The Springfield Symphony Orchestra wraps up its 2021-22 season May 7 with Flamenco!, featuring Kansas City's Ensemble Iberica. (Photo: Springfield Symphony Orchestra)

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The Springfield Symphony Association began in 1934 as an idea to bring together local musicians who wanted to perform for the community. The first Springfield Symphony concert was played on Feb. 26, 1935.

The Springfield Symphony Orchestra is “Puttin’ on the Ritz” in its 90th anniversary season, with nine shows at Juanita K. Hammons Hall for the Arts. In a press release, the organization noted it has performed every year since 1935, through war and peace, prosperity and poverty — and even a pandemic.

“Through good times and bad, we have continuously made music for the people of Springfield and southwest Missouri, bringing our community together to share in the excitement and beauty of hearing a live symphony orchestra,” the press release said.

Season celebrates ‘the way the arts can connect us across the years'

The Springfield Symphony Orchestra rehearses on stage at Juanita K. Hammons Hall for the Performing Arts
The Springfield Symphony Orchestra has been nominated for the Arts Champion Award at the 28th Ozzie Awards, presented by the Springfield Regional Arts Council. SSO works to break stigmas around symphony performances, making them more accessible and less intimidating. (Photo by Springfield Symphony Orchestra)

The Puttin’ on the Ritz theme ties into the orchestra’s 1930s origins. The decade was a time of political upheaval and the Great Depression. It was also an era of transformative new movements in the arts, including Art Deco and the solidification of jazz as a true American art form.

“We look to those songs that became standards in our founding decade as the inspiration for our concerts this year and celebrate the way the arts can connect us across the years,” the press release reads.

The season starts at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 14 with Puttin’ on the Ritz. The show includes Rimsky-Korsakov’s triumphant “Procession of the Nobles” and, for the first time in the Springfield Symphony’s history, Shostakovich’s Tenth Symphony, a musical portrait of life in Russia under Stalin. The evening also includes Grieg’s “Piano Concerto,” an audience favorite, performed by Steinway artist Spencer Myer.

The symphony teams up with the Missouri State University Department of Theatre and Dance on Nov. 16, 2024, for Lullaby of Broadway. It’s a concert version of Rogers and Hammerstein’s “Carousel,” with the Springfield Symphony Orchestra backing up MSU students and featuring new faculty member Josh Young, fresh from Broadway runs of “Jesus Christ Superstar” and “Amazing Grace.”

The Springfield Symphony Orchestra’s holiday concert, In the Mood, is scheduled for Dec. 7, 2024, and features the Mid-American Singers. The lineup includes selections from Handel’s “Messiah” and the orchestra's annual holiday sing-along.

The season concludes with S’Wonderful on May 3, 2025. The orchestra will collaborate with the St. Louis Ballet for this show, which features several different dances with jazzy music by George Gershwin, Richard Rogers and other Broadway composers.

Other shows in the Springfield Symphony Orchestra’s 90th season are:

  • Oct. 5, 2024: I Got Rhythm
  • Nov. 16, 2024: Lullaby of Broadway
  • Jan. 11, 2025: Summertime
  • Feb. 8, 2025: And the Angels Sing
  • March 1, 2025: Stormy Weather
  • April 5, 2025: My Reverie

Subscriptions for the 2024-2025 season are on sale now. Information can be found on the Springfield Symphony Orchestra website.

Auditions scheduled for six positions for the 2024-2025 season

A violinist performs with a symphony orchestra
The Springfield Symphony Orchestra will hold auditions for the 2024-2025 performance season Aug. 19-20. (Photo by Springfield Symphony Orchestra)

The Springfield Symphony Orchestra is holding auditions for six positions for the 2024-2025 performance season. They are:

  • Assistant Concertmaster
  • Principal Cello
  • Assistant Principal Viola
  • Section Bass (2 position)
  • Flute 3/Piccolo
  • Bassoon 2

String auditions will be held the evening of Monday, Aug. 19, with woodwind auditions the evening of Tuesday, Aug. 20.

To receive an audition packet and secure an audition time, send a one-page resume and a $30 refundable credit card deposit no later than Aug. 10 to Deposits may be made by telephone to (417) 864-6683.

Candidates will receive their full deposit back upon arrival at the audition or if the cancellation is received at least one week prior to the audition date. No repertoire will be given by telephone. The audition committee of the Springfield Symphony Orchestra reserves the right to dismiss any candidate’s resume that does not meet qualified standards. The orchestra is a non-union per-service orchestra with approximately 40 services available each season. Mileage and lodging are provided when applicable.

Substitute auditions are available year-round. To apply as a substitute, send a one-page resume to the operations manager to receive an audition packet. At any time during the year, candidates may submit an uncut recorded video of the audition materials and email them to the operations manager. They will be forwarded to the music director and applicable principal for consideration.

Further information on auditions is available by emailing the operations manager.

Jeff Kessinger

Jeff Kessinger is the Reader Engagement Editor for the Hauxeda, and the voice of its daily newsletter SGF A.M. He covered sports in southwest Missouri for the better part of 20 years, from young athletes to the pros. The Springfield native and Missouri State University alumnus is thrilled to be doing journalism in the Queen City, helping connect the community with important information. He and wife Jamie daily try to keep a tent on the circus that is a blended family of five kids and three cats. More by Jeff Kessinger