What Music Means to Me

Share

The final concert of our 59th season (taking place at Helzberg Hall on May 6th) will feature the winner of this year’s Young Artist Concerto Competition (Betti Kelley, left). KCCO is proud to support and encourage young musicians – not only because we believe in the importance of the arts in general and the value of learning to play an instrument, but also because involvement in music has been shown to have substantial benefits for students.

In addition to providing a skill that students can use throughout their lives, research has also identified a “strong relationship between sustained involvement in instrumental music … and high level math proficiency (view source),” that “successful music students tend to possess the qualities and skills that are generally considered essential to employers… (view source),” and that students who “participated in band, orchestra, chorus, or in a school play or musical were significantly less likely than non-participants to engage in problem behaviors… (view source).”

We’ve asked our KCCO musicians to share their stories of how music has affected and benefitted them throughout their lives, and we’re sharing those stories here. You will see that for many of our musicians (over 50 of them) the Youth Symphony played a big role in their development, and that is true for today’s young musicians as well – our Young Artist Concerto winner (Betti Kelley, right) is a member of the local Youth Symphony!

We’ll be adding more stories throughout the next several weeks, so check back often. We hope you’re as inspired by these stories as much as we are, and we look forward to seeing you at our May concert, “Surround Sound at Helzberg Hall!”

Click on the quotes to view the musicians’ full statements below.

Music has been a large and necessary part of my life, though always as an avocation. In high school, playing clarinet in the band kept me out of the clutches of the football coach, which doubtless explains why, six decades later, both knees and at least some grey matter remain intact. Back then, also a neophyte violinist, I joined a local community orchestra and encountered the surpassing experience of being a part of, while hearing, great music. In new cities, music helped me make friends who shared my love of playing chamber music.  Playing music for love while pursuing non-musical careers has been the best of both worlds.

 

Music has the power to move a person between different realities: from a broken body into a soaring spirit, from a broken heart into the connection of shared love, from death into the memory and movement of life. It takes you into a story that no words can, moving you from one emotion to the next. It bridges the gaps language creates, across cultures and time, sharing the human experience like no other medium can. Music has shown me that deep down we are all the same, and that a universal language does exist. It has taken me from the lowest of the lows to the highest of the highs and been the greatest tool in choosing my path. The best part is it is free for everyone and we can share it with anyone.

 

I started playing the violin at a very young age. As a child, music was my peer group. Most of my friends were in orchestra. I was a shy kid and didn’t really fit in with the “popular” kids. Music was one place where it didn’t seem to matter if you came from a rich family or were cool. Everyone in an orchestra is part of the accomplishment when you win a competition or just have an amazing performance. I learned to be confident in front of an audience. I learned that other people counted on me to pull my weight and everyone’s success was based on all of us working hard together. I learned a lot about responsibility not only to myself but to the group as a whole. When I was a Senior in high school we competed in the World Youth and Music Festival in Vienna, Austria. We practiced five days a week, even in the summer. We all worked hard to earn the money for everyone to go. You can’t just take part of the orchestra! It seemed like an impossible task, but we earned the money and we all went. We won first place, and it is still something I feel a lot of pride in. I still share that with everyone who went with me. After college I played in the Amarillo Symphony until my husband was transferred to Kansas City. Some of my first friends in KC were the people I connected with in the KC Civic Orchestra. I went on to have five children and people have asked me how I found time to keep playing. Music is one of the few things in my life that I do that is just a part of me. It is not about being a mom or a wife or anything else. I do it because it feeds a part of my soul. When things are hard or I have a tough day, it relaxes me. When I hear a piece of music I love it takes me away from everything else. Few things in life can be enjoyed for a lifetime and give us a way to connect, share and release stress. We are all connected by the love of the music. The love of music is a gift you can give a child that they can enjoy for a lifetime.

 

 

I grew up with my Father being a music teacher, at the college level. I heard violin from the cradle. I, like my older brother, became a public school music teacher…orchestra director. Music is my life; it brings a great sweep of emotions as I listen and perform. I share that with others through performance, chamber music, and as a hospice volunteer.

 

Share

Read More

KCCO Welcomes Return of Conductor Christopher Kelts

Share

The Kansas City Civic Orchestra is pleased to welcome conductor Christopher Kelts back to the position of Music Director. After serving with KCCO for seven and a half years, Kelts resigned from the organization in December 2015 after accepting the position of Director of Orchestral Studies at Missouri State University (Springfield, MO).

“It was an exciting opportunity for me,” he said, “but I realized that the responsibilities of the new position might impact my ability to serve KCCO appropriately. Therefore, I chose to step down while I acclimated to my new role.”

Between December 2015 and May 2017 KCCO enjoyed a successful 58th season performing under the baton of five guest conductors. As Kelts noted, this gave the orchestra a chance to experience artistic diversity, strengthen its musical talents, and expand its adaptability. The orchestra also hosted outstanding guest artists, featured the winners of its annual Young Artist Concerto Competition, and continued to grow its outreach efforts.

