An expansion of our outreach efforts initiated by violinist Jennifer Mitchell, “Civic in the City” is a series of recitals prepared and performed in various neighborhoods around town. Debbie Allen, KCCO principal clarinetist, began the neighborhood performances with a series of four recitals in her neighborhood in June and July of 2020. There were several performances over the summer in 2021, with duos, trios, and quartets performing outdoors for appreciative audience members. Our musicians are now focused on our regular season concerts, but look for more outdoor performances next summer!
A highlight of Civic in the City is the performance of an original composition for string quartet, As The River Flows, written by our own Debbie Allen. The inspiration for the composition was watching nature unfold in all its glory while sheltering in place, at the onset of the virus. As The River Flows includes three movements: Life Endures, NatureRestores, and Water Glistens.
The Kansas City Civic Orchestra was saddened to hear of the passing of our first concertmaster, Dale M. Bryan.
Dale, a violin player, served as concertmaster from 1959 – the year of our founding – through 1966. Dale was a native of Kansas City. He graduated from Wyandotte High School in 1942. One of the accomplishments of which he was most proud was being selected concertmaster of the Kansas all-state high school orchestra festival at Emporia both his junior and senior years. It was on this return drive from Emporia his senior year that Dale learned of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. He served in the Navy during and after World War II.
Dale held a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Kansas City and a Master of Arts degree in education from UMKC. He taught in the public schools of Smithville, North Kansas City, and Park Hill High School, where he initiated the first program of stringed instrument instruction. He left Park Hill to join the music faculty at what was then Park College. In addition to serving as KCCO’s first concert master Dale was also the original concert master of the Northland Symphony. In later years he was employed in various capacities at the Kansas City Public library. Following his retirement he spent his time in private teaching, taking care of his house and grounds, and volunteering at St. Luke’s Northland Hospital.
Dale continued to play his violin until the last few years of his life. The photo at left was taken within the last few months and shows Dale with his violin – the same one he played during his time with KCCO.
Our thoughts are with Dale’s family as we mourn the loss of our fellow music lover and key figure in KCCO’s history.
You can read Dale’s complete obituary here. KCCO is grateful to David McLane Bryan, Dale’s son, for providing the recent photo of Dale and for informing us of his passing.
As we welcome our incoming board presidents this season, we would also like to acknowledge our outgoing president. Marcia Barber began as a cellist in the orchestra before joining the board. She was a member of the board for eight years and served as president for five of those years. During her time on the board Marcia made significant contributions to the growth and reach of the orchestra.
One of Marcia’s first actions on the board was to create the Friends of Civic. The Friends are a group of volunteers that supports the orchestra in its fundraising and publicity efforts and at its concerts. They are key to helping things at KCCO run smoothly! In 2013 Marcia formalized the grant and marketing committees, created the sponsorship program, and assisted the silent auction committee in tripling the size of that fundraiser. These efforts resulted in significant increases in revenue for the orchestra.
Marcia was also instrumental (pun intended!) in expanding the orchestra’s outreach efforts. In 2014 she worked with the board and music director Chris Kelts to develop and launch the Young Artist Concerto Competition, which was recently renamed in recognition of long-time orchestra member Carol Chatelain. The competition provides cultural, educational outreach to the community and supports and bolsters young musicians, giving them the opportunity to perform their concerto of choice with orchestral accompaniment at a highly attended public concert. The winner of the fourth annual competition joined KCCO for its performance at Helzberg Hall, as will this year’s winner.
Also in 2014, Marcia developed the first Instrument Petting Zoo, an event where KCCO musicians and Friends of Civic members introduce children to a variety of instruments, both teaching them about and giving them the opportunity to play the instruments. That year also saw the first KCCO concert intentionally programmed for children, featuring the Marimba Sol de Chiapas.
