"Living Your Dreams In Performing & Visual Arts"

January 11, 2007

Springfield News Sun

Program honoring King takes symphony to people



Program honoring King takes symphony to people

Performance at St. John Missionary Baptist Church will be rare appearance outside Kuss Auditorium.

By Andrew McGinn

Staff Writer

Thursday, January 11, 2007


Peter Stafford Wilson had a dream to introduce the Springfield Symphony Orchestra to, well, all of Springfield.

The conductor will get his wish when the SSO makes a rare appearance outside of Kuss Auditorium on Sunday.

Teaming with the 92-voice Muzika Community Gospel Choir, the symphony will undertake a special concert in St. John Missionary Baptist Church to honor the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

"An event like this is more than a marketing tool," Wilson said. "The reality is, a celebration like this is a reminder that we all live in this community together, and together we make it strong."

The seeds of the collaboration were planted in 2004 when the symphony performed a gospel-flavored holiday concert.

"We wanted to take the next step," Wilson said. "We wanted to take it out of Kuss Auditorium."

That was a smart move in the eyes of Arlin "Par" Tolliver, who assembled the choir that will represent 20 churches.

"They will be able to appeal to a different segment that may not have ever come to Kuss Auditorium," he said.

The program includes everything from the last movement of Mendelssohn's "Reformation Symphony" and nearly a dozen gospel favorites, including "We Shall Overcome," to an original piece by trombonist Ian Polster, "Fragments of Memory April 4, 1968."

But the big draw should be seeing, in the words of Wilson, "two seemingly diverse segments of the community coming together."

Pretty sure that was someone else's dream, too.


MLK tribute concert

The Springfield Symphony Orchestra honors the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. at 7 p.m. Sunday in St. John Missionary Baptist Church, 34 W. Pleasant St. Tickets are $12; $8 for students and seniors. Call 325-8100 or go to springfieldsym.org.



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