‘Classics in South Park’ concert to feature Free State chamber orchestra

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The Lawrence-based nonprofit Mid-America Performing Arts Alliance will open its 2023-24 season Tuesday evening with “Classics in South Park.”

The event will feature the Free State High School Chamber Orchestra led by guest conductor Jesse Henkensiefken, executive director of MAPAA.

The FSHS orchestra will perform at 6 p.m., followed by the MAPAA Jazz Trio at 6:30 and Ensemble Ibérica at 7 p.m. The ensemble will showcase new flamenco choreography set to the music of iconic Spanish composer Manuel de Falla, according to a news release from MAPAA.

Organizers anticipate a presence onsite from Kansas Public Radio, Lawrence Arts Center, Beautiful Music, Limestone Community School, Woodlawn Elementary, Lawrence Children’s Choir and Cantemos Youth Chorale, “as well as delicious treats from our local food vendors including Mattie’s Roll-N-Wok and Kona Ice,” according to the release. There will be face painting and arts activities, as well.

The event is set for Tuesday, Oct. 3 at the South Park gazebo in downtown Lawrence. It is free and open to the public. MAPAA encourages those who come to bring family, friends and lawn chairs.

The season opener is a celebration of MAPAA’s newly launched Inspiring Strings Project, which gives underserved youths the opportunity to study violin free of charge, according to the release.

“The Inspiring Strings Project speaks to the heart of the MAPAA mission as it will not only teach students musical concepts, but also a range of social and emotional communication skills and invaluable lessons on perseverance and the product of hard work,” according to the release. “It will strengthen math and ELA skills and provide an opportunity for broadening the range of cultural and historical practices. Being exposed to ensemble music at a younger age without any financial commitment will also get children exposure to possible future opportunities in the arts that might never be afforded to them otherwise. It will also help their future middle school ensembles achieve a higher level of success having already had several years of instruction.”

The project is funded by Jeff and Mary Weinberg and the Midco Foundation, according to the release.

Learn more about MAPAA on its website, mapaa.org.

Here’s a flyer that offers a sneak peek at the rest of MAPAA’s season:


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