Lee's Summit Journal

Conductors share similar goals, different styles

It’s been almost 40 years since a Lee’s Summit High School orchestra teacher noticed a Raytown student with extraordinary musical talent, and a “mutual admiration society” between Russ Berlin and Kirt Mosier has only grown stronger. Berlin, co-founder and conductor of the Lee’s Summit Symphony Orchestra, will share duties with Mosier, who has been named associate conductor for the upcoming 16th season.

Berlin has paved the way for Mosier’s career ever since Berlin moved from Lee’s Summit High School to teach in the new Lee’s Summit North High School and Mosier succeeded him at the original high school. In fact, Mosier said he considers him a father figure.

More recently, Mosier led the orchestral program at Lee’s Summit West, retiring last year. He is also a renowned composer, arranger, clinician and performer whose stellar career is described more fully at www.lssymphony.org. Berlin put the Lee’s Summit school orchestra programs on the map before retiring and starting the Lee’s Summit Symphony, and Mosier and others have continued that legacy of excellence.

During the Lee’s Summit Symphony Orchestra’s next season, which begins at the Pavilion at John Knox Village on Oct. 13, the two will share conducting duties. Mosier is especially looking forward to the pops concert he is planning around the theme of the old USO shows, for which he hopes to sell 1,600 tickets.

He praises the quality of the orchestra and hopes to help continue its growth by contributing special arrangements and occasional compositions. Listeners can expect to hear an occasional modern number and for concerts to become “events” following the orchestra’s move to the Pavilion at John Knox Village.

Berlin admits to having little pangs of sadness about the inevitable decrease in his participation, but with a generosity of spirit he says the orchestra will only continue getting stronger under shared leadership with Mosier.

It’s a 40-year friendship, after all.

Carol Rothwell lives in Lee’s Summit and is a Friend of the Symphony and former board member.