In late October, 45 MU students and faculty attended the Kansas City Symphony concert featuring Shostakovich's Violin Conceto No. 1 and Dvorak's Symphony No. 8. Thanks to a generous gift to the College of Arts & Science by a Marching Mizzou alum and his wife, the group was able to travel to and from KC on a coach, have dinner together, and attend the concert at the beautiful Kauffman Performing Arts Center. Invitations were sent out to specific groups of students taken as suggestions from the donors: both music and non-music majors, and of course, Marching Mizzou participants. Don Flora and Janet Stallmeyer are long time Kansas City residents and avid fans and supporters of the KC symphony. Dean Okker and Dr. Gaines met with them and Frank Byrne, Executive Director of the Kansas City Symphony, to discuss some options for bringing MU students and the KC Symphony together. It was decided to bring MU to KC!
After eating a great dinner at the Yard House in the Power & Light District, the group arrived early enough at Helzberg Hall in the Kauffman Center to hear the pre-concert lecture by the conductor, Michael Stern, and clarinetist and bass clarinetist, John Klinghammer. They discussed the challenges of the music soon to be performed and the process the orchestra went through to learn the music the prior week. The Shostakovich Violin Concerto featured Mayu Kishima, who had recently won an inaugural violin competition in memory of the conductor's famed father, Isaac Stern in Shanghai. Michael talked about how his Dad hated competitions when he was alive but somehow Michael and his family thought this would still be a great opportunity to honor him. Mayu was the first-prize winner of this competition.
The seats for the group reservation were located in the choral loft behind the orchestra and gave a stunning view of the conductor throughout the performance. Some comments regarding this visual perspective are provided by two students below:
“This KC symphony experience was a fantastic one and I would definitely go back if I ever had the opportunity. Being able to sit behind the symphony, facing the conductor was a quite interesting perspective. Overall I am quite impressed with the performance by the KC Symphony and the building all together.” Lukas McGuire
“The violinist’s solo was absolutely breathtaking. She played so intricately and quickly that it would put me in a trance….I really liked listening to the preconcert lecture before I heard the music so I could know what to listen for and to understand the background to some of the pieces. Also, watching the performance from behind the symphony was an interesting viewpoint that added a new emotion by watching the conductor and his facial expressions cue all of the performers with their music.” Rachel Norman