It was a cold and rainy afternoon on Veterans Day 2018 as the Iola Area Symphony Orchestra presented its first concert of their 2018-2019 season. The concert commenced at 3:00 p.m. with the title Sentimental Journey.” The orchestra was led by Dr. Gregory Turner, who is director of instrumental activities at Summit Christian Academy in Lees Summit, Mo. Dr. Turner is celebrating his 25th season conducting the orchestra and mentioned to the audience it has been a joy for him to work with the musicians on stage all those years. Without being too specific, he even divulged about six of the musicians on stage had seen all those 25 years with him in the orchestra. Upon first glance, the program seemed lengthy, with nine pieces and an intermission, however, the concert lasted just over an hour with plenty of variety.
The opener was an arrangement of songs from the musical Theyre Playing Our Song by Marvin Hamlisch. It was a pleasant surprise to see a full drum kit set up behind the orchestra, with percussionist Scott Murray from Chanute at the helm. The drums added a modern, upbeat feel to several of the selections and Murray followed maestro Turners tempo changes to a tee.
Next was Sentimental Journey, arranged by Werner Muller. It is always nice to hear an orchestra play something from the great American songbook, and this song has a connection with veterans as the unofficial homecoming theme from WWII. The orchestra swept us in with a lush opening with a lilting accompaniment. The violin section, led by concertmaster Michael Price from Iola, carried the tune for most of the song, while drummer Murray switched his drumsticks to brushes to create a soft, subdued feel to the beat.
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