After an extensive search for the right candidate to serve as music director, the orchestra and Board of Directors explored the possibility of having Kelts return to the position. Fortunately, he was happy to reengage with KCCO. “I want to keep the orchestra on a path of strengthening its artistic and musical performance, expanding educational outreach, and continuing to build the audience community that shows us such amazing support,” he said.

Kelts will kick off his return on July 1st, 2017 and will begin by planning the 2017-2018 concert season. “We are back at it, even in the off months. There are auditions to plan, repertoires and artists to solidify,” he said. “The Kansas City Civic Orchestra is nearing its 60th year of offering quality concerts to the greater Kansas City community. We have a lot to be proud of, and I’m excited to be part of it.”

Information on the 2017-2018 season, including audition and concert dates, will be announced this summer.

Share

Read More

Musician Spotlight – Mark Lauer, Bassoon

Share

Mark Lauer is a graduate of the University of Missouri Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance. (B.M Performance 2015) He is currently completing a Performer’s Certificate at UMKC while maintaining an active performance schedule as the principal bassoonist with the Kansas City Civic Orchestra, Philharmonia of Greater Kansas City, and the newly formed Southside Philharmonic (Jefferson City, Mo). In addition Mark is also a frequent performer with the Midwest Chamber Ensemble and Classical Revolution KC. Mark has performed with The Missouri Symphony Orchestra, The Arkansas Philharmonic, The symphony of Northwest Arkansas and The Black House Collective. He has also held positions with The Heritage Philharmonic (Independence, Mo) and the Jefferson City Symphony Orchestra. Mark has spent two summers playing in the Taneycomo Festival Orchestra in Branson, Missouri.

In 2015 Mark was a winner of the Kansas City Musical Clubs Scholarship competition, received an honorable mention at the SAI Scholarship competition and was a Finalist in the UMKC Concerto Aria competition performing Carl Maria von Weber’s Concerto for Bassoon. Mark is a two time Runner up at the Missouri Music Teachers Association state collegiate competition (2013, 2014). Mark has collaborated with several local Kansas City Performers and appears on the albums “Kamikaze” (Claire and the Crowded Stage), “In the Blue” (Claire and the Classical revolution) and “Moons and Meltdowns” (Teri Quinn).

In 2016 Mark was awarded an Inspiration Grant from Arts KC, Kansas City’s regional arts council, to fund the release of his debut album, “Muses and Mavericks”. The album features five new works written by Kansas City composers and is set to be released in May of 2017.

Mark has studied bassoon with Marita Abner and Dr. Steven Houser.

Share

Read More

4th Annual Silent Auction

Share

Join in the fun and excitement of our Fourth Annual Silent Auction. The tables full of goodies and unique gifts will be waiting for your bid in the foyer during an extended intermission at our upcoming Sounds of the Season Concert on Dec. 11.

All proceeds raised by the auction will be used to support the orchestra’s free concerts and your donation is tax deductible.

The orchestra has been hard at work putting together baskets which include:

  • Pamper yourself
  • The Best of Kansas City
  • Family Fun Night
  • Coffee and Treats
  • Christmas Baking
  • Cook’s Paradise
  • And much more!
Share

Read More

KCCO’s 52nd Season Part Duex

Share

Saturday, December 18, 2010

We are just a few weeks away from saying goodbye to 2010. The Kansas City Civic Orchestra (KCCO) has enjoyed performing in 2010 – we are also excited to bring music to you in 2011!

We have two great concerts that feature wonderful soloists, a variety of repertoire and a venue that has been a staple in the Kansas City artistic fabric. Join us February 19, 2011 for our concert Remembering Mahler, when we mark 100 years since the death of Gustav Mahler. It has been a remarkable two years of in the life of Mahler…2010 marked the 150th year since his birth! Orchestras around the world are performing Mahler’s music.

I’m particularly excited about this concert – of the programs I put together, this one is my favorite. We will perform Mahler’s Songs of a Wayfarer with soloist Jessica Goldring.

Ms. Goldring, being a resident of Berlin, will capture the Germanic style and grace of this music. Mahler wrote for larger orchestras…KCCO is just that…a large orchestra. However, these collections of songs, though featuring a full ensemble, lend an intimate focus on the text and thematic material that would later make an appearance in Mahler’s famous symphonies.

The orchestra will end the program that evening with the charming and uncharacteristic Symphony No. 6 “Pastoral” by Beethoven. I chose the Beethoven symphony because, historically, Mahler was a great pioneer in the closing of romantic symphonic music.

