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!


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!


Instrument Petting Zoo and “The American Sound” Concert

Fourth Annual Instrument Petting Zoo

Our Instrument Petting Zoo for children has grown each year, and we expect this year to be better than ever! This year’s event will take place on Saturday, November 11 at 1:00 p.m. The Petting Zoo gives kids the opportunity to learn about, touch, and play a wide variety of instruments.

Special thanks to Band of Angels for donating the instruments for this event.


The American Sound

Friday, November 10 at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, November 11 at 2:00 p.m. (preceded by Petting Zoo)
Atonement Lutheran Church
Dr. Chris Kelts, Conductor
Robert Carney, Piano


America the Beautiful

The Star-Spangled Banner

Symphony No. 9 “New World” (mvt. 2)

Stars and Stripes Forever

Washington Post March

An Outdoor Overture

Rhapsody in Blue
Featuring guest soloist Dr. Robert Carney, piano


Season Opening Concert

The first concert of our 2017-2018 season is just over a month away!

Bold, Brass & Brahms

Saturday, October 14 at 7:30 p.m.
Atonement Lutheran Church
Dr. Chris Kelts, Conductor


Hungarian March

Violin Concerto in D Major

Symphony No. 3 “Organ”
Saint Saens

Band of Angels

Band of Angels is a collects music instruments and provides them to children in need for free so they can join band and orchestra programs. They also provide scholarships for area children to attend summer music camp. And, this November, Band of Angels will provide the instruments for our Instrument Petting Zoo. Thank you, Band of Angels!


2017-2018 Season Schedule

Save the dates!

Planning for the 59th season is well underway, and the concert dates have been set! Look for information on the program for each concert in the next few days.

Classical Series: Bold, Brass and Brahms
Saturday, October 14, 2017 at 7:30pm

Pre-Concert Talk, 6:45pm
Atonement Lutheran Church 

Pops Style: The American Sound
Friday, November 10, 2017 at 7:30 pm

Saturday*, November 11, 2017 at 2:00 pm
* preceded by 4th Annual Instrument Petting Zoo at 1:00 pm
Atonement Lutheran Church

Pops Style: Sounds of the Season
Friday, December 8, 2017 at 7:30 pm
Saturday, December 9, 2017 at 7:30 pm

Atonement Lutheran Church

Classical Series: Orchestral Delights
Saturday, March 3, 2018 at 7:30 pm

Pre-Concert Talk, 6:45pm
Atonement Lutheran Church

Classical Series: Surround Sound in Helzberg Hall
Sunday, May 6, 2018 at 3:00 pm

Helzberg Hall at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts

2017-2018 Auditions

KCCO is auditioning amazing musicians for our 59th season!


Saturday, August 26, 2017 (Reserve your space by Friday, August 11)
10:00am – 3:30pm (Audition Time will be Assigned)
Atonement Lutheran Church (directions)

Current Openings:

  • Bassoon
  • Section First Violin
  • Section Second Violin
  • Section Viola
  • Section Cello
  • Section Bass
  • Section Percussion
  • Principle Horn (view horn audition info)
  • Horn Third Position (view horn audition info)
  • Auxiliary/On-Call Woodwind and Brass

Audition requirements:

  • Solo selection of your choice, between three to five minutes (no pianist provided, or required).
  • Sight reading demonstration (three excerpts provided by audition panel).
  • Horn auditions have additional requirements; click here to view horn audition info.

Additional Information:

  • Auditions are not blind.
  • Please plan to arrive with ample time to check in and warm up.
  • Memorization is not required for your solo selection.

Being a Musician with the Kansas City Civic Orchestra

KCCO is entering its 59th concert season as an all-volunteer, community-supported orchestra. Our musicians come from in and around the greater Kansas City metro and have diverse vocational backgrounds. To ensure that we continue providing high quality performances, we require that our musicians:

  • Attend rehearsals every Tuesday evening.
  • Perform in approximately seven concerts between September and May.
  • Prepare for rehearsals and concerts and play to their highest ability.

To audition, please complete the form below. If you have questions or would like additional information, please contact our music director, Christopher Kelts.


Deadline to reserve an audition time is FRIDAY, AUGUST 11, 2017

Audition Form

    If you are interesting in joining the Kansas City Civic Orchestra, please use the form below. (All fields must be completed.):


    First Name:

    * Last Name:
    * Phone:
    * Instrument:
    * Email Address:
    * Address:
    * City:
    * State:
    * Zip:

        Tell us a little about your musical experience and why you want to join the orchestra:

    KCCO Welcomes Return of Conductor Christopher Kelts

    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.