Marshall orchestra to wrap 50th anniversary season

April 24, 2013

The Marshall Philharmonic Orchestra’s 50th anniversary season will conclude with a showcase of local talent, showtunes and jazz at 2:30 p.m. Sunday in the Lickey Auditorium of Bueker Middle School.

The concert will celebrate the past, the present and the future. From the past, Conductor Emeritus Charles E. Ferguson Sr. will lead the orchestra in selections from “West Side Story.”

The audience will hear selections by the Smith/Athon Jazz Group. Joe Athon and Clarence Smith are Marshall High School graduates who pursued jazz as a career.

Smith oversees the music department at Metropolitan Community College-Penn Valley campus.  He is also the director of Kansas City’s annual 18th and Vine Jazz Festival and coordinates the education component of the Bob James Jazz Festival held each year in Marshall.

Athon is a singer, saxophone player, bandleader, clinician, songwriter and technology expert in the Kansas City area. He teaches privately and hosts clinics and master classes. He specializes in performance audio systems for concert halls, theaters and churches.

The locals will be joined by Ryan Howard, a student of Smith’s, on keyboard.

The trio will be featured on their own rendition of “Bye, Bye Blackbird” and will join the orchestra for a Duke Ellington medley and the George Gershwin standard, “Summertime.”

In the “present” portion of the celebration, Conductor Kevin Lines will lead the orchestra in jazz and classics.

Next, the MPO will be joined by the Marshall High School orchestra, performing the state contest selections that earned it an excellent rating for the 11th year in a row.

Also at the concert, patrons can view the annual young artist exhibit by the students of Bueker Middle School and their art and technology teachers, Kristen McWhirt, Laura Richardson and Velma Allen. The students this year depicted the music of “An American in Paris” by George Gershwin.