Archive for Sunday, June 13, 2010

Flint Hills event draws thousands to experience ‘a pure Kansas night’

Symphony in the Flint Hills attendees start to fill in the natural ampitheater in the South Clements pasture pasture seven miles south of Bazaar. The land is owned by Texan Ed Bass. In 90 minutes, the event sold out, selling 5,000 general admission tickets.

Symphony in the Flint Hills attendees start to fill in the natural ampitheater in the South Clements pasture pasture seven miles south of Bazaar. The land is owned by Texan Ed Bass. In 90 minutes, the event sold out, selling 5,000 general admission tickets.

June 13, 2010

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— Over the past week, a city of tents sprang up like mushrooms in a pasture just southwest of Cottonwood Falls. On Saturday, more than 6,000 people gathered on the prairie to celebrate the beauty and culture of the Flint Hills with tours, educational programs, art and music.

They came from all over Kansas, and all over the world, to enjoy a unique combination of the Flint Hills, the Kansas City Symphony and Lyle Lovett.

Retta Kramer, of Milford, and her family attended the event last year.

“It’s amazing, the pageantry they put with it just gripped you,” she said. “This is a beautiful setting, and in the open air. We’ve decided it’s going to be a family tradition.”

Kansas Gov. Mark Parkinson gave a rousing welcome to “a pure Kansas night.”

Symphony in the Flint Hills Inc. was formed in 2006 to bring music and prairie lovers together and to heighten awareness and appreciation of the tallgrass prairie.

The original tallgrass prairie of the Great Plains stretched from Canada to Texas. Three hundred million years in the making, only 3 percent of the ecosystem remains.

Experts on prairie ecosystems, wildflowers, grasses, birds and insects presented educational programs throughout the afternoon. Cowboys on horseback demonstrated their skills in riding and roping, and visitors to the event jostled through the prairie in horse-drawn wagons.

“The best part is watching people react to the cowboys and the ranching heritage,” said Mike Beam, chairman of the nonprofit’s board of directors.

The Kansas City Symphony, conducted by Steven Jarvi, performed a selection of tunes with a pastoral theme, with names like “Cowboy Rhapsody” and “Buckaroo Holiday” and accompanied Lyle Lovett on “Which Way does that Old Pony Run.”

Jim Ochs, of Gridley, said four years ago he bought tickets to the Symphony in the Flint Hills for his five siblings and their children, invited them to a reunion, but didn’t tell them where they were going. They piled onto a school bus and as they approached the symphony site, he told them they were going to be enjoying some classical music on the prairie.

“We all need a little culture,” he told them.

Some of the family groaned and complained that they didn’t like classical music or being out in the tall grass and hot sun.

“After the finale that evening, my niece came up to me with tears rolling down her face and said, ‘Thank you, that was so lovely,’” Ochs said.

Since that first event, Ochs and his wife Joyce have returned each year as volunteers.

Comments

MacHeath 4 years, 11 months ago

sounds cool. I love the Flint hills. There is a great drive to the east of Matfield Green. About a 20 mile loop with no fences. Take a map, and don't get off on one of the oil field roads. :-) Also, the area around where that doppler radar station is, west of Topeka is nice. You can see for 30 miles south.

Stuart Evans 4 years, 11 months ago

Growing up, the Flint Hills were my playground. I recommend not taking a map, and exploring every road you can.
I'll never forget the night I spent tripping in the middle of a field when a herd of cattle surrounded us.

slowplay 4 years, 11 months ago

That explains a lot, man. Peace, dude. "Like a true nature's child, we were born, born to be wild. "

Naturalistic 4 years, 11 months ago

The Flint Hills are sacred ground and it is so inspiring for so many people all over this great land to have come together to celebrate the joy of our collective bounty. Peace and joy to all that have built the unique partnership that has resulted in this area being recognized and experienced as a national treasure!

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