Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

February 7, 2014

Orchestra sings for connections

Kokomo Symphony Orchestra partners with women's choir for concert.

By Lindsey Ziliak
Kokomo Tribune

---- — Kokomo Symphony Orchestra will put a unique spin on this weekend’s winter concert – with help from a choir of women.

The show’s theme is “Sing for Connections.” It’s symbolic of what the local orchestra is trying to do these days. It’s trying to expand and collaborate more with outside groups to put on even more interesting shows, said Jennifer Rollins, director of development for the Kokomo Symphonic Society.

Saturday’s show at Grace United Methodist Church will feature a choir of women from Earlham College.

The concert will be light and classical starting with Haydn Symphony No. 22. The orchestra is also featuring Danielle Steele as soprano soloist on Mozart’s praise, “Exsultate Jubilate,” which includes “Alleluia.” The concert will conclude with sections from Vivaldi’s “Gloria.”

Musicians from places like Kokomo, Greentown, Marion, Peru and Lafayette will come together for the concert. They only rehearse two or three times before the performance, something that stuns Rollins.

“It’s amazing how they can come together, all these individual musicians,” she said. “In the end, the show is always wonderful.”

The conductor even makes the audience feel like they’re a part of the show, she said.

The Kokomo Symphony Orchestra has been entertaining audiences in the community for 40 years now. That audience has slowly shrunk, though.

Rollins said a concert used to draw in 400 or 500 people. Now, if there are 200 people, they consider it a good night.

She said she is trying to revive interest in what the group does.

“It’s a privilege to have an orchestra in a city this size,” she said. “Eventually it will go away if people don’t come.”

The orchestra isn’t completely funded through ticket sales, but those sales do account for a portion of the budget. The group also receives grants from the Kokomo Community Arts Commission, the Tippecanoe Arts Federation and the Indiana Arts Commission.

What people don’t realize, though, is how expensive it is to put on a show, Rollins said. The cost for one concert can range anywhere from $15,000 to $22,000.

Each musician is contracted individually. They get paid for each rehearsal and for the show.

Rollins said she hopes people will help keep the orchestra alive by supporting them at the concert.

Weather can affect attendance, but she thinks people might be dug out by Saturday night and ready for a little fun.

“We’re hoping after this crazy weather people will want to come out and enjoy some great music,” she said.

Lindsey Ziliak, Tribune Life & Style editor, can be reached at 765-454-8585, via email at lindsey.ziliak@kokomotribune.com or on Twitter @LindseyZiliak.