Symphony Orchestra to host international talent

| Andrea Hucke reporter |

If there’s one thing that Raúl Munguía wants the community to know about tonight’s performance of the Southeast Kansas Symphony, it’s this: don’t expect it to be boring.
The SEK Symphony will perform at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, March 13, at Pittsburg’s Memorial Auditorium. The concert is composed of five pieces that will take the audience through a range of emotions as well as composers.
Tonight’s performance will feature two guest artists as well. Ney Fialkow, associate professor of music at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, in Porto Alegre, Brazil, will play the piano while Marcos Machado, chamber musician and music professor at the University of Southern Mississippi, will perform on the double bass.
“We try to frequently have guest artists or soloists at our productions,” said Munguía, assistant professor of music and artistic director of the Symphony Orchestra. “We just want to make sure that the symphony is not only interesting for us, but for the audience as well.”
While the 60-member group goes by the name of Southeast Kansas Symphony, Munguía explained that it predominately consists of PSU students from all areas of study.
“The majority of the ensemble members are students here, some music majors, others music minors, still others aren’t in the music department at all, but have experience with the standard symphony repertoire,” Munguía said. “We also have 11 performers who are community members and freelancers.”
The performance will be the symphony’s third concert of the year and has required quite a bit commitment from its members, who have been attending full orchestra and sectional rehearsals for more than a month.
The rehearsal schedule can be strenuous, but SEK musicians say they are no strangers to the long practice sessions as they perform several times a year as well as accompanying the PSU Opera productions.
“Other than our four big concerts, we also put on a Halloween performance of pop and classical music for the kids of the community,” Munguía said. “In addition, we have an educational concert coming up, which will be for about 700 children from the Pittsburg and Frontenac school districts.”
Apart from the joy he takes in conducting the orchestra, Munguía says he is anxiously awaiting the completion of the Performing Arts Center and the opportunity of directing in the new building.
“The day I get to be a part of a production at the new building is the day I see my dream come true,” he said. “It will be the happiest day of my life.”
Munguía added that creation of live art in front of his eyes and those of the audience is no doubt an invigorating process and he feels it shows his passion for music.
“One of my dreams is that the student community at PSU will look forward to our concerts,” Munguía said. “I think they have the vague idea that classical concerts are boring, and I want to change that.”

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