As part of its season-long 75th anniversary celebration, the Heritage Philharmonic had scheduled a first-ever concert for its group.
The Philharmonic, formerly known as the Independence Symphony, planned to have a free concert this past Sunday afternoon at renowned Helzberg Hall in Kansas City’s Kauffman Center, with choirs from Truman and Blue Springs South as guests.
Instead, the event fell victim among the endless list of pandemic cancelations. But Philharmonic board president Randy Williams said they want to reschedule at the same site and with the same groups, as the orchestra had been thrilled at the chance to perform in Helzberg for the first time.
“That’s the ultimate goal, to still have it Helzberg Hall,” he said. “Finding a date’s going to be a challenge, but we’re still hoping to do it.”
Thanks to sponsors, the concert would be free like all Philharmonic performances, and board member Pat Hatley said the group had enough RSVPs a week before the scheduled event to fill Helzberg’s 1,400 seats.
The Independence Symphony first formed in 1944 to accompany the “Messiah” choir at the Community of Christ Auditorium. The name change 14 years ago showed a desire to give the group a broader appeal, Williams said, as the group includes members from around Jackson County and not just Independence. Its membership of 60 to 70 players is all volunteer except for a few principal string section leaders.
“We wanted to show we were more inclusive and served more than one city,” Hatley said. “Lee’s Summit has a symphony, but some members of this group come from Lee’s Summit.”
Generally, the Philharmonic has four concerts a year – fall, holiday, late winter and the young artist concert in May, when the group invites a select youngster or two to perform with them
a majority of them at Blue Springs High School’s Performing Arts Center. This year, the guests will be some who have benefited from the Band of Angels nonprofit, which donates gently used instruments to students who might otherwise not afford them. This season’s holiday concert netted donations for Band of Angels.
While many performances are in Blue Springs, “We try to move it around and share the performances with different parts of Eastern Jackson County,” Williams said.