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


KCCO Outreach Activities Update (Summer 2017)

April was a busy month for KCCO’s Don Goldenbaum and Jennifer Mitchell as they performed for and interacted with 245 elementary students at three local schools: Sunflower Elementary School in Shawnee Mission and, in Missouri, the Woodland Early Learning Center and Scuola Vita Nuova.

Don and Jennifer’s school program includes a free, 30-45 minute violin/viola demo in which they explain differences between the two instruments and play kid-friendly selections. In addition, they have recently added a new “Seeing the Symphony” section that gives young students a behind-the-scenes look at how an orchestra works. During this part of the program they illustrate what conductors and concertmasters do, explain why there are more instruments of some kinds onstage than of others, and talk about how symphony concerts differ from other kinds of performances.

Both sections of the school sessions are highly interactive. They include playing lots of “kid friendly” tunes, such as some familiar classical and movie themes, as well as accompanying students as they sing songs they know, and giving each child a chance to help play one of the instruments and/or conduct as Jennifer and Don play.

Contact KCCO if you would like to invite Don and Jennifer to play for your students (at no charge to your school).

The quality of cultural involvement that Jennifer provides our individuals is out of this world and far beyond our expectations of what musical inclusion should look like. – Tiffany Hanna, Johnson County Developmental Supports

In addition to these youth-focused programs, Jennifer also performs regularly at six adult residential care facilities for adults with particular physical and mental needs. In 2016 alone, she played 66 such solo sessions at over a dozen different local care facilities. Many of her volunteer sessions are for Alzheimer’s patients. For those who are no longer able to carry on a conversation or answer simple questions, sometimes music is the only voice left to them. Their faces light up when they recognize what they’re hearing, and they can often sing the words of old familiar tunes!

Learn more about our outreach programs here, or contact us for more information or to schedule an outreach event.