy in the summers of 2015-2017. Last summer she also attended the highly competitive NYO2 Orchestral Program at Carnegie Hall, again on full scholarship, and she will return there in the summer of 2018. Locally, Betti plays in the Youth Symphony of Kansas City.

A proud member of Jack and Jill of America since age three, Betti spends time throughout the school year on leadership activities and community service projects in the Kansas City area. Betti’s favorite subjects in school are math and science. Her hobbies include reading and playing with her cat and dog.

We’re proud to recognize this talented young musician, as well as to feature her at our May 6th concert, “Surround Sound in Helzberg Hall.”


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Kansas City Civic Orchestra’s Debut Performance at Helzberg Hall


Join us at Helzberg Hall at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts!

Our final performance of the 2017-2018 season will take place at world-class venue Helzberg Hall, Kauffman Center for Performing Arts. The concert will feature a performance by the winner of our Young Artist Concerto Competition (to be announced). We’re excited to play at this fantastic venue and to be able to provide a young musician with the opportunity, as well. We hope you’ll join us!

**As always, the concert will be free. However, tickets will be required to enter. Check back soon for details on how to get your free ticket.

Helzberg Hall, Image courtesy of KauffmanCenter.org

Surround Sound in Helzberg Hall
Sunday, May 6th, 2018

Concert at 3:00 p.m.
Helzberg Hall, Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts
Music Director: Chris Kelts


Roman Carnival Overture – Berlioz

Young Artist Concerto Winner: To be selected


Symphony No. 5 – Tchaikovsky

Andante-Allegro conanima
Andante catabile
Valse: Allegro moderato
Finale: Andante maestoso-allegro vivace


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First Concert of 2018, “Orchestral Delights”


Our first concert of 2018 is coming up soon!

“Orchestral Delights” will feature guest conductor Jim Murray, who serves as Music Director and Conductor of the Northland Symphony Orchestra (Kansas City, MO), Heritage Philharmonic (Eastern Jackson County, MO) and the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra of Kansas City, an ensemble that he founded in 1997.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Maestro Jim Murray

Classical Series: Orchestral Delights
Saturday, March 3rd, 2018
Pre-Concert Talk at 6:45 p.m.
Concert at 7:30 p.m.
Atonement Lutheran Church
Guest Conductor: Jim Murray


Symphonic Dances – Grieg
Dance No. 1: Allegro moderato e marcato
Dance No. 2: Allegretto grazioso
Dance No. 3: Allegro giocoso
Dance No. 4: Andante – Allegro risoluto

Karelia Suite, Opus 11 – Sibelius
Intermezzo. Moderato
Ballade. Tempo di menuetto
Alla marcia. Moderato

A Somerset Rhapsody – Holst

Overture to Nabucco – Verdi


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Young Artist Concerto Competition 2018


KCCO is excited to announce our 2018
Young Artist Concerto Competition!

It’s that time of year! KCCO’s Young Artist Concerto Competition gives us the opportunity to engage with and support young musicians in the Kansas City area. The winner of this year’s competition winner will have the opportunity to perform with the orchestra at a world-class venue – Helzberg Hall at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts! The winner will also receive a cash prize of $500. This year’s auditions will take place on Saturday, February 24th. We invite all musicians aged 13 to 19 to participate!

Alice Guo, 2017 Concerto Competition Winner
Alice Guo, 2017 Concerto Competition Winner

How to Enter

  • Please read the competition rules below
  • Download the application form
  • Obtain a recommendation from a music instructor
  • Mail the form and $25 application fee to: Kansas City Civic Orchestra, P.O. Box 224, Shawnee Mission, KS 66201

Applications must be received by February 12, 2018.

  1. Competition audition date is: Saturday, February 24, 2018 at Atonement Lutheran Church between 10:00am and 3:00pm (time will be assigned).
  2. The concerto competition is for ages 13-19.
  3. Perform a solo orchestral work that is no less than 9 minutes and no greater than 20 minutes in length, from memory (can be a movement from a standard concerto or a multi-movement work).
  4. Audition time slots will be up to 15-minute intervals (cuts are acceptable for the audition).
  5. The competition is open to all instrumentalists (except piano and saxophone).
  6. First place winner will receive a performance with the Kansas City Civic Orchestra on Sunday, May 6, 2018, 3:00pm at Helzberg Hall (Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts) and a prize of $500.00.
  7. Second place may receive acknowledgement at our March 3, 2018 performance.
  8. Kansas City Civic Orchestra reserves the right to have both first and second place winners perform at the May 6th concert.
  9. Winner(s) must be available for rehearsals on: Tuesday, April 24 & May 1 (between 7:30pm-9:30pm) and Sunday, May 6 at Helzberg Hall (between Noon-2pm.) Specific times within these rehearsals will be assigned at a later date.
  10. All room/board/transportation is at the expense of the competition participant.
  11. The $25.00 application fee is non-refundable.
  12. Audition date/time/place is non-negotiable.
  13. An audition time will be emailed to participant within one week of the application deadline.
  14. Competition participants must supply their respective instrument at audition/performance.
  15. Competition participants must supply their own accompanist at audition.
  16. Judges may come from within or may be guests of the Kansas City Civic Orchestra.
  17. Winner selection will be announced and emailed at the end of the audition day.
  18. Judges’ decision is final.
  19. The Kansas City Civic Orchestra can decide not to award winners/prizes.
  20. Failure to abide by these guidelines and rules may result in participant’s disqualification.

