Excitement Builds For Orchestra On The Oregon Trail

“Beautiful music in a beautiful setting” is the way Kyle Wiley Pickett, music director and conductor for the Topeka Symphony Orchestra, describes Orchestra on the Oregon Trail – the outdoor concert slated for September 6 at Alcove Spring Historic Park.

Pickett will be in the area Monday and Tuesday to promote the event as well as to meet with local organizers to finalize plans for the all-day experience.

The public has the chance to talk to Pickett at a Community Conversation Monday from 4:30 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. at the Lee Dam Center for Fine Art.

“Obviously, talking to Kyle is the highlight of the reception,” said John Schwartz, the producer for Orchestra on the Oregon Trail. “We’ve added a couple of perks to make the event even more appealing and exciting.”

Ralph Hipp, reporter and anchor for WIBW-TV, Topeka, will broadcast live from the art center for the station’s news broadcasts at 5:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. Hipp will spend most of the day in Marysville learning more about the concert; he will be joined by Jim Ogle, the station’s general manager, and Brian Haug, an account executive in the station’s marketing department.

“We’re thrilled that our friends from WIBW will be with us,” Schwartz said. “They are one of the main sponsors for Orchestra on the Oregon Trail, and we’re glad they’re helping us get people excited about the event.”

Those who attend Monday’s mixer will not only have the chance to meet the television celebrities from Topeka, they’ll also have the chance to meet some local celebrities. Charles Bradley, Bryan Kracht, Rob Peschel, and Father Jim Shaughnessy will greet guests as they arrive at the art center from behind their grills. “These four gentlemen are great,” Schwartz added with a grin. “They are lending us their good names as well as their grilling skills. I’ve been told they’re some of the best grill masters in the county. I’m sure we’ll all be happy to find out.”

Bradley is an attorney for Galloway, Wiegers, and Brinegar; Kracht is an agent for Farm Bureau Financial Services; Peschel is co-owner of CES Group; and Shaughnessy is the pastor at St. Gregory’s Catholic Church. The four will grill hamburgers and hot dogs for guests.

Salads, potato chips, desserts, beer, wine, and non-alcoholic drinks will be served free of charge; the public is invited.

Those who attend will have the chance to talk to Pickett about the concert and learn more about the event. They will also have the chance to meet Bob Keckeisen, the assistant general manager for the symphony as well as the principal percussionist.

Keckeisen is as enthusiastic as Pickett about the event; he feels those who attend will enjoy the full day of family activities which culminate with a concert of American, Western, and patriotic music. “As a historian, I’m particularly excited about co-mingling great music with the fabulous Alcove Spring historic site,” he said.

Keckeisen works closely with Pickett on stage and behind the scenes. He feels area residents will be drawn to Pickett’s enthusiasm. “He easily connects with people from all walks of life and he has a fabulous ability to reach people through music. Kyle’s programs are challenging, yet accessible – there’s something for everyone in each of his programs.”

The symphony’s concert at Alcove Spring Historic Park is part of their seventieth season. “Orchestra on the Oregon Trail will be a tremendous way to kick-off this special season,” Keckeisen said.

Tickets go on sale May 1. “There are limited tickets,” Schwartz said, “People need to buy them now or they might run out. Even though the orchestra is performing in a large meadow there are only so many parking spots. I don’t advise anyone of waiting until the last minute to purchase tickets.”

For more information about the Community Conversation or about the September 6th event, people may call 844-252-6830 or visit ooot.org.