Sky and prairie, wildflowers and butterflies, historical and contempory, beautiful music. Horses riding into the sunset.
Scenes from a movie?
No, scenes from Kansas.
More specifically, Symphony in the Flint Hills, Second Annual Concert 2007, Wade Pasture, Wabaunsee County, Kansas. The concert is a partnership of the Trusler Foundation, K.T.Wiedemann Foundation (current owners of the concert site), and numerous other sponsors. It is a Kansas jewel.
“Breathtaking” was overheard most often among the 6,855 ticket holders and volunteers in attendance. Our friends Jeanne and Denny as well as Dan and I agreed.
The drive to the Wade pasture took us through Eskridge. The whole town must have been on main street. We could have spent time there looking at the exhibit of pictures of the Flint hills published in a recent edition of National Geographic Magazine. Wishing to secure a good spot for the concert, we pushed on down several miles of gravel roads to the concert site.
According to the Symphony in the Flint Hills 2007 Almanac, the Wade pasture is named for Achilles B. Wade, a Lawrence businessman and member of the proslavery “Bogus” Legislature of 1855. The pasture has retained his name.
As we began the three quarter mile walk to the concert site, the beauty of the location was immediately evident. A long view down a classic Flint Hills vista with several horse riders in the distance, wildflowers with butterflies up close and the smell and feel of a fresh summer breeze all together in a perfect late spring day.
Upon arrival at the site, we staked our claim. The program was a mere $2 and well worth the purchase. We studied the numerous choices for educational forums and entertainment. We opted for the tent with programs about traditional and current Flint Hills ranching and stewardship practices. Actual people who live the day to day ranch life shared dialogue and answered questions. Cowboys are colorful and have wonderful stories.
As the concert time drew near, we purchased our pulled beef and pork sandwiches, baked beans, potato salad and slaw. We were amazed that in the remote hills of Kansas, we would enjoy such delicious food.
Flags carried by current Ft Riley soldiers dressed in dragoon attire and on horseback, began their journey across the valley and progressed to the concert site. Almost total silence made the scene very touching.
The anticipated concert began. The sound system was superb even to the point of hearing individual instruments. A highlight was the solo of Orange Blossom Special by Marvin Gruenbaum. I felt privileged to hear this familiar blue grass standard played by a professional musician and backed by a full orchestra. Another favorite was Buckaroo Holiday from Rodeo by Aaron Copland. All selections were timely for the setting and melodic to an untrained ear.
Almost as if on cue, with the beautiful notes from Finale from Dances With Wolves Suite by Barry, the orange and yellow sun began to slide into the distant Wabannsee County Kansas Flint Hills.
Click on picture for slide show of the event.