Feel free to contact us with any additional questions.


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Hello 2018!


We’d like to thank all of our friends and listeners for supporting KCCO through the first part of our 59th season. In addition to the three concerts, our 2017 activities included the Instrument Petting Zoo for children, the Silent Auction Fundraiser, and numerous outreach activities. (Below are hand-made cards from some of the students who enjoyed our outreach events.)








The orchestra is taking a short mid-season break during this cold start to 2018, but we’ll be back at it next month and we’re looking forward to seeing you at our March and May concerts.

Happy New Year!


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Holiday Concerts Recap


Over the weekend the Kansas City Civic Orchestra kicked off the holiday season with two performances of our Sounds of the Season concert. Audience members were treated to holiday favorites as well as some less familiar pieces, got to sing along to Jingle Bells, enjoyed our guest conductors for the performances of Sleigh Ride (great job, Dylan and Charles!), and had the opportunity to bid on a variety of Silent Auction items. Thank you to all who attended! For those who weren’t able to attend, below is a short video and two audio samples of what you missed!





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Sounds of the Season Holiday Concert


It’s that time of year!

Our holiday concert is one of our most popular performances each season. As always, there will be two performances of Sounds of the Season, with each performance preceded by our Annual Silent Auction Fundraiser. The silent auction is our biggest fundraiser of the year, so be ready to bid on some fantastic gift items (or a little something for yourself!).

Sounds of the Season

Friday, December 8 and Saturday, December 9
Silent auction at 6:30 p.m.
Concert at 7:30 p.m.
Atonement Lutheran Church
Music Director: Chris Kelts



piano painting for silent auction
Silent Auction Item – Painting

A selection of seasonal favorites, including:

Sleigh Ride – Anderson
  Featuring a guest conductor from our audience.

Festive Sounds of Chanukah – Holcomb

Fantasy on Greensleeves – Vaughn Williams

Troika from Lt. Kije – Anderson

Suite of Carols – Anderson




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Recent Outreach Activities


Our 59th season is in full swing, and so are our outreach activities! 

September 2017 brought the addition of double bassist Gay Lee Ludwig-Bonney to the KCCO outreach duo of Jennifer Mitchell, violinist, and Don Goldenbaum, violist. The trio performed and interacted with over 750 students in preschool to grade 3 at several schools in the KC metro area in September and November.

The free interactive programs were customized in length and content from 20-45 minutes, depending on the age and attention level of the students. For younger audiences, the presentation demonstrated the differences and similarities between the three stringed instruments according to appearance, sound, and style. The musicians accompanied eager young students who sang beloved children’s songs such as “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” and “The Wheels on the Bus”.

Thank you for sharing with us last Friday.  A mother shared that her daughter went home and informed her that she wanted to take violin lessons.  She sat here the rest of the afternoon singing some of the songs. Thanks for keeping music alive for the world — and especially for our little folk. – Geri, Pioneer Preschool

For the older audiences, the “Seeing the Symphony” part of the program introduced students to the inner workings of an orchestra, comparing it to a sports team that requires a conductor as the leader or coach and that demands individual preparation of all the players. Rehearsals are like practices that prepare the group for the big moment, whether it’s a concert or a game.

Thank you all for playing!  I’ve heard nothing but praise about your clinics from students and teachers.  I know my students thought it was great. – Sarah, Messiah Lutheran School

In addition to playing popular Disney movie songs and a spirited folk tune to the accompaniment of a recorded “orchestra”, the musicians welcomed all students to take turns helping them to cooperatively “play” a familiar tune. Students eagerly pinched the end of the bow and helped to push and pull it across the strings as the musicians fingered the tune.

On November 11th KCCO held its fourth annual Instrument Petting Zoo – possibly our most popular outreach activity! Over 130 children attended and enjoyed getting their “passports” stamped as they toured through different stations where they learned about various instruments. The instruments for the Zoo were kindly donated by Band of Angels, a non-profit organization that collects used instruments, repairs them, and then provides them free of charge to students in need.

If you’d like to schedule an outreach activity for your school, send us an email!



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November Concert and Petting Zoo Recap


We couldn’t have asked for a better turnout for our second concert of the 2017-2018 season and our Fourth Annual Instrument Petting Zoo!

Our Friday night concert was well attended – a packed house! After a performance by talented young musicians from the Heartland School of the Violin, KCCO took the stage and treated the audience to a lively, patriotic repertoire that had everyone tapping their toes. (Hear a sample here.) We were also honored to have several veterans attend and stand to be recognized as the orchestra played songs representing each of the armed forces.

Saturday’s Petting Zoo was also a huge success. This year we introduced “passports” that provided brief information about the instruments featured at the zoo and which the attendees could get stamped at each instrument station that they visited. They were a hit! Instruments for the zoo were provided by Band of Angels.



The matinee performance of The American Sound provided a slightly abbreviated version of the Friday evening concert and was also very well attended.

Our next performances will be our holiday concerts on December 8th and 9th – Sounds of the Season!



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