Positive changes are part of the musical score for the 85th season of the Sedalia Symphony Orchestra.

The symphony is moving performances from Monday evening to Sunday afternoon and concerts will be more reflective of the Sedalia Symphony’s identity. The first performance of the season will be Sunday.

“There is a lot that’s changing this year with the symphony,” Conductor Luke Lyons said during rehearsal Monday evening. “I think probably the biggest change will be the Sunday time.”

He added that a Sunday afternoon performance was more feasible for patrons due to possible winter weather and families who have children in school.

“We have an older generation that comes out, and 7:30 on a Monday night when your concert goes to 10 p.m., especially in the winter, is just not worth coming out (for them),” he noted. “Then, you have kids who have school. I wanted to make it more accessible to a wider audience.

“Sedalia has a very large community that goes to church,” he continued. “I didn’t want to put it on Sunday night or too early in the morning. It gives enough time for people to go to church and have their lunch and then come in and enjoy the concert. Then, if they go to church on Sunday night they have time to do that as well.”

Lyons, who is beginning his second year as the Sedalia conductor, said when he came on board he had many ideas for advancing the symphony.

“I said some of these are going to work and some aren’t but we’ve got to start trying them,” he added. “This is one of those things I wanted to try out, and we’ll see how it goes.”

The second big change for concerts this year is centering performances around the local symphony.

“We are the Sedalia Symphony, so when people come to our concerts I want them to leave feeling like they came to our concert and not somebody else’s,” Lyons said. “We had some really great guest artists here and I look forward to bringing in some more.

“But, one of the things I really want to start doing is incorporating the guest artists into the symphony,” he continued. “So, I think this first concert is probably the prime example of that.”

The first concert this season will feature the symphony along with local vocal music. Sunday’s concert will offer “The Swan of Tuonela” and feature Edward Toderescu-Stavila, of Sedalia, on English horn. Following this piece, a quartet of soloists featuring Sedalian Candice Edwards plus Lisa Marie Blake, Noah Lyons and Michael Payne will perform Mozart’s “Requiem in D Minor” with the symphony. They will be accompanied by the Sedalia Chorale, the Sedalia Messiah Chorus and a chamber chorus of singers from Missouri State University.

“This year … given that it’s our 85th year, I really wanted to bring the importance of this ensemble and what it brings to the community to the forefront,” Lyons explained. “The best way we can do that is to feature what we have right here.

“We have such a large, thriving music community in Sedalia, that finding people to participate in this was simple,” he continued. “Everybody wanted to do it. They’re super excited about it and it’s just a chance to showcase the different musical styles that can be incorporated into symphonic works.”

Lyons said Britt Faaborg and Cheryl McCollister have been working with the choir.

“Britt’s been great, he’s given a portion of the Chorale’s rehearsal time to do this,” Lyons said. “It’s a really good relationship. This is bringing those different musical aspects that Sedalia has, together in a way that’s kind of unique.”

The concert will open with selections from Leonard Bernstein’s “West Side Story.”

“It’s one of those things where tradition is something I love,” he noted. “Because it makes us who we are, but at the same time it’s something that’s meant to be broken. We don’t want to get stuck in a rut.

“So, opening the concert with ‘West Side Story,’ I hope people notice it’s sort of a nod to maintaining that musical/theatre/pop number.”

Additional performances this season include a Christmas Pop’s Concert Dec. 2, Handel’s “Messiah” Dec. 8, the Sedalia Symphony with Robert Koffman and Sedalia string students March 8, and the Sedalia Symphony with Lian Ojakangas on violin April 26.

The Sedalia Symphony Orchestra will perform at 3 p.m. Sunday at Smith-Cotton High School Heckart Performing Arts Center, 2010 Tiger Pride Blvd. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased at the door or at sedaliasymphonyorchestra.com/tickets.

Arts & Entertainment Reporter

Faith Bemiss is a reporter for the Sedalia Democrat, covering general assignment, arts, food and entertainment stories. She can be reached at 660-530-0289.

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