Modeled after the Kansas Collegiate Symphony Concert presented by D’Addario, Kansas took a break from their fall university concert schedule to appear with the U.S. Army Orchestra for a Veteran’s Day concert at Constitution Hall in Washington, DC.

The idea for the concert, produced by Glenn Smith Presents Inc., came from Kansas drummer and manager, Phil Ehart.  “We say the success of the our Collegiate Symphony Concert tour, so generously supported by D’Addario, that we wondered if we could expand the concept for this “one-off” opportunity.  It was 11-11-11, and Veterans Day – we determined we’ve got to do something.”

Army Entertainment’s Scott Radosevich booked the U.S. Army Orchestra to back Kansas, convincing Sting to reschedule and play Constitution Hall one night early to secure the venue for Veterans Day. Tickets were distributed to current and previous military personnel throughout the great Washington DC area.

“It was a joint effort between community recreation, marketing, and public affairs,” Radosevich said. “We all came together. It all fell into place relatively easily because everybody was excited about the project.”

Members of Kansas said they were just as excited about playing with a military orchestra.

“This is a great, great group of musicians,” said Kansas bass player Billy Greer, who celebrated his 23rd wedding anniversary playing with the U.S. Army Orchestra. “What better place for a military orchestra than at Constitution Hall in our nation’s capital on Veterans Day on 11-11-11? There’s something special about that.”

Kansas violinist David Ragsdale seconded that sentiment.  “I first heard about it from Phil,” he said. “Phil is a colonel’s son, and I’m a bit of a patriot myself. I got choked up when he told me. Washington, D.C., Constitution Hall, Veterans Day, military orchestra — I was overcome. They are a phenomenal group. …And we would like to say to all the troops: ‘For all you do, this tune is for you. Thus we coined the concert the “Carry On” concert celebrating these special men and women’s dedication to the United Stands, and Kansas’ signature song, “Carry on My Wayward Son.'”

Kansas opened with “The Star-Spangled Banner,” played classics “Point of Know Return,” “Dust in the Wind” and “Miracle out of Nowhere,” before closing the 90-minute show with “Carry on my Wayward Son.”

Staff Sgt. Christina Wensel went toe-to-toe with Kansas violinist David Ragsdale during the closing improvised solo portion of “Dust in the Wind.” “We didn’t actually get to rehearse it until the sound check right before the show, so I was just totally — words can’t really describe how exciting it was to play up there with them,” said Wensel, 32, a violinist for Pershing’s Own U.S. Army Orchestra. “That was the highlight of a lifetime to get to share the stage with legends.”

The Kansas Collegiate Symphony Tour presented by D’Addario has dates for 2012.  Go to www.kansasband.com or the complete tour schedule.  For more information on D’Addario, please visit www.daddario.com.

D’Addario & Company, Inc. designs, manufactures, and markets complete lines of strings for fretted and bowed musical instruments, drumheads, drumsticks, drum practice pads, and guitar and woodwind accessories under the proprietary brand names D’Addario, Planet Waves, Rico, Evans Drumheads, Pro-Mark Drumsticks, and PureSound Percussion. The company also runs theLessonroom.com and Guitar.com.  D’Addario products are marketed in approximately 120 countries.


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