Orchestra does not play for usual crowd

When people think of symphonic music, they usually think of long boring sets, written by composers that have been dead for a long time. However ,the Kentucky Symphony Orchestra is not the case.

Light shows, movies and a guy that plays symphonic music using toilet seats and garbage cans; and in some venues, you can drink beer. This is not your grandma’s symphony.

Through creative programming like this, the KSO has survived for more then 10 years, each show bringing a different crowd. James. R. Cassidy founder and musical director said that when he started the KSO many people thought that it would not last.

“I wanted to make a symphony that was attractive, accessible and affordable,” said Cassidy. “I wanted that chunk of society who was afraid of symphonic music to come to our shows.” Through a creative marketing scheme and incorporating extramusical ideas, this helps dispel the notion that all symphonic music is boring.

The KSO is currently running three types of series: subscription, educational and the summer park series. The educational series is the one that Cassidy feels is the most important. “Music is a gift and it should be shared with as many people as possible. We do this to introduce symphonic music to children.”

Elementary, middle and high school students attend free concerts that introduce them to the orchestra, and explain to them why symphonic music continues to play an important role in their everyday life. At the end of each educational concert, children and audience members are allowed and encouraged to ask questions.

With offices in Newport, the KSO performs throughout the year in many locations.

Greaves Concert hall is currently the home to three of the five concerts in the subscription series. The other two shows are held at the Madison Theater in Covington, which is a restored movie theater.

A series of four free summer programs brings thousands of people to the amphitheater in Devou Park. “We get our biggest crowd in the summer time,” said Cassidy. “You would be surprised to see how many people bring picnic lunches and just spend a summer day listening and enjoying our music.”

Along with all that, the KSO decided to have another program called City Nights, where each community in the Northern Kentucky area will be competing for a free concert in their town. “We wanted to get the communities involved. This was the best way that we could think of,” said Cassidy.

Over the years the KSO is and will continue to grow and the American Orchestra League recognized them as the fastest growing orchestra in America. Their first show, Feels Like the First Time, is Oct. 11 at eight o’clock in Greaves Concert Hall. Tickets range from $18 to $22, with discounted prices for students.