It’s been almost forty years since a Lee’s Summit High School orchestra teacher noticed a Raytown student with extraordinary musical talent, and a “mutual admiration society” between Russ Berlin and Kirt Mosier has only grown stronger.  Berlin, co-founder and conductor of the Lee’s Summit Symphony Orchestra, will share duties with Mosier, who has been named Associate Conductor for the upcoming 16th season.

Russ Berlin has paved the way for Kirt Mosier’s career ever since Russ moved from LSHS to teach in the new LSNHS and Mosier succeeded him at the original high school; in fact, Mosier considers him one of three father figures in his life.  More recently, Kirt led the orchestral program at LS West, retiring last year.  He is also a renowned composer, arranger, clinician and performer whose stellar career is described more fully at  Berlin put the R-7 school orchestra programs on the map before retiring and starting the adult Lee’s Summit Symphony, and Mosier and others have continued that legacy of excellence.

During the LSSO’s next season, which begins on October 13th, the two will share conducting duties.  Mosier is especially looking forward to the pops concert he’s planning around the theme of an old USO show, for which he hopes to sell 1,600 tickets.  He praises the quality of the orchestra and hopes to help continue its growth by contributing special arrangements and occasional original compositions.  Listeners can expect to hear an occasional modern number and for concerts to be “events” following the orchestra’s move to The Pavilion at John Knox Village.

Russ Berlin admits to having little pangs of sadness about the inevitable decrease in his own participation, but with a generosity of spirit he says the orchestra will only continue getting stronger under the shared leadership with Kirt Mosier.  It’s a forty-year friendship, after all.

–Carol Rothwell

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