Advanced orchestra students perform at Kauffman Center


Mara Gee, Reporter

Chamber orchestra was invited by Russ Pieken, director of operations for the Youth Symphony of Kansas City (YSKC), to perform at the Kansas City Classic Orchestra Festival on March 27 in Helzberg Hall of the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.

“The youth symphony wanted a non-adjudicated festival for orchestras to play for each other in a no competition environment with an opportunity to play in a $4 million facility,” Greg Ferguson, orchestra director, said. “This is the first time the YSKC has sponsored anything like this.”

The YSKC chose two orchestras from Kansas and two from Missouri that “they consider some of the best” students orchestras in the K.C. metro area, Ferguson said.

Members of the orchestra rehearsed during first hour and loaded a school bus at 9:15a.m. The orchestra arrived the Kauffman in time to watch the Lawrence High School String Orchestra perform.

Chamber prepared two pieces for their 5p.m. performance: “Of Glorious Plumage” by Richard Meyer and the first movement of the “Holberg Suite, Op. 40” by Edvard Grieg.

Chamber members were able to “vote on which pieces [they] liked best,” Emily Harrison, junior, said.

Most orchestras performed three to five pieces. After each performance, orchestras participated in a clinic with Steven Davis, conductor of the Youth Symphony of Kansas City’s Symphony Orchestra.

Right after the performance Davis “turned to me and said ‘that was one of the most musical performances of the day. And I never say that,’” Ferguson said.

Even though the festival was not a competition, judges made voice recordings during the performances to give the orchestras feedback before actual competition time.

“The judges were very complimentary of the group,” Ferguson said.