Classical Music & Dance

Jan Kraybill concert in Helzberg Hall a meditation on World War I

Helzberg Hall’s Julia Irene Kauffman Casavant Organ
Helzberg Hall’s Julia Irene Kauffman Casavant Organ FILE

World War I, which began on July 28, 1914, will be a dominant theme in the coming classical music season. Most of Kansas City’s classical music groups plan commemorative concerts that will explore the “War to end all wars.”

Jan Kraybill, principal organist for Community of Christ in Independence, will inaugurate this year of concerts with a thoughtfully programmed and inspirational recital Aug. 17 in Helzberg Hall.

Kraybill, also curator of Helzberg Hall’s Julia Irene Kauffman Casavant Organ, has chosen music written during the time of World War I, music that serves as a meditation on that devastating conflict. Kraybill, who has been performing in Europe the past several weeks, shared her thoughts in an email interview.

“Recent events in our world have proven that we still have a lot to learn about dealing with human disagreement without resorting to name-calling and violence,” she wrote.

“It’s interesting to be writing to you about these things this week while I’m outside the U.S. As always, I’ve found that traveling, seeing news broadcasts in another country, talking to people here, all make me aware there are many views and many stories to consider.

“I believe in the power of music to educate us, connect us, and inspire us to better things. Peace, or war, is made up of individuals making individual decisions.

“That’s what makes this concert not just a boring history lesson but a very relevant expression of human fears and hopes, then and now, from many perspectives.

“I hope that, by experiencing this performance and even by singing together, we can feel a connection with the past and a sense of hope for the future.”

On the program are Aaron Copland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man,” Edward Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance Military March No.1, Op. 39, Louis Vierne’s Prelude and Allegro from Symphony No. 4 and Marcel Dupré’s Poème Héroïque, as well as transcriptions of two songs that were quite popular during the war, “Over There” and “Pack Up Your Troubles in Your Old Kit Bag.”

Organist Jan Kraybill, “Saluting Those Who Served,” 4 p.m. Aug. 17 in Helzberg Hall.

Ensemble Iberica, ‘Flamenco Mio’

Ensemble Iberica, guitarist Beau Bledsoe’s new group devoted to music of the Iberian peninsula and Latin America, had a very successful concert last month when the group presented a program of fado, Portuguese soul music.

That concert, the group’s first, sold out. Ensemble Iberica’s next program, “Flamenco Mio,” promises to be just as popular. It will be presented twice, once at the Lied Center Pavilion in Lawrence and once at the Polsky Theatre at Johnson County Community College.

This time Ensemble Iberica will be joined by flamenco dancer Melinda Hedgecorth, saxophonist Mark Southerland and vocalist Daniel Azcarate. The sultry music and dance from Andalusia should make for a perfect August evening’s entertainment.

8 p.m. Friday at the Lied Center Pavilion, 1600 Stewart Ave., Lawrence, and 8 p.m. Saturday at the Polsky Theatre, Johnson County Community College. $15-$18.

Music at the Cathedrals, the Pherigos

Now here’s something you don’t get to hear every day: music from Charles Ives’ “Concord Sonata.” And there’s a reason why. It’s one of the most fiendishly difficult pieces ever written for piano.

You’ll have a rare opportunity to hear two movements from the massive sonata Sunday, when pianist Robert Pherigo tackles the work in Grace & Holy Trinity Cathedral. It’s part of the Summer Music at the Cathedrals series.

For one of the movements, Robert will be joined by his flutist wife, Lyra. She’ll also join her husband for Aaron Copland’s Duo for Flute and Piano. As a treat, the Pherigos, both fine singers, will perform songs by Ives and Copland.

2 p.m. Sunday. Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral, 415 W. 13th St. $10 at the door. More information at

Patrick Neas is program director for You can reach him at