Symphonic concert wows audience

Joe Thomas, junior secondary education major, performs Rhapsody in Blue, as part of the orchestra´s concert Feb. 26.

Joe Thomas, junior secondary education major, performs “Rhapsody in Blue,” as part of the orchestra´s concert Feb. 26.

Taylor Auditorium was popping Feb. 26.

The Missouri Southern Symphonic Orchestra played its first pops concert Feb. 26. Carl Junction High School’s concert band performed first.

Rusty Raymond, director of bands, said the concert fulfills different purposes for the band.

“Number one, it gives our students an opportunity to learn more literature,” Raymond said.

He said the concert also served as a recruiting tool for area high school students who had the chance to play on stage before the symphonic band.

“Those high school students can envision what it’s like to be a performer here at Missouri Southern,” Raymond said. “And parents can see the transition of what students in a high school band sound like and what they sound like when they progress and become a university group.”

CJHS’s Concert Band performed before Southern’s symphonic band. CJHS performed songs that included “Under an Irish Sky” and “Shenandoah.”

Raymond said Southern chose CJHS to perform during the concert based on several reasons.

“Number one, it’s one of the area schools we try to recruit from, and number two, two of our graduates teach there,” Raymond said. “Like I mentioned to the audience during the concert, we want our graduates to know that after they leave here, that the University is still here for them and still supports them.”

Audience members enjoyed both bands during the concert.

“It was very well played,” said Sean Wilson, senior elementary education major. “They put a lot of work into it, and they did really good.”

Wilson said it is a good idea for the University to hold a pops concert, because it gives the symphonic band a chance to “warm up” before its big concert at the end of the semester. Raymond defined a pops concert as a performance where the band plays music the audience recognizes.

“The music that we chose, ‘Rhapsody in Blue,’ is familiar to almost everyone,” he said. “The same goes for ‘Bugler’s Holiday.’ It tends to be more lighter style music than what we would normally program for regular spring concerts.”

“Rhapsody in Blue,” written by George Gershwin, featured Joel Thomas, junior secondary education major, on piano along with Britney Parker, junior secondary education major, on the clarinet during the opening solo.

“I really got into ‘Rhapsody in Blue,'” Wilson said. “It’s a good chart. A lot of stuff was added with the piano.”

The band also performed selections from the musical Chicago that included “My Own Best Friend,” “Razzle” and “All That Jazz.”

Raymond said he is not sure why Southern never had a pops concert before but plans to make the concert a yearly event.