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