Augustana Orchestra to Perform with Legendary Rock Band Kansas at Washington Pavilion

When you’re a member of a college orchestra, playing with a veteran rock band before an audience of thousands isn’t necessarily on your radar.

Unless you’re a member of the Augustana Orchestra.

In October, Augustana’s 80-member student Orchestra will accompany 70’s rockers, Kansas, on mega-hits such as "Dust in the Wind," "Carry On Wayward Son," "Point of Know Return" and others in a vocal-meets-orchestral-meets-rock extravaganza in the Great Hall of the Washington Pavilion. The concert is part of Augustana’s 2011 Viking Days celebration.

The concert, which will begin at 7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 14, is part of the band’s “Kansas Collegiate Symphony Tour,” an initiative designed to raise awareness and money for collegiate music programs nationwide. Tickets for the concert are available at


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    Tickets went on sale for Pavilion members on Friday, Aug.12, and to the public on Sat., Aug. 13.

“This is an excellent opportunity for our student musicians to perform before a live audience, in a beautiful facility, alongside a world-famous band, in a concert that will raise money for Augustana’s music programs,” said Dr. Christopher Stanichar, director of the Augustana Orchestra and associate professor of music. “We’re thankful to Kansas for inviting us to participate in this great program. Our students are simply thrilled to be a part of it.”

Kansas band members say they came up with the idea for the tour after contacting various college orchestras, only to find out they were financially challenged.

"We started by cold-calling schools all over the country to find out if there was interest in us coming to play with their orchestras. We immediately discovered that most schools have no money for their music programs. We then thought of performing the shows as fundraisers, helping to raise funding for the school's music programs. As we started talking to the schools, we found out that many of them don't even have a place on campus for a school symphony concert...but they do have an 80,000 seat football stadium! I had one school music director actually break down emotionally on the phone with me – he was very distraught that this might be his school's last year with a music program. He thought this concert might actually save the music program for another year,” the band says on its website.

The Augustana Orchestra is one of the major ensembles at the College with the goal of providing a valuable training ground for orchestral musicians while producing high quality and exciting musical performances.

The history of the Orchestra is filled with experimentation and challenge. Founded in 1922 as a collaborative organization with the growing city of Sioux Falls, the Orchestra became the original South Dakota Symphony. For many years, the focus of Augustana’s Orchestral Program was within that model until the enrollment at the college grew as well. This growth led to a second opportunity for string players and the study of orchestral performance on campus.

In 2007, yet another groundbreaking collaboration took place when Augustana College and the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra (SDSO) partnered to support the Augustana String Quartet, the only professional string quartet in residence at a college in the region. The members of the quartet serve as associate principals in their respective sections in the symphony and as adjunct teaching faculty for Augustana College, with special emphasis on recruiting student musicians for Augustana’s string program.

The Augustana’s Orchestra’s repertoire consists of major works, overtures, as well as traditional, contemporary, and popular literature for the orchestra. Talented music majors and non-majors alike play an active role in the orchestra program while pursuing music as a major or in other academic disciplines. The orchestra is often featured in Recital Hour, Chapel Services, and to promote interest in Augustana’s music program by playing with high school orchestras throughout the region. The January 2012 concert tour of the Midwest will be the first time in many years that the Orchestra performs in concert “on the road,” bringing beautiful music to many people throughout the region. 

Kelly Sprecher
Director of Communications & Media Relations