Free State High School orchestra selected to perform in esteemed festival

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Free State High School orchestra members have been selected to perform in an annual festival with youth orchestras from across Kansas and Missouri. 

The Free State High School Philharmonic/Symphonic Combined Orchestra will participate in the 4th Annual Kansas City Classic Orchestra and Band Festival at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, presented by Youth Symphony of Kansas City

“This nomination is of the highest of honors for a high school orchestra program to receive, and I hope our community will join me in both congratulating and supporting these talented and hard working Lawrence students by attending our performance,” Free State Orchestra Director Judy Erpelding said via email.

Judy Erpelding

“Students have been studying and rehearsing the literature they will be performing at the Kauffman Center for the past six months and are excited to share their performance with both the Kansas City and Lawrence Communities.”

Through the festival, more than 400 young musicians from talented high school orchestra and band programs in Missouri and Kansas join with Youth Symphony of Kansas City ensembles for a day of free live music, according to the Youth Symphony of Kansas City website.

Erpelding said the Free State Philharmonic/Symphonic Combined Orchestra was chosen for the honor after receiving perfect scores from all three judges at the 2022 KSHSAA State Large Group festival in April last year. They then attended Worlds of Fun Music in the Parks Festival in the following weeks, where they won first place in the String Orchestras category and were chosen as the overall winner of the festival. 

The concert is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 7 at Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts’s Helzberg Hall, 1601 Broadway Blvd. in Kansas City, Missouri. It should last approximately two hours, Erpelding said.

Free State will perform with Olathe East High School Chamber Orchestra, Staley High School Falcon Philharmonia, and Youth Symphony of Kansas City Academy Orchestra, according to the Kauffman Center website. Other high school ensembles who will perform with Youth Symphony of Kansas City Symphony Orchestra in a 1 p.m. concert include Lee’s Summit High School Symphonic Band, North Kansas City High School Wind Ensemble, and Olathe East High School Wind Ensemble.

Tickets are free but are required to be reserved in advance. Attendees can choose to reserve a parking spot in the Arts District Garage by purchasing a $10 parking pass after selecting tickets. Visit the Kauffman Center website to reserve tickets. As of Thursday afternoon, only seats in the mezzanine were available for selection on the website.

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Maya Hodison (she/her), equity reporter, can be reached at mhodison (at) lawrencekstimes (dot) com. Read more of her work for the Times here. Check out her staff bio here.

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