— Spyglass Ridge Winery will be the setting tonight for a concert by the iconic rock band Kansas that will include some special guest musicians — the Williamsport Symphony Orchestra, providing the symphony aspect of Kansas’ 2012 Collegiate Symphony Tour.
The show "will have everything our fans would expect to experience at one of our shows, but the entire experience is taken to a large level with us performing with a full symphony,” said guitarist Rich Williams. “We’ll be playing all our hits and some lesser known songs from our albums and our nearly 40 years in music, but with the symphony the show is even more powerful. This is definitely a show you’ll want to see because this doesn’t happen often, the chance to hear a legend of rock and roll performing with a symphony in your hometown.”
A mainstay in the vinyl days of 1970s and early 1980s music scene, Kansas was headed to a life that mimicked one of their most popular chart hits, “Dust in the Wind,” unless they could reinvent themselves to compete with the changing music scene.
“Everyone falls off the radar at some point in their music career. It happened to everyone at some point and some level,” Williams said. “So you learn to adjust to it and find a new approach.”
Although there is no place like home, Kansas took a different path away from their typical style of performing to embark on a new path in 1998 when the band collaborated with the famed London Symphony Orchestra on a studio album aptly named “Always Never the Same.”
Since that time Kansas has mixed up its typical performances with shows backed by a symphony. The result has received rave reviews where they have performed no matter if it’s domestically or internationally.
“Working with a symphony is an amazing experience and it provides us with the chance to work with so many different symphonies around the world, but it is also extremely challenged since we typically only have one rehearsal with the symphony in the area we will be performing,” Williams said.
Another added challenge is the fact that the band has released 23 albums over the years, giving them a large and varied collection of music from which to select.
With only several weeks of notice that the show was moving forward, the Williamsport Symphony Orchestra, was ready to provide the strings and sound for Kansas.
“This is an honor for the symphony to work with such legendary band like Kansas,” said Ruben Council, executive director for the WSO.
“Although we won’t have a lot of rehearsal time with the band, we are looking forward to the concert and performing with Kansas.”
The symphony is no stranger to backing touring bands and musical productions. Not only did the symphony recently back Mannheim Steamroller for their Christmas performance in Williamsport, the WSO was also hired to perform in Wilkes-Barre with the group.
Tonight, the WSO will be setting such classic hits as “Point of Know Return” and “Carry on Wayward Son” to music that will impress and entertain.
In addition to Williams, Kansas features Phil Ehart on drums, singer and keyboardist, Steve Walsh, bassist Billy Greer and violinist David Ragsdale.
Proceeds from the concert will go toward scholastic organizations and scholarship funds.
“This show is going to be like nothing you have ever seen,” Williams said. “There will be all our hits set to the powerful music of a full symphony. It will be a great time.”
If you go:
What: Kansas with the Williamsport Symphony Orchestra.
When: Entrance starts at 5 p.m. with show time slated for 8 p.m.
Where: Spyglass Ridge Winery, 105 Carroll Road, Sunbury.
Check them out: www.kansasband.com
And: The show is held outdoors rain or shine and refreshments will be available.
For more information: Contact Spyglass Ridge Winery at 286-9911 or visit www.spyglassridgewinery.com.