A Note from the President
Michael Morrison, TSO Board President
To the membership of the Topeka Symphony Society
The 74th season of the Topeka Symphony was shortened by the pandemic. There were many accomplishments before the stay at home orders were rendered. The orchestra under the direction of Maestro Kyle Wiley Pickett continues to excel in their musical skills and ability to entertain. The theme was “The American Playlist” and we had scintillating performances by remarkable soloists. Pianist Alexander Tutonov performed the show stopping ‘Rhapsody In Blue”, Marika Bournaki performed a Mozart Piano concerto, and Tessa Lark a. violinist performed a bluegrass themed concerto. The final 3 concerts were postponed.
The TSS committees, in the abbreviated year, worked hard arranging pre-concert and post-concert events. They also worked with Kyle to provide many speaking opportunities. Frugal House in October of 2019 was a success but had to be canceled for 2020.
The Youth Ensembles Task Force which was formed in 2018 continues working to improve the youth program. Thanks to the members of the Task Force for their hard work in this shortened year. Two concerts were preformed before the cancelation of the spring. An initiative was begun and named the “Topeka Strings for Success.” This allowed 9 fifth graders, who otherwise would not have an opportunity, to be taught private lessons. Thanks to Carolyn Sandquist, the teacher in this program and the director of the Debut Orchestra.
Thanks to the Topeka Symphony League for the 31st annual Gala. It was once again very successful. The League members continue to work very hard and will be challenged with social distancing requirements. They are a very important source of volunteers for the TSO concerts and the youth ensembles and performances. Please mark your calendars for Feb. 5, 2021 the date of this year’s gala. The theme is “Havana Nights.”
The board of directors wishes to extend our deepest appreciation to the staff at the Topeka Symphony Organization, who have worked tirelessly in these unprecedented times. Without Bob Keckeisen, Kathy Maag, and Kyle Wiley Pickett we would not even have the possibility of a 2020-2021 season. Problems to over-come included a change of venue, a change in ticket selling in a time of social distancing and changing finances.
Additionally, we extend a special thank you to the orchestra members and our conductor, Kyle Wiley Pickett, to members of the Board of Directors, the Topeka Symphony League, Symphony Endowment Board of Trustees, and our volunteers, all of whom are so vital with their dedication and commitment to the Topeka Symphony.
We are looking forward to the 75th season in whatever form it takes.
TSS Board President