Orchestra fundraiser kicks off


The second annual “Be a Maestro” silent auction is now underway.

“Be a Maestro” began last year as an opportunity to raise money for the Missouri Southern orchestra. 

The winner was Jeff Skibbe, general manager of KXMS radio.

“We didn’t get a lot of bids last year,” said Kexi Liu, professor and director of orchestra, strings and music. 

“We hope to get more this year. He was the only one actually. This year I already heard several people express interest and they’re waiting to bid … because the cutoff date is Dec. 17.”

Liu believes the lack of bids last year is due to a lack of publicity.

“I think this one will be a good fundraising effort. I believe … when more people get to know this program, I believe there will be more interest out there.”

Skibbe said he conducted his first orchestra at the age of nine. 

He was given the podium during two pages of rests.

“I eventually caught on that I had not seen a single note of music after two pages of score,” he said in a statement to The Chart. 

“Finally, I said, ‘Wait a minute, when do you come in?’ Everyone laughed.” 

This moment still inspired him to become a conductor. Skibbe even took training in music, but decided to work in radio instead. 

When the opportunity to conduct the Missouri Southern ocrestra presented itself, Skibbe jumped on the opportunity.

“In my radio career, I have worked with orchestras as both board member and more often as narrator/speaker,” Skibbe said. “But my training in undergraduate conducting class finally came in handy when the ‘Be A Maestro’ opportunity arose here at Missouri Southern State University. 

“Returning to the podium was exhilarating,” he said. “Rehearsals went smoothly with the attentive and responsive musicians of the Southern Symphony Orchestra. The Slavonic Dance, Op. 72/2 has more than a few dynamic changes and varying tempos, but as the video of the concert shows, the orchestra followed closely those dynamics and tempos I managed to convey with my oversized baton from high school.”

Liu said participants do not need a musical training or background to participate in the event. 

“Anyone who loves music and wants to support the fine arts in the four state area can participate,” Liu said.

Starting bids are $500. All bids must rise in $100 increments. Questions or bids can be directed to Liu at 625-9681.