CSU Philharmonic Orchestra to Perform with Kansas

COLUMBUS, Ga. — Columbus State University classical musicians and concertgoers will experience an unusual collaboration when the 2011 Kansas Collegiate Symphony Tour stops in Columbus.

One of the 1970s’ most popular bands and a fixture among classic rock artists, Kansas will perform with the CSU Philharmonic Orchestra at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 1 in RiverCenter’s Bill Heard Theatre.

Philharmonic Conductor Paul Hostetter, the Ethel Foley Distinguished Chair for Orchestral Activities in CSU’s Schwob School of Music, said he is excited about working with Kansas and veteran conductor Larry Baird, who has arranged, orchestrated, conducted and performed with hundreds of orchestras and artists throughout the world.

“This is an excellent opportunity for the CSU Philharmonic to perform with another conductor whom I have worked with in the past and who has my deep respect,” Hostetter said. “Kansas has been tremendously influential as a seminal rock band. This interaction will give our students a firsthand perspective on the evolution of rock and roll.” 

Hostetter also said the concert will allow the Schwob school and his orchestra to reach new audiences. “This fits into our long-term plans for outreach into our community,” he said. “There are so many wins for everyone with this sort of project.”

Phil Ehart, Kansas’ original drummer, said the group is enjoying its collegiate tour, now in its second year. “Kansas and all the school symphonies just hit it off big time,” he said. “The only people having more fun than us were all the students playing on stage with us.”

The idea for the tour came from Kansas’ recent DVD, There’s Know Place Like Home, where the veteran rock band teamed up with the Washburn University Orchestra of Topeka, the band’s Kansas hometown. The group took the idea on the road last year. The concerts, designed to raise awareness and funds for collegiate music programs, were deemed successful and prompted the 2011 tour, sponsored by D’Addario & Co., a major musical instrument manufacturer.

CSU benefits from the Oct. 1 show by collecting a portion of ticket sales, which will defray the cost of producing future Schwob School of Music concerts.

After its self-titled first album was released in 1974, Kansas went on to become one of the decade’s most popular rock acts — issuing albums such as 1976’s Leftoverture and 1977’s Point of Know Return, along with the hit singles “Carry On Wayward Son,” “Dust In the Wind” and “Point of Know Return.”

The band, in addition to Ehart, is comprised of singer-keyboardist Steve Walsh, guitarist Rich Williams, bassist Billy Greer and violinist David Ragsdale.

Tickets are on sale and cost $26.50 for rear balcony, $36.50 for middle balcony and $46.50 for orchestra seats. Call the RiverCenter box office at 706-256-3612 or visit http://RiverCenter.org.