Beethoven began the development and musical innovation in symphonic writing (his 9th symphony…with four soloists and chorus), and Mahler closes the Romanic musical era with his forward thinking symphonies (Symphony No. 10…which he did not finish before his death). Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6 is uncharacteristic in the sense that, while most of Beethoven’s music is high drama (to say the least); this particular symphony (while focusing on nature) opens the listener to Beethoven’s intimate, peaceful and charming side. Of course there is still drama – anyone who might listen to a recording of this work will remember that there is a “thunder storm” sequence!

The real trick was finding a work to open the program. I didn’t want to use something bombastic or brash. I wanted to find something that would set the mood – bring the focus of the evening to a quieter place – perhaps a religious or peaceful place. I found such a work in Copland’s Quiet City. Kansas City Civic Orchestra’s own Bryan Miller (trumpet) and Anne Sneller (English Horn) will be the featured soloists in this piece. Don’t forget to mark your calendars for this concert – we will also feature a pre-concert talk at 6:45pm to try to dig a little deeper into the music.

Magnificence, Mendelssohn & Magic – that’s right! I’m talking about an evening of music that could very well knock your socks off. Well, maybe not that kind of music, but certainly packs a punch. KCCO opens the evening with Liszt’s Les Preludes. This composition is, in essence, a tone poem. Words (though wordless) set to music. This piece has everything a fan of Romantic music would want – exuberant brass, lush and exciting string sounds, sweet and charming winds…not to mention percussion placed at the perfect moment.

The program continues with Mendelssohn’s Concerto for Violin, in E minor with violinist Yu-Fang Chen. Ms. Chen is one of Kansas City’s leading violinists…her talents taking her to competitions and performances in the United States and abroad. The performance of this beloved concerto closes the first half of this concert.

The second half opens with a new work, written by composer William Funk. The composition, Trettanrune for String Orchestra, was commissioned by the KCCO.

Join us at 6:45pm as we sit down with the composer to discuss the evolution of this piece, as well as the other works on the program.

The evening concludes with a picturesque scene: the god, Wotan, has put Brunhilda the Valkurie into a deep sleep on top of the mountain. To protect her from anyone who might rescue her…Wotan places a magic fire atop the mountain.  Wagner’s (wordless) Wotans Farewell and Magic Fire Music is the final notes of his opera Die Walkuries. It is a wonderful end to a wonderful season. The music is lush with traditional Wagner leitmotiv, doubled string passages, brash and regal brass – it will leave your imagination wondering in true Nordic Mythology.

This program takes place in one of Kansas City’s oldest and most beloved venues, the Folly Theatre. So please come out and hear us. Stay connected on our website: www.kccivic.org – you don’t want to miss the remainder of this season.

For 52 consecutive years the Kansas City Civic Orchestra has been bringing free concerts to the audience of Kansas City…won’t you come and live the music?

Share

Read More

3rd Annual Silent Auction

Share

Join in the fun and excitement of our Third Annual Silent Auction. The tables full of goodies and unique gifts will be waiting for your bid in the foyer during an extended intermission at our upcoming Sounds of the Season Concert on Dec. 11.

All proceeds raised by the auction will be used to support the orchestra’s free concerts and your donation is tax deductible.

Here is a preview of just a few of the wonderful baskets our orchestra members have put together.

goldenbaum_320x240Mystery basket
Stay in from the cold while enjoying a bottle of wine and four mystery novels autographed by bestselling author Sally Goldenbaum.

bbq_320x240Barbeque
Feast at some of Kansas City’s best BBQ restaurants and then try out your barbeque skills at home with grilling tools and barbeque rubs and sauces.

gamenight_320x240Family Game Night
Challenge your family to a game of Scrabble, Uno, Clue and more while enjoying yummy popcorn. Perfect for an evening in on a cold winter night and some friendly competition!

pamper_320x240Pamper yourself
Spend some time relaxing after the craziness of the holidays. An assortment of lotions, soaps, chocolates and candles will help you unwind  and take it easy after the holiday rush is over.

Share

Read More

Conduct the Civic!

Share

Have you ever dreamed what it would be like to stand in front of more than 80 musicians and when you raised your hand, they would all begin to play? If you’ve ever dreamed of conducting an orchestra, here’s your chance! As a special preview to our silent auction in December, The Kansas City Civic Orchestra will auction off an opportunity to conduct Sleigh Ride during our Sounds of the Season concert on Saturday, December 11.

Place your bids at our concert this Saturday at Atonement Lutheran Church.

The person placing the winning bid will get:

  • One 30-minute conducting lesson with Music Director Christopher Kelts
  • A copy of the Sleigh Ride score
  • A dress rehearsal with the orchestra Saturday morning
  • The opportunity to conduct Sleigh Ride during our Sounds of the Season concert

All proceeds will go to support the Kansas City Civic Orchestra and our mission of providing free concerts to the Kansas City community. KCCO is a non-profit organization and your donation is tax deductable.

Don’t miss this once in a lifetime opportunity!

Minimum bid: $200

Share

Read More