Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Jazz and Classical fight like mad dogs at Helzberg Hall

This past Saturday was my first concert at Helzberg Hall in the Kauffman Center.

I discovered there are three things I like about Helzberg Hall:

  1. It smells of fresh wood. I noticed it as soon as I entered. 
  2. The seats are blue, not the more typical loud red. Two pleasing shades of blue that seem to alternate at random intervals.
  3. The cheap seats are the best seats in the house.  
The cheap seats put me in the choir loft, overlooking the Kansas City Symphony. I had a bird's eye view--the view of a low-flying bird that at any moment might choose to relieve itself on the violinist's head. Why would I want to pay more to sit out on the floor when I could be right where the action was? If a symphony musician yawned or grabbed a furtive scratch inside his armpit, I was there to see it. 

                Sitting behind the orchestra also enabled me to see conductor Aram Demirjian as the musicians
                see him. I greatly enjoyed all his gesticulations!

                 Note the piano player to the right of the conductor.  Also, the bass player, drummer, and guitar
                player. You can tell they are jazz musicians because they are wearing black. What are jazz
                musicians doing up there with the KC Symphony?

    Getting ready to solo, of course! Roger Wilder launches into his solo on a Charlie Parker number. 

Still going at it.

Still at it..........

      At last he finishes. Triumph! Awesomeness makes Bobby Watson point.

                     Roger was performing with Bobby Watson and the KC Symphony as a member of Bobby's
                    All-Star Big Band for the Shake, Rattle and Roll concert, a mashup of jazz and classical.
                   Contrary to my sensationalistic headline, the jazzbos behaved themselves for the most part  
                    and everyone got along.  The concert came off like a rose.

Roger, guitarist Rod Fleeman and drummer Ryan Lee look on as Bob Bowman throws down.


  1. Wow!
    How cool. Reminiscent of the recent Detroit Symphony Orchestra/Kid Rock mash up, that I attended.
    (well....maybe not quite that diverse...but cool, nonetheless)

  2. Ha ha. Yeah, that actually happened, didn't it? Kid Rock and the Detroit Symphony?

  3. love the photos! that is pretty wonderful. did roger and the guys have to attend rehearsals? you are blessed to have that experience.

  4. Yeah, we rehearsed twice with the symphony. The jazz guys were a bunch of goofballs next to the flawless professionalism of the symphony. We had guys walking in late to rehearsal, coming back late from break, and getting off on tangents. The worst was when the conductor told us to start at letter "R," and the jazzers start imitating pirates, saying "Arrrr, arrrr" while the conductor and the pros sat waiting for us to finish adolescence. It was a great couple nights!

  5. love love this! this is just the coolest ever. roger has now surpassed us all. his hipness if off the charts, baby! so glad that ryan lee was the drummer. i think he is amazing. not as amazing as the roginator, of course