After the success of the petting zoo, Marcia formed an educational outreach committee – headed by Jennifer Mitchell – and charged the committee with identifying opportunities and methods for enhancing understanding and appreciation of orchestral music through special programming. In addition to taking over responsibility for the annual petting zoo, the outreach committee established a touring ensemble to reach underserved children and adults in the community. The program has been wildly successful; in 2018 it reached 3,800 children through its performances in schools, libraries, and hospitals and over 2,000 adults at its performances in centers for adults with memory challenges, developmental, and mobility issues.
KCCO is grateful for the time, effort, and talent Marcia dedicated to making the orchestra as successful as it is today, and our current co-presidents, Sheila Evans and Don Goldenbaum, look forward to continuing to make high quality orchestral music accessible to the KC metro community.
Music has always been part of Don Goldenbaum’s life. Growing up in Hampton, Virginia, Don played clarinet in the high school band and studied violin privately with Elizabeth Chapman, concertmistress of a local community orchestra. Later, in college, he studied for a year with Dr. Myron Kartman, eventual chair of the strings program at Northwestern University.
The two summers before leaving for college, Don played professionally in the pit orchestra of The Common Glory, a nightly outdoor pageant in Williamsburg, VA. Those two season-long exposures to daily (nightly) life as a musician, performing as a teen with big-city pros whose lives appeared to revolve entirely around music, convinced him that for him the violin would be an avocation rather than a vocation.
Instead of pursuing a musical career, Don got a B.A. in psychology and math from Antioch and an M.A. in philosophy and Ph.D. in Educational Research from Indiana University. While attending Indiana’s grad school, though not as a conservatory student, he enjoyed accompanying flute and voice majors during their senior recitals on classical guitar.
Shortly after moving to Kansas City in 1975, Don served as principal second violin in the KC Civic Orchestra under Glen Block, and later, was concertmaster of the Overland Park Orchestra and the Medical Arts Symphony. He plays violin today in the Kinnor Philharmonic and plays viola in KCCO’s viola section. A high point of his current musical life involves teaming with three other members of KCCO to introduce stringed instruments and musical ideas to young children in local schools, hospitals, and libraries as part of the orchestra’s musical outreach program.
Having music as a serious hobby allows day-job flexibility. Don followed a stint as a Senior Systems Analyst at KC’s Midwest Research Institute by eventually launching and running a technical writing and documentation firm, Applied Communications Group, providing onsite, IT- and manufacturing-related writing services to Sprint, Marion Labs, Burlington Northern Railroad, Bayer Animal Health, and other firms. Other positions included Executive Director of Johnson County Community College’s Business and Industry Institute, Vice President for Research at the Greater KC Community Foundation, and Vice President of the Kansas City Regional Council for Higher Education. As a freelance consultant, he designed instructional board games on technical and management subjects that training firms used in their commercial seminars and evaluated federally-funded programs for local colleges. Currently, he is a national reviewer of research-grant proposals for the National Endowment for the Arts.
Now serving as co-president of KCCO’s board, his earlier community involvement has included being on the boards of The Children’s Place, Carondelet Healthcare, and The Center for Practical Bioethics.
Don and his wife, Sally – a novelist – have three children, Todd, Aria, and Daniel, and six grandchildren, all of whom live much too far from Kansas City.
For our 2018-2019 season, KCCO is welcoming a new board member! Sheila Evans will act as co-president with Don Goldenbaum until Don departs for the north in January, after which Sheila will act as president.
Sheila Evans has a 360 degree view of the arts, having been a performer, board member, chairperson, funder, and Executive Director.
Sheila was most recently Executive Director of the Allentown Symphony Association, in Allentown, Pennsylvania. In that role, she quadrupled the number of performances in Miller Symphony Hall—including Symphony, Jazz, Dance, Children’s Theater, and popular performances; led a $6m fund raising drive in order to eliminate debt for the Hall and fund new improvements for the 120-year-old historic hall; founded the El Sistema Lehigh Valley program with other community leaders to create musical and life opportunities for at-risk students in the Allentown Public Schools; and was recognized by the Allentown Human Relations Council with a Diversity and Inclusion Award—recognizing Diversity of performers; staff, and programming.
