Springfield Symphony reflects and celebrates 50 years of Young People’s Concerts

Springfield Symphony Orchestra
Young People’s Concerts


Date:  January 24, 2020                                                                                                         Contact:  Lexi Locke

For Immediate Release                                                                                                       Phone:  417.864.6683

Photos Available Upon Request                                                                                           Cell:  417.860.9690

Fax:  417.864.8967


Springfield Symphony reflects and celebrates 50 years of Young People’s Concerts

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – The Springfield Symphony will perform its 50th annual Young People’s Concerts on Tuesday, January 28, 2020 for over 3,000 fourth grade students from all Springfield R-12 district schools, 50 area and rural school districts, private, parochial and home schools.  In honor of the Symphony’s 50 years providing Young People’s Concerts, Springfield Symphony musician Starla Blair shared her experience of the concerts when she began performing as a high schooler in the late 1970’s.

Blair is currently the Director of the Suzuki Violin program at Evangel University and has played with the Springfield Symphony for over 40 years. “The earliest [Young People’s Concerts] I can remember was with Conductor Charles Bontrager in the late 70s,” said Blair.  “Back then, we played at the Central High School auditorium and later moved to Evangel University’s chapel. The early years I remember we performed Benjamin Britten’s Young People’s Guide to the Orchestra to introduce students to various instruments and get them interested in their music programs within the public schools. The program has evolved and changed over the year with different conductors; showing how classical music can be used in various ways and tell a story.”

“We had a conductor for the concerts for a while that would show how music was used in operas and tell storylines with finger puppets,” Blair reflected. “The conductor would show a scene [for the students] through those puppets and then turn around to the orchestra and we would play an aria from Puccini’s opera. We have shown through our Young People’s Concerts how music is an integral part of telling a story to relate to the kids.”

Blair also stated “My favorite part of the Young People’s Concerts is to see kids so excited about the pieces. A lot of [the students] come out encouraged, where they start taking lessons on various instruments, and a lot of them go on to become a part of our Symphony. I think it has been really good to show these kids and see their excitement during the concerts. That is the greatest thrill of all of it.”

This year, students will experience the musical program Go Ask Google: A Musical Adventure Through the Internet, including the works of The Greatest Showman and Star Wars to Rossini’s Barber of Seville Overture and Grieg’s Hall of the Mountain King. Two concerts will be performed on January 28, 2020 in Springfield, MO at High Street Baptist Church.  The Young People’s Concerts are sponsored by the Stanley and Elaine Ball Foundation, the Schneider Family Foundation, US Bank, and 3M Foundation. The Young People’s Concerts are one of the many arts program in Springfield associated with The Kennedy Center’s Any Given Child Initiative. For more information on the Springfield Symphony education and outreach programming, call the Symphony office at 417-864-6683.

The Springfield Symphony Orchestra is a non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation and an Equal Opportunity Employer. Additional funding for all Springfield Symphony Orchestra programming is provided by the Missouri Arts Council, a state agency.  For more information, visit www.springfieldmosymphony.org or www.facebook.com/springfieldsymphony.