UTSA Orchestra to perform with rock band Kansas in Sept. 17 San Antonio concert

Kansas band concert

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(Sept. 8, 2010)--The 70s rock band Kansas will perform with the UTSA Orchestra in a benefit concert at 8 p.m., Friday, Sept. 17 in Trinity University's Laurie Auditorium. The Kansas Collegiate Symphony Tour is one of 10 performances around the country with university orchestras to commemorate the band's 35th anniversary. The concert will benefit the Department of Music in the UTSA College of Liberal and Fine Arts.

The group came up with the tour idea, after they were inspired by their successful 2009 StarCity Recording DVD/CD, "There's Know Place Like Home." The release featured a special night of music with the classic rock band and the Washburn University Orchestra in Topeka, Kan.

"We thought of performing these shows as fundraisers to try and help the school's raise money for their music programs," said Kansas drummer Phil Ehart. "These will be full-blown concerts with pro lights and sound. We pride ourselves in performing first-class shows regardless of the venue. This college tour will showcase Kansas and each school's orchestra in the best possible manner."

"It's going to be like another world for these students playing a professional concert and learning the reality of performance in a professional setting," said Eugene Dowdy, UTSA Orchestra conductor and associate professor. "They will put microphones on all these students' instruments, and it will be a wonderful experience our students won't forget."

The concert will be another musical milestone for the 70-member UTSA Orchestra, adding rock music to their repertoire. The students have performed classical symphonies, operas, jazz concerts and most recently with Mariachi Vargas.

"We want to provide a wide-ranging and diverse experience for our music students," said Dowdy. "Other universities play primarily classical symphonic music, but here we like our students to learn and play all styles of music representing various cultures."

When Dowdy was approached with the idea of the partnership, the band had date, venue and stage requirements that UTSA was unable to provide. Various music venues in San Antonio also were unavailable, but then Dowdy's music colleagues at Trinity University offered a helping hand.

"I really want to thank my friends at Trinity University for their support and assistance in sponsoring the concert at Laurie Auditorium," added Dowdy. "Laurie Auditorium has a very big stage which is perfect for this intimate concert combining rock band and orchestra."

As the presenting sponsor, D'Addario & Company Inc. joins Kansas in the objective of raising money for college and university music programs. As the world's largest musical accessory manufacturer, D'Addario sells products under the brand names D'Addario, Planet Waves, Rico Reeds and Evans/PureSound/HQ.

"We are so excited to be part of the Kansas Collegiate Symphony Tour," said David Via, D'Addario & Company vice president. "The experience and memories that these schools and their students will have from these concerts will last a lifetime. The D'Addario Foundation will be providing music scholarships to each school's music department, while D'Addario & Company will be providing complimentary product support to each institution."

With their first album released in 1974, Kansas became one of the decade's most popular rock acts. Their classic albums include "Leftoverture" (1976) and "Point of Know Return" (1977), along with hit singles "Carry on Wayward Son," "Dust in the Wind" and "Point of Know Return." The band is comprised of singer/keyboardist Steve Walsh, guitarist Rich Williams, bassist Billy Greer, drummer Phil Ehert and violinist David Ragsdale.

Tickets are $38 and $48 plus service fees at the Laurie Auditorium box office or through Ticketmaster.