I spend my weekdays at City Hall downtown, marinating in political dramas, community fights and “important news.”
So here’s how I get a break:
I seek out sanctuary through gorgeous music in the city’s glorious sanctuaries. Kansas City is blessed with many great choral groups, but my personal favorite is the William Baker Festival Singers, an auditioned 50-member choir specializing in sacred music and spirituals. They usually sing in the magnificent Grace & Holy Trinity Cathedral and in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. Baker also directs the Summer Singers, about 100 people who just love to sing. By summer’s end, they will be a fabulously blended choir, performing one of Handel’s masterworks on Aug. 20.
More world-class music
Park University’s International Center for Music has stunningly talented piano, violin and cello faculty and students, who perform regularly at Park’s Graham Tyler Chapel in Parkville. These musicians blow me away with their virtuosity in performances that are often free. The concert schedule resumes in the fall, and I can’t wait.
Restful river walk
Nearly every weekend finds me walking the 3-mile trail in Parkville’s English Landing Park. It’s a great way to get up close and personal with the Missouri River, which gives Kansas City its identity. Added bonus: sightings of all sorts of songbirds, plus ducks, hawks, great blue herons and (rarely) bald eagles.
Kauffman Memorial Garden
I have a brown thumb for gardening, with as many plant failures as successes. So to get my fix of beautiful blooms, I head to the Kauffman Memorial Garden, 4800 Rockhill Road, exquisite in every season. Neighboring homes also have lovely gardens, so I can at least see what successful landscaping looks like.
Scientists say one “bucket list” item should be viewing a total solar eclipse. We have a rare chance this summer to witness this phenomenon, where the moon completely covers the sun. Daylight will dramatically shift to dusk for just a few minutes shortly after 1 p.m. Aug. 21. The path skirts Kansas City but targets St. Joseph, Lathrop and Plattsburg. Fred Espenak, NASA scientist emeritus (known as “Mr Eclipse”), spoke to a mesmerized UMKC audience recently and said it’s the sight of a lifetime. But he strongly recommended advance planning to make the most of the experience. I’m following his advice to get educated and get ready. More information is at eclipsewise.com (click on “solar eclipses”).