JMU News

by Jen Kulju


The James Madison University Symphony Orchestra is getting the opportunity of a lifetime. It will take the stage with KANSAS as part of the legendary rock band's Collegiate Symphony Tour. The collaborative concert begins at 8 p.m. Oct. 7 in the JMU Convocation Center. 

"How many university orchestras have the opportunity to play with a famous rock band? The JMU Symphony Orchestra is among the few, and I think that makes us really lucky. Lucky to have the occasion to promote our ensemble, to promote our school, but especially lucky to experience this genre and all that it entails musically," said Anna Kobylski, a junior majoring in music performance (cello). 

"The KANSAS music is not what we're used to – the syncopated rhythms and percussive chords are forcing us to abandon our 'classical' tendencies and to do something that we all have inside of us – rock out!" 

"This is a terrific opportunity for our students to have a truly professional experience, where they rehearse with the conductor, one rehearsal, and then play the show. As professional performers, this is the way things happen," said Dr. Robert McCashin, director of the JMU Symphony Orchestra. 

Now in its second year, the 2011 KANSAS Collegiate Symphony Tour presented by D'Addario (joined by conductor Larry Baird) is designed to help raise funds for university music programs and scholarships. KANSAS band member Phil Ehart said of the first-year tour, "KANSAS and all the school symphonies just hit it off big time. The only people having more fun than us were all the students playing on stage with us!" 

With their self-titled album released in 1974, KANSAS went on to become one of the decade's most popular rock acts issuing classic rock albums such as 1976's "Leftoverture" and 1977's "Point of Know Return," along with the hit singles "Carry on Wayward Son," "Dust in the Wind" and "Point of Know Return." The band, which in addition to Ehart comprises singer/keyboardist Steve Walsh, guitarist Rich Williams, bassist Billy Greer and violinist David Ragsdale, continues to tour in front of large and enthusiastic audiences and to remain a fixture on classic rock radio. 

The JMU Symphony Orchestra is the premier symphonic ensemble for the JMU School of Music. The symphony presents a number of concerts on and off campus each year, and has performed regularly as the invited college ensemble for the Virginia Music Educators Association. The ensemble presents a series of Youth Concerts for students from Harrisonburg, Rockingham County and surrounding counties. The symphony is the only college orchestra nationwide selected to participate in the Carnegie Hall "LinkUp" concerts for young students. 

Tickets for the Oct. 7 concert are $23-53 and $15 for JMU students. For tickets, visit https://www.jmu.edu/JMUarts or call the Forbes Center Box Office at (540) 568-7000. 

Press interviews and photo/video opportunities are available with the JMU Symphony Orchestra and KANSAS. The schedule for Friday, Oct. 7, with all events in the JMU Convocation Center, is as follows: 

2-2:30 p.m., Interviews with Robert McCashin and students 
3-5:30 p.m., JMU Symphony Orchestra rehearsal 
6:30-7 p.m., Interview with Phil Ehart 
8 p.m., KANSAS in Concert 

Contact Jen Kulju, public relations/marketing specialist at the Forbes Center, at 
(540) 568-4394 or by email at kuljuja@jmu.edu for further information. You can also visit http://www.kansasband.com

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Published: Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Last Updated: Wednesday, November 1, 2023

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