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Kansas State University
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Source: David Littrell, 785-532-3804, dlitmus@k-state.edu
Website: http://www.k-state.edu/media/mediaguide/bios/littrellbio.html
and http://www.k-state.edu/orchestra/
Note to editor: The following students are graduates of an Olathe high school -- Katy Zimmerman Olathe East High School; Bryce Craig and Stephanie Lamb, Olathe North High School; Mitchall Crane, Olathe Northwest High School; and Lindsey Kramer, Cara Sharp and Gregory Weber, all Olathe South High School.
News release prepared by: Beth Bohn, 785-532-2535, bbohn@k-state.edu

Thursday, Jan. 20, 2011

K-STATE ORCHESTRA PREPARES TO ROCK WITH KANSAS

MANHATTAN -- David Littrell isn't sure who is more excited about the Kansas State University Orchestra's upcoming performance with the rock group Kansas: the orchestra members or their parents.

"When I told the students about it last fall, they were thrilled. They all wanted to do it. Then I heard from their parents. Many of them are from the same generation as the band and are big fans. They can't wait for the show," said Littrell, conductor of the K-State Orchestra and university distinguished professor of music.

The Kansas concert is part of K-State's McCain Performance Series and will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 28, in McCain Auditorium. Ticket information is available at http://www.k-state.edu/mccain.

Kansas, which produced a string of hits in the '70s and '80s and is still recording today, has eight gold albums, three sextuple-platinum albums, one platinum live album and the million-selling gold single, "Dust in the Wind."

The 80-member K-State Orchestra will accompany the band on a number of arrangements, including the group's big hits "Dust in the Wind," "Carry On Wayward Son," "Point of Know Return" and other works, Littrell said.

Making the whole experience even more memorable for the orchestra is that the concert is being taped for a documentary on the progressive rock band by Smoky Hills Public Television, Bunker Hill. The documentary, which could be distributed to other PBS affiliate stations, will include behind-the-scenes footage of the orchestra and band preparing for the concert, interviews with members of Kansas and the orchestra, and more. The K-State Division of Communications and Marketing's video production services unit is assisting with the project.

To prepare for the concert the orchestra will have four two-hour practice sessions led by Littrell, then a final rehearsal on the afternoon of the show led by Larry Baird, guest conductor for the performance. A noted composer, arranger, conductor and performer, Baird wrote the orchestral arrangements being used in the concert.

The K-State Orchestra has a distinguished history. It was founded in 1867 and has been in continuous existence since 1882. The orchestra has played in K-State performances with noted musicians before, including acoustic duo Jay Ungar and Molly Mason. But Littrell said this would be the first time the ensemble performs with a rock band.

"The students are ready to try something so completely different from Brahms," he said. "Rock 'n' roll isn’t easy music to learn. It has totally different rhythms."

The experience is also a new one for Littrell, who is a classical musician. In addition to conducting the K-State Orchestra, he teaches cello, double bass and viola da gamba. He even was a member of the orchestra in the late '60s and early '70s as an undergraduate at K-State.

"The only Kansas song I knew before now was 'Dust in the Wind.' I just wasn't big on rock music in the '70s when Kansas hit it big. But I'm a big Kansas fan now," he said.

Members of the K-State Orchestra include:

David Struss, Abilene, trombone; Hannah Graves, Arkansas City, violin II; Brian Williams, Augusta, trumpet; James Rutherford, bass, and Emily Sawyer, cello, both from Berryton; Kristen Beeves, Bonner Springs, horn; Sabrina Hamilton, Canton, violin I; Jeffrey Hicks, Emporia, cello; Marguerite Fredericksen, Fort Scott, violin II; Karina Camacho Godoy, Garden City, viola; Andrew Mitchell, trumpet, and Jordan Profita, clarinet, both from Goddard.

From Greater Kansas City: Sarika Brinkman, viola, Dylan Howes, viola, Brandon Mais, bassoon, and Natalie Rauth, viola, all from Leawood; Andrew Szczesny, percussion, and Anne Wicoff, piano, both from Lenexa; Bryce Craig, timpani, Mitchall Crane, violin II, Lindsey Kramer, horn, Stephanie Lamb, violin II, Cara Sharp, violin II, and Gregory Weber, viola, all from Olathe; Taylor Connolly, viola, Charles Hower, trombone, Bret McCandless, cello, Chance Reed, bass, Emily Riley, piccolo, and Haley Sandberg, horn, all from Overland Park; Katy Zimmerman, Prairie Village, bass; and Michael Kleiss, violin I, Mishi Modiri, viola, and Mark Wheeler, bass, all from Shawnee.

Adam Watson, Junction City, percussion; Collin Hosek, Lawrence, percussion; Annika Schneider, Lindsborg, viola; Greg Agnew, Louisburg, horn.

From Manhattan: Christine Aikens, violin I; John Allred, horn; Kimberly Hoglund, violin I; David Hwang, violin II; Emily Kerr, violin II; Trevor McCarty, violin II; Anna Murphy, violin I; Elizabeth Riedy, violin II; Astin Rodriguez, cello; Emory Rosenow, violin I; Bobby Scharmann, bass; Daniela Thrasher, flute; Kelly Tracz, oboe and English horn; and Kristen Weddle, cello.

Kevin Arpin, violin I, and Brianne Roberts, violin I, both from Pomona.

From Salina: Courtney Balaun, violin II; Ann Nguyen, oboe; and Landon Vinson, violin I.

Patricia Murphy, Spring Hill, violin II; Adam Lesser, viola, and Amanda Sewell, violin I, both from Tecumseh.

From Topeka: Alex Bency, cello; Sara Downing, flute; and Joy Holz, viola.

From Wichita: Alan Benest, cello; Mike Campbell, tuba; Nicole Clark, cello; Katie Helmer, bassoon; Sarah Henning, violin II; Sarah Hodges, cello; Kristianna Johnson, violin I; Christian Kaufman, cello; Ben MacGill, violin I; Kaitlyn Rodee, cello; and Jacob Schmidt, viola.

From out of state: Jarrett Taylor, Boulder Colo., bass; Katherine Klinefelter, Whitehall Mich., trumpet; Adam Bugele, Washington Mo., cello; Melissa Woodworth, Papillion Neb., clarinet; Bryant Letellier, Los Alamos N.M., trombone; and Emily Pugh, Arlington Texas, violin II.