Kearney Symphony Orchestra performing outdoor concert Saturday at Frank Museum

KEARNEY – More than 30 years have passed since Kearney Symphony Orchestra last performed an outdoor concert.

So, you definitely don’t want to miss this weekend’s show.

The orchestra comprised of University of Nebraska at Kearney faculty and students, as well as instrumentalists from communities across the region, will present “The Great Outdoors” at 3 p.m. Saturday (Oct. 3) on the lawn outside the G.W. Frank Museum of History and Culture on the UNK campus.

The two-hour concert, which is free and open to the public, features a number of pieces that will be familiar to attendees, as well as a special appearance by members of UNK’s dance program.

“We are pleased to have the opportunity to gift the Kearney community with this concert of outstanding orchestral music that is sure to entertain audience members of all ages,” said UNK music professor Tim Farrell, president of the Kearney Symphony Orchestra Board.

The season-opening concert showcases different sections of the orchestra through works by Percy Grainger, Claude Debussy, Charles Gounod, Bela Bartok and Camille Saint-Saens.

It opens with “America the Beautiful,” with hand signing by John Gosswein, and includes a performance of Bartok’s “Romanian Folk Dances” featuring UNK student dancers and choreography by director of dance Noelle Bohaty.

The program’s signature piece is Saint-Saens’ “The Carnival of the Animals,” which concludes the show. This charming and comical work features a host of soloists depicting animals through different instruments. The pianos (fish), violins (donkeys), cello (swan) and flute (birds) are among the creatures the audience will recognize. Guest pianists are Nathan Buckner of UNK and Brooks Hafey of Chadron State College, with narration by Crane River Theater’s Steve Barth.

“Each movement of ‘The Carnival of the Animals’ is introduced with the delightful poetry of American poet Ogden Nash, written some 60 years after this composition made its debut. The clever poems are brief and capture both the lighthearted spirit of the work and the listener’s imagination,” said Kearney Symphony Orchestra music director and conductor Alison Gaines, an assistant music professor at UNK.

Saturday’s concert, supported in part by a grant from the Theodore G. Baldwin Foundation, will be conducted with COVID-19 safety measures in place. Audience members are required to wear face masks, and orchestra members will also wear masks.

Socially distanced seating will be available for the concert, and audience members are welcome to bring lawn chairs or blankets to sit on.

The G.W. Frank Museum of History and Culture is located at 2010 University Drive on the west side of the UNK campus. Concert attendees are encouraged to park in Lot 22 north of the museum along University Drive or Lot 26 west of the museum off U.S. Highway 30. On-campus parking is free.

Restroom facilities will also be available.

In the event of inclement weather, the concert will be rescheduled to 3 p.m. Sunday (Oct. 4).