Monday’s season opening of the 82nd Sedalia Symphony Orchestra will feature local country music legend Leroy Van Dyke and The Auctioneers as special guest artists.
“This Society wants to perpetuate an interest and understanding of instrumental music,” Sedalia Symphony Society President Clark Fobian said. “That’s broad … Our orchestra, they play many modern pieces by modern composers. Over the course of a season or two we’ll engage in many, many different spectrums of music, particularly through our guest artists.”
He noted that they were excited to have Van Dyke perform Monday at the Heckart Performing Arts Center.
“He’s an icon,” Fobian said. “We should be so thankful we have a talent like that. He’s a man who obviously loves what he does. You don’t do something for 60 years and not love it. This is a special opportunity to share and experience with someone who has been contributing so much, for so long, and had such an impact on the face of one aspect of music.”
Van Dyke has recorded more than 400 songs during his lifetime and is known for chart-topping songs “Walk on By” and “Auctioneer.” He still tours with his band The Auctioneers, comprised of many locals — Kelly Jones, fiddle, Ken Michaelis and Jim Garstang, keyboards, Paul Oney, drums, Brent Harms, bass, Tony Shaffer, steel guitar, harmonica, guitar, and Ben Van Dyke, lead guitar.
“I’ve got the best backup band in country music,” Van Dyke said recently.
He noted that he played with the Symphony several decades ago when Abe Rosenthal was conductor.
“We haven’t done a full show in Sedalia for many years,” he said. “For several years in a row, we had the Country Gold Tour shows here. On those we get to do about four or five songs, but this will be a complete show. It will feature various members of the band, and they are all Missourians except for one.”
Van Dyke said they will “mix it up” for the performance by singing some original songs but also some of his favorites by Ray Price and Red Foley. Additional musical flavor and variety will be added by each of the band members.
“We’ll feature each member of the band and give them a spotlight in the show,” he noted. “I’ll bring them on and they each one will do a solo. A lot of times performers don’t give proper due to what makes their show. We can’t get along without the band. We can’t have the impact in entertainment, if we don’t have a good band.
“There’s a lot of people who can go out there and do a show just themselves and a guitar, but they won’t have the impact that a very professional group will give the show,” he added.
Fobian said now days everyone is plugged into music electronically. He encourages everyone to come out to Monday’s live performance concerts.
“How often now days, do you get to see a live performance?” he noted. “We forget that music is created by a musician who is expressing what a composer put together for them. That’s the root of all music. I don’t care what type of music you are talking about, this is music in its purist form. Music being performed by a living musician. It’s better than a recording, it’s better than putting in an earphone with an iPod.
“You can see these people,” he added. “Imagine what it took for them to master this skill, and the dedication they had to bring it out for our enjoyment.”
The Sedalia Symphony with guest artist Leroy Van Dyke and The Auctioneers will perform at 7:30 p.m. Monday at Heckart Performing Arts Center at Smith-Cotton High School, 2010 Tiger Pride Blvd. Tickets cost $25 for adults, and children up to 18 are free with a paying adult. Tickets may be purchased at the door. For more information, call 221-2211 or visit www.SedaliaSymphonyOrchestra.com.
Faith Bemiss can be reached at 530-0289 or @flbemiss.