Sheila was recognized in 2016 as a “Woman of Influence” in the Lehigh Valley. She received a “Gateway to Equity Award” from the Allentown American Association of University Women in 2013. She served as a member of the Allentown Arts Commission from 2011-2017 and as a member of the Pennsylvania Council of the Arts grant making body for multiple years. Sheila is also a member of the Muhlenberg College Board of Associates and the Allentown Rotary.
Jazz has been a part of Sheila’s life since she moved to Detroit in 1973 as a violin student of Mischa Mischakoff – concertmaster to Toscanini and of the Philadelphia and Detroit Symphonies. While a student in Detroit, Sheila discovered her love of jazz at Baker’s Keyboard Lounge. George Benson was the first performer that she heard there – and she was hooked.
After several years as a violinist with the Omaha Symphony, Sheila decided to pursue an MBA in Marketing and Finance at Arizona State University – following which she returned to Detroit to launch a 20+ year career in telecommunications in Detroit, New Jersey, and finally in Kansas City. While in Kansas City she was a board member and then Chairperson of the Lyric Opera of Kansas City. She returned to the musical life in 2009 as the Executive Director of the Allentown Symphony Association.
Sheila has three children – Ruth, an Editor at Getty Publications in Los Angeles, Nathan, a jazz trombonist and composer in Buenos Aires, and Matt, white water guide and restaurateur in Gunnison, Colorado. She has been married for three years to Robert Cort, who makes her life possible.
This summer Sheila returned to Kansas City, where she will continue her tradition of community involvement and support for the arts as co-president and then president of the board of the Kansas City Civic Orchestra. She and her husband Bob are looking forward to re-engaging with Kansas City music (and sports) as both participants and audience members.
Saturday June 9th marked an incredibly sad day for us at KCCO. We lost our dear friend and concertmaster of 43 years, Carol Chatelain.
Carol loved the orchestra and was an inspiration to so many of us. We were truly fortunate to have had her among us for so many years, and we will miss her terribly.
In the words of our Music Director, Chris Kelts, “May the memory of Carol Chatelain be a blessing.”
Carol Chatelain has been a member of the Kansas City Civic Orchestra since 1972 and has served as its concertmaster since 1975. She has also been a member of the orchestra’s board for more than 30 years.
A native of Lewis, Kan., Chatelain is a graduate of Kansas University, where she received bachelor’s degrees in violin performance and music education, and a master’s degree in music education. She taught music in public schools for 31 years, retiring from the Shawnee Mission school district in 1994. Chatelain’s other musical activities include playing with the Kinnor Philharmonic Orchestra and the Harvest String Quartet, with which she has played for over 30 years. She has also been a member of the Overland Park Orchestra, St. Joseph Symphony, Heritage Symphony, Northland Symphony, Philharmonia Orchestra, and the Medical Arts Symphony.
Carol is married to Richard (Dick) Chatelain, who plays tuba with KCCO, and she has two daughters and one grandson. Carol and Dick are season ticket holders for the Kansas City Symphony, avid KU basketball fans, and proud parents of a miniature dachshund named Heidi. Carol says the Kansas City Civic Orchestra has been a big part of her life and the source of many friendships. “I hope I have many more notes to play with them,” Carol says.
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.
[toggle title=”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. – A KCCO Orchestra Member”] 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.[/toggle]
[toggle title=”Music has shown me that deep down we are all the same, and that a universal language does exist. – Devon Ray, Bass”] 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.[/toggle]
[toggle title=”Music is one of the few things in my life that I do that is just a part of me …it feeds a part of my soul. – Catherine Keating, Violin”] 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.[/toggle]
[toggle title=”Music is my life; it brings a great sweep of emotions as I listen and perform. I share that with others… – Bruce Williams, Second Principle Violin”] 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.[/toggle]
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.
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.
Kansas City Civic Orchestra
PO Box 224
Shawnee Mission, KS 66201