The Kansas City area has a rich music scene, capped by the Kansas City Symphony and its performances at the beautiful Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.  Several times a year, many of us suburbanites happily drive downtown, find a parking spot and pay premium prices for the privilege of hearing one of America’s outstanding professional symphonies.

It’s a special experience, but there are alternatives for those who aren’t sure whether you’d like the music, feel it’s too much to invest, or have other barriers to attending the KC Symphony.  There are at least four community orchestras in the metro area offering low-cost performances, often playing some of the same repertoire as the professional orchestra.  Somewhat akin to a minor league sports team, community orchestras offer a place for emerging and local musicians to play high-quality music while perhaps pursuing a professional career in a completely different field.  The performance venues may not be as glamorous but the parking is probably free!

Communities with local orchestras enjoy an economic boost, not only from the actual performances but also the fact that businesses and highly educated workforces look for cultural opportunities when selecting a location.  Musicians and small ensembles from the local orchestra are also available to perform at special events, at reasonable prices.

One outstanding area orchestra is the Lee’s Summit Symphony which enters its 17th season on September 21 with “Intergalactic Reunion:  A Return to the Mothership,” a concert featuring space-themed music and video settings.  Co-directors Russell Berlin and Kirt Mosier have assembled a challenging program including the Fanfare from “Also Sprach Zarathustra,” made famous in the 2001 “Space Odyssey”; Hovhaness’s “Vision of Andromeda”;  and Jupiter from “The Planets” by Holst.  Several former Lee’s Summit musicians will join the symphony for their actual “Return to the Mothership” to conclude the concert.

Season tickets are $67, a savings of $15 over the course of the season (plus $2 handling if purchased online at, and individual concert tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for students 18 and under.  Students in 4th, 5th, and 6th grades are admitted FREE with an adult admission.  Tickets are available at Lee’s Summit Hy-Vee stores and Cosentino’s Price Choppers, as well as at the door.  Performances are at 7:00 pm at The Pavilion at John Knox Village.

Support our community orchestras.  The Lee’s Summit Symphony invites you on September 21 to “Experience the Sound!”

–Carol Rothwell

CategoriesCommunity News

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