County Conversations With Orchestra Conductor Are Thursday And Friday

Tickets Go on Sale 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 4 at Alcove Spring Historic Park.

Pickett will be in the area Thursday and Friday to promote the event and to meet with local organizers to finalize plans for the all-day experience.

“This is a county-wide event,” said Brad Ekiss, president of the Marshall County Arts Cooperative, the group sponsoring the concert. “It takes all of us pulling together to make this work. This is a great example of how the arts bring people together.”

Three County Conversations are planned to kick-off ticket sales for the second concert.

“We want to celebrate the launch of Orchestra on the Oregon Trail 2016 in as many communities as we can,” Ekiss said. “We want people to have one-on-one time to hear about our exciting plans for this year’s event.”

At each County Conversation Pickett will highlight plans for the orchestra’s concert. The theme for the concert is Symphony of the Land. A seventy-piece choir from Hesston College, Hesston, Kans., will perform on the main-stage with the orchestra.

“I’m really excited about the addition of the choir,” said Brian Cook, a member of the steering committee. “Hearing the voices blend with the orchestra in that amazing setting will be a really nice touch. It’s one of the new things we’re adding this year.”

Some of the other new additions will be explained, too. A presentation will be made at each County Conversation; additionally, those attending will have time to talk to Pickett and the event’s organizers.

“We’re excited and we want to get everyone else excited, too,” Ekiss added.

Tickets go on sale Thursday. At each of the County Conversations people will be able to buy tickets to the concert. Tickets for adults are $60; tickets for students ages four through twelve are $15; children under three are free. The ticket prices include all applicable sales tax. Tickets may also be purchased on-line or at the Marshall County Visitors Center, Marysville. Those purchasing tickets will receive the actual tickets at the time of purchase.

A free meal will be served at each of the conversations. “We’re serving all three meals depending on which conversation you go to,” Ekiss said. “Breakfast in Blue Rapids, lunch in Marysville, and dinner in Waterville.”

The first conversation will be held at the Weaver Hotel, Waterville, on Thursday from 5:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. Breakfast will be served at the Blue Rapids Museum, Blue Rapids, from 7:30 a.m. until 9:00 a.m. Friday. Lunch will be served from 11:00 a.m until 1:00 p.m. Friday at the Lee Dam Center for Fine Art, Marysville.

Members of the steering committee will be at each conversation to talk to guests and answer questions. They will also be there to help those interested in volunteering sign up to be a volunteer. Several hundred volunteers are needed to work a four-hour shift. Those volunteering will be admitted to the event for free.

Ken and Zita Duensing, responsible for securing donations, will be at each of the conversations to talk to people about becoming a VIP. Various benefits are afforded to those who make a monetary contribution to the event.

“Obviously, talking to Kyle is the highlight of these conversations,” said Ekiss. “We’ve added a couple of perks to make the events 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 Friday news broadcast at 12:00 p.m.

“We’re thrilled that our friends from WIBW will be with us,” Ekiss 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.”

For more information about the Community Conversation or about the September 4th event, people may call 785-562-3101 or visit