Springfield Symphony plans concert to celebrate African American experience

Springfield, MO— Kyle Wiley Pickett, his wife Alice, along with their two sons moved to Springfield, MO in 2013, where Pickett was named the eighth conductor of the Springfield Symphony Orchestra.

Contributing writer, Lyle Foster  interviews Kyle Pickett.

LF: How did you get interested in the symphony and when did you know this would be a career?

KP:I grew up playing in the orchestra, but I wasn’t one of those kids who always knew they would be a conductor. Sometime during college, I realized that I loved orchestral music and I wanted to make that part of my career, but I also knew that I am extremely extroverted and that spending my life in a practice room would be misery. I realized that conducting allows you to take your love of music and really share it with people, both by performing it but also by talking about it and working as an ambassador for classical music to the community.

How has your transition to Springfield, Mo been?  Any surprises?

We have been thrilled with the community of Springfield. It’s a great sized town, and we love that a community of this size can support a professional orchestra.

What is your impression of our appetite in the Ozarks for the symphony?

It’s been tremendous to see our individual ticket record get broken every year since we’ve been here. It means that there is a great interest in what we’re doing at the Springfield Symphony and it just keeps growing every year. That’s awesome.

We have heard rumors that the symphony is planning something in February that will coincide with African-American Heritage month?   Can you share that with us please?

We are welcoming Todd Payne back to our stage to join us for spirituals and songs that celebrate and honor the African-American experience. We will include an incredibly powerful and moving piece that sets the words of Martin’s Luther King, Jr.’s, “I Have a Dream,” speech to music.

Dr. Pickett, that really sounds exciting …are there any other performances that are coming up that you would like to highlight for 2018?

We are playing Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony this March, which is always thrilling to hear live. In May we will be concluding the season with music from modern Broadway musicals, which will be lots of fun. We’ll be playing music from “Hamilton,” “Les Miserables,” and “Jesus Christ Superstar,” among lots of other contemporary Broadway hits.

I have one question that is a just because question…..if someone has never been to the symphony before any words of advice?

Just come and enjoy it! We have a great audience of many ages and backgrounds. You can come in a sparkly dress or jeans. You can go have dinner downtown before the concert and make it an evening with friends or just go and take in the music on your own. I guarantee you’ll enjoy the experience and everyone can get something out of hearing live orchestral music played by members of their community right here in their community.

Last question……what is your New Year’s resolution?  How about for the symphony?

My New Year’s Resolution is to continue to program music that appeals to a broad Springfield audience, and to try to continue to reach out to let everyone know that this is their symphony.