The Sedalia Symphony Orchestra will continue a 72-year-old tradition Monday night when it opens its season of classical music with The Abaca String Band as a guest.
The 73rd season will start at 7:30 p.m. at Smith-Cotton High School Auditorium, where the orchestra will play a mix of popular and classical music.
Harold Johnston has been a member of the symphony since the 1950s and the conductor since 1980.
The Abaca String Band from New York City is a �very talented group of players,� Johnston said. The group is a quintet of an eight-string guitar, mandolin, violin, viola and double bass, and it has performed in places such as the White House and the Lincoln Center.
Assistant conductor Gwendolyn Kappelman said the audience should expect a performance on the same level of one available in a big city.
�We hope to see a good performance from the symphony; we�ll be playing two movements of �Beethoven�s Symphony No. 2� and highlights from (�Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man�s Chest�),� Kappelman said. �The Abaca String Band is a prestigious band, and it should be a great show. It�s a show that the audience would expect to see in Kansas City.�
After the orchestra plays, the Abaca String Band will perform classical pieces from Antonio Vivaldi to George Fredric Handel. The band will finish with a pair of Duke Ellington pieces, and afterward there will be a reception in the school�s cafeteria.
Johnston said that members of the symphony have slowly spread out across the area since the first season, and now they come from as far as Blue Springs and Columbia to perform.
Johnston said the roughly 50-member orchestra, which is half the size of a city orchestra, features a mix of veteran and younger, high school instrumentalists.
�We always try have a mix of adults and young people, high school kids, who are capable, and we try to use them whenever possible,� he said. �Most are not going to be music majors, but they are playing and we encourage that.�
The 73rd season will also feature performances in December of Handel�s Messiah and the Christmas pops concert of holiday music and symphony singers.
As the season runs into 2008, guest Stella Dayrit Roden, an accomplished soprano and assistant professor of voice at the University of Central Missouri, will perform March 3. On April 21, the harp and flute duo of Megan Meisenbach, flutist, and Mary Golden, harpist, will perform, combining the tones of the harp and flute.
Johnston said they society is already starting to consider guests for the 74th and 75th season.
�We�re beginning to look forward to the 75th season,� said Johnston who said 75 years of the Sedalia Symphony Orchestra should be celebrated.