Many people have heard of the band Kansas and some of their top hits, “Dust in the Wind,” “Carry on My Wayward Son” and “Point of No Return.” The band became popular in the 1970s, but have remained well-known, playing sold-out concerts all around the world. In September 2010, they started their “Symphony Rocks” collegiate tour, where they perform their songs with college orchestras.
When music professor Bryce Seliger heard about this, she knew that she had to get Kansas to perform with the Pacific University Philharmonic Orchestra.
“The idea of this collaboration with Kansas came about when I was beginning to perform ‘A Study of Rock Music for Orchestra,’” said Seliger. “I came across an article that Kansas had performed with a college orchestra a few years ago and then I tracked down information that they had done so with several orchestras. I contacted their management and we went from there.”
Seliger has directed the orchestra since she started teaching at Pacific seven years ago. In that short time period, Seliger built the orchestra from the ground up, earning multiple awards and recognitions from across the nation.
Although it took a lot of hard work and persistence, Seliger succeeded in securing a concert with the famous band and said, “It’s been a tough project to put together, but I’m certain it will be an amazing experience for the students.”
Seliger and her orchestra students have been working diligently to learn the music for the concert. All of Kansas’s most famous hits will be performed, as well as many of their other songs. Pacific sophomore Justin Redona, the principal violist of Pacific’s orchestra, was selected to perform instrumental solos with Kansas’s violinist, David Ragsdale.
Most people’s first reaction to the idea of a rock band playing with an orchestra is disbelief. After all, rock bands play rock music and orchestras only play classical, right? Seliger couldn’t disagree more.
“To combine a rock band with an orchestral ensemble is an exciting prospect. I believe it will reinvigorate the appreciation people have for both types of groups. We are all musicians and conflating the two types of ensembles can only heighten the energy and excitement of the show.”
Learning a new type of music is a challenging prospect for many of the orchestra students, according to Seliger. “They will learn to perform a style of music they have yet to be exposed to, in order to perform with seasoned musicians and to experience first-hand that music is music, jamming is jamming. At the end of the day, all musicians are out to experience awesomeness. We’re no different.”
This amazing concert will take place Portland’s Roseland Theater on Wednesday, April 18 at 8 p.m. Tickets can be purchased online at TicketsWest.com or at any Safeway TicketsWest outlet, Music Millenium location or by phone (503) 244-8499. Pacific students with valid I.D. can buy tickets for $25. General admission is $40, standing room only is $30 and reserved seating is $50.