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Missouri Philharmonic's next concert celebrates 'The Sound of Love'

The Missouri Philharmonic presents their "Sound of Love" concert Thursday, February 16.
(Poster image courtesy Missouri Philharmonic)
The Missouri Philharmonic presents their "Sound of Love" concert Thursday, February 16.

Southwest Missouri's premier "civic orchestra" charges no admission fees for their concerts. Just in time for Valentine's Day, they'll play three classic works starting with the “Tuscaloosa Tango” by Daniel Léo Simpson followed by music from renowned composers Weber and Tchaikovsky.

The conductor of the Missouri Philharmonic Orchestra here in Springfield, Amy Andreassen, joined us this morning on “Arts News” to talk about the ensemble’s upcoming concert on February 16, titled “The Sound of Love.”

They’ll play three works, starting with the “Tuscaloosa Tango” by Daniel Léo Simpson.

"It was written fairly recently, but it's a fun one," Andreassen says. "And we actually have a surprise to go along with that one. And then we have our principal clarinetist, Crystal (Grosvenor), who is going to play (Carl Maria von Weber's) 'Concertino for Clarinet.'"

Also on the program, a must for around Valentine’s Day, of course, is Tchaikovsky’s "Romeo and Juliet Fantasy Overture."

The Missouri Philharmonic grew out of what was formerly the Springfield-Drury Civic Orchestra. They call themselves “Southwest Missouri’s premier civic orchestra,” whose “professional, amateur and student musicians are solely focused on serving the community through the creation of beautiful music, crafted through intentional immersion in the musical elements.”

"In fact,” says Amy Andreassen, “we have something to celebrate with this concert because we are now our own nonprofit.”

(This is definitely something brand-new for the organization, as the statement “nonprofit status is pending” is still on their website).

The Missouri Philharmonic is funded solely by donations, as they do not charge admission to their concerts.

“I think it’s important to me and other members (of the orchestra) that we provide this free to our community,” says Andreassen. While there are a few Springfield Symphony Orchestra members in the Philharmonic, Andreassen says most of its players are not—and this provides ample support for the idea that there is a large pool of talented orchestral players in southwest Missouri.

“I have the privilege of working with some really, really fine musicians,” she says.

Andreassen herself is a horn-player, but serves strictly as conductor for the MPO — an unpaid volunteer position. On February 16 she will conduct her fourth concert with this orchestra.

“The first was in November of 2021, and that was coming out of the pandemic. It was was stressful. We did Beethoven 5 (the Symphony No. 5) at that point. But yeah, now we're just growing by leaps and bounds and it's really fun. We have a good time. First and Calvary Presbyterian Church allows us to use their space for rehearsals and it's just really nice to be able to get together and make music."

The concert next week is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at the Barley House at Moon Town Crossing in Springfield at 3060 N. Kentwood Avenue near the Glenstone/I-44 interchange.

Andreassen says, “We've had all of our performances there actually, and we like to play there. And the last concert there (October 27, 2022) was standing room only. So we've got to provide more chairs this time and plan a little larger!”

She estimates the venue can seat about 200 patrons. Attendees will have a chance to interact with her and the players during a kind of social hour from 6:30 p.m. to concert time at 7:30 p.m., as well as after the hour-long concert starting at 8:30 p.m.

Andreassen notes that typically, “people (on a Thursday evening) disappear pretty quickly after the concert’s over. But they’re welcome to stay around after—we do mull around while we’re packing up, and enjoy one another’s company just for that last little bit.

“And so far,” she continues, “we’re doing really well with kids. Kids love us and we love the kids, so don’t hesitate to bring the kids out (to the concert). They’ll have a good time.”

For more information on the Missouri Philharmonic, call 417-849-5930 or visit missouriphilharmonic.org.

Randy Stewart joined the full-time KSMU staff in June 1978 after working part-time as a student announcer/producer for two years. His job has evolved from Music Director in the early days to encompassing production of a wide range of arts-related programming and features for KSMU, including the online and Friday morning Arts News. Stewart assists volunteer producers John Darkhorse (Route 66 Blues Express), Lee Worman (The Gold Ring), and Emily Higgins (The Mulberry Tree) with the production of their programs. He's also become the de facto "Voice of KSMU" in recent years due to the many hours per day he’s heard doing local station breaks. Stewart’s record of service on behalf of the Springfield arts community earned him the Springfield Regional Arts Council's Ozzie Award in 2006.