Symphony In The Flint Hills Set To Return On Saturday

Jun 7, 2021

The Symphony in the Flint Hills is back after two years of cancellations — and so far there’s no threat of another cancellation on the horizon.

Through art, music and educational presentations, the Symphony in the Flint Hills tells the story of one of the last standing tallgrass prairies in North America.

The 2019 event was cancelled after storms damaged the concert site, and the pandemic was the culprit in 2020.

As vaccinations rise and the weather forecast looks more promising, Operations and Donor Relations Manager Kelly Tastove said she is excited to welcome people from across the country to the Flint Hills, where she grew up.

The event is Saturday, with a rain date of Sunday.

“After the last two cancellations, that was hard,” Tastove said. “It feels good to be able to create this gathering and have people be excited to come to it.

“We have a sold-out crowd, and people feel comfortable coming to it as well in today’s world.”

The Santa Fe Trail is the event’s theme this year, in honor of the trail’s 200th anniversary. The trail connected Missouri to New Mexico in the 1800s, before the introduction of the railroad.

The trail ran through Council Grove, which Tastove says is just a mile north of the event’s site in Morris County.

Throughout the afternoon, people can watch 30-minute presentations about the Santa Fe Trail, with topics ranging from star navigation to the culture of the Kaw Indians.

This year’s Field Journal will be available for purchase at the event. The journal features several articles about the trail, including the impact westward expansion had on native tribes.

Since May, the Prairie Art Exhibit has been on display in the Symphony in the Flint Hills Gallery in Cottonwood Falls. People can bid in the online auction until June 15.

The Kansas City Symphony will end the evening with a sunset concert. Associate Conductor Jason Seber says that after a difficult year, people are anxious to hear live music again.

“Performances like Symphony in the Flint Hills are a triumphant statement that live music is back and perhaps more meaningful than ever before,” Seber wrote in an email.

He said he is looking forward to conducting three selections in particular that celebrate the music along the Santa Fe Trail. Marvin Gruenbaum arranged the songs just for this concert.

Katelynn McIlwain is KMUW's Korva Coleman Diversity in Journalism intern. She will be a senior this fall at the University of Missouri.