Central Church has always been one of the anchors in the historic Old Munichburg/Southside of Jefferson City. This church was, for so many years, the center of this community. We are working hard to reclaim that place and that role in Jefferson City. One way we are trying to do that is to open our doors to the wider community with some new and exciting  initiatives.  One of these new ideas is The Southside Philharmonic Orchestra—a new chamber orchestra which will be based here at Central Church and featuring some of the finest classical musicians from Jefferson City and Central Missouri. Our former Director of Music, Dr. Patrick Clark, was its founding Artistic Director and Conductor.  The focus of the orchestra will be on enriching the cultural climate of our community, encouraging excellence in music performance and providing audiences the opportunity to experience a diverse repertoire of music.

The Southside Philharmonic Orchestra is an Arts Outreach of Central Church.

Check out SPO’s website at www.southsidephilharmonic.org

Upcoming Events

To Be Announced

Recent Performances

The curtains are closed; instruments have been put away; tap shoes and ballet slippers have been traded for tennis shoes and fuzzy socks; the sweet sound of children’s voices still reverberate throughout the air, even as the children themselves lay safely in their beds; and the wolf…that oh-so-expressive wolf, is now ensconced in its new home, never to bother poor birds or cats or ducks or boys named Peter ever again…at least for now.

On Friday, Dec. 13 and Saturday, Dec. 14. the Southside Philharmonic Orchestra, in collaboration with Dancers’ Alley and a choir comprised of children from local elementary schools, presented their holiday showcase, “Fairy Tales, Furry Tails, and Festivals”, featuring Prokofiev’s “Peter and the Wolf”, Meyerbeer’s ballet “Les Patineurs” (The Skaters), and Leroy Anderson’s “Sleigh Ride” and “A Christmas Festival”.

Prokofiev’s symphonic fairy tale “Peter and the Wolf” has delighted generations. Dancers’ Alley and the Southside Philharmonic Orchestra transported audience members into an enchanted land where musical instruments convey the movements of people and animals. They watched and listened as these creatures interacted with each other in a peaceful meadow…until a cagey (and uncaged) wolf arrived, with dire consequences.

In addition, they presented Meyerbeer’s ballet “Les Patineurs” (The Skaters). This tells the story of a group of young people gathering to skate across a frozen pond, gliding and spinning in various combinations, celebrating a wintry day with joyous revelry.

Finally, a choir comprised of children from local elementary schools joined the orchestra to sing Leroy Anderson’s “A Christmas Festival”, a medley of carols and holiday favorites. Much like with the Whos in Whoville, even the Grinch’s heart would melt if he had heard these children singing. I was at the performance Friday evening, and got chills more than once.

Thank you to our partner, Dancers’ Alley, and to your dancers and instructors. You are an institution in this town, and the continued class, grace, and passion of your dancers gives testament to how well trained they are, and how devoted your instructors are to their students. We continue to be honored to collaborate on these projects with you. If your child has any interest in dance, SPO highly recommends that you visit with the staff at Dancers’ Alley. You can find their information on their Facebook page, or on their website dancersalley.com

Thank you to the children who comprised our choir…who raised their voices in jubilation and song…and who gave up afternoons to practice and to memorize the music. Your cherubic voices melted many hearts. Thank you especially to their parents who helped to get them to those rehearsals, and who then came out to attend the performance to hear the finished product. Your devotion to your child’s interest in the arts will serve them well as they move forward.

Thank you to our musicians, who answer the call time after time. Without you, there is no orchestra. Always know that we value your talents and your contributions to the success of this orchestra.

Thank you to our donors and sponsors who help to make all of this possible. Please, show your support to these individuals and businesses, and let them know that you appreciate their support of arts programs in this community.

Most importantly, THANK YOU to the members of this community at large who continue to support productions like this. Without your continued support, these performances would not be possible, and life would be much less interesting. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

When the Southside Philharmonic Orchestra presented the works of Monteverdi and Gabrieli in March 2019 as part of our Early Baroque Reprise! performance, the emotion about which I wrote afterwards was bliss…pure, unadulterated bliss.

When the Southside Philharmonic Orchestra presented works by Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven in May 2019 as part of our Kings of Classical performance, I wrote about might and momentousness, effervescent joy, and magnitude and magnificence as we took a spiritual and emotional journey through the works of these masters.

On the evening of October 18, the talented musicians of the Southside Philharmonic Orchestra, in conjunction with nine amazingly gifted vocalists, presented “An Evening At the Opera” and the emotion that I am left with is…AWE.

Over the course of thirteen arias and choruses, chosen by the vocalists themselves, from eight of the most well-known operas written by seven master composers, these impressive vocalists and the talented musicians took the audience on an emotional journey through love, loss, lust, laughter, betrayal, and death. It was an impressive undertaking, and the results were awe-inspiring.

Thank you to you, our fans, who come out every concert to support us. Thank you to the new attendees who came out for the first time tonight. We hope that we not only met, but that we exceeded, your expectations, and that you will come back to see us at future performances.

Thank you to our donors and sponsors, who help to make all of this possible. Please, help support these businesses and individuals and let them know that you appreciate their continued support of arts programs in this community. If you are a business owner or individual and are interested in becoming a donor or sponsor, please email spo@email.com (yes, that’s email.com, it’s not a typo). We would love to talk with you about how you can help us present more performances like this in the future. A special thank you to Capital Region Medical Center who printed our posters and programs and also to Central United Church of Christ who hosts our orchestra and whose members go out of their way to make us feel like family.

Thank you to the talented musicians who continue to answer the call to play. An orchestra is nothing without musicians, and SPO has some of the finest musicians in Missouri playing for us. You continue to delight and amaze us, and make it all look effortless in the process. We had several musicians play with us for the first time on this program. Welcome to the SPO family. We are so happy that you have joined us!

Thank you to those nine amazing vocalists who answered that first email inquiring about their availability and interest. Patrick was beyond overjoyed that so many of the people that he was hoping would say “Yes!”, immediately did so with enthusiasm. Christina, Michael, Samantha, Kerry, Rachel, Ryan, Bethany, Christine, and Sandy…All of you are BEYOND amazing. The word I keep coming back to in my mind is AWE. I am in AWE of your talents. I can not wait to have video clips available so that I can share them with those people who were unable to attend tonight.

Thank you to our master of ceremonies T’Keyah Thomas. Your delivery of those introductions had just the right humor, wit, charm, and spirit, exactly when necessary, to give them their full effect. For those unaware, T’Keyah is an on-air announcer and producer for KBIA and is the host and co-founder of the spoken word collective OneMic. One of her poems, paired expertly with an individual doing aerial yoga may be found here: https://youtu.be/XDKiq64i3W8 (it is simply breathtaking in how the words and the motions synchronize, and in the impact that the entire piece has on the viewer.)

Thank you to our board of directors who work behind the scenes to (try to) make sure everything runs smoothly. It makes for stressful, sometimes sleepless nights, but this end result is definitely worth it. Thank you Julie Schroeder for those beautiful slides that tied in with the arias and choruses, and for the work that you did on the introductions and that welcoming speech, as well as being the impetus for the idea of a concert of arias and choruses. I believe that we are all thankful that you brought this idea to Patrick..

Thank you to the Mad Genius that is Patrick Clark, who sometimes gets these crazy ideas, but they always seem to work out, (“I want to do like a wild 70’s concert poster” “For a symphony orchestra??” But we all have to admit that poster has grown on us, and it’s definitely eye-catching). Without your passion, there would simply be no orchestra. Also thank you to Gary Sanders, who does far more than any of us even realize to make sure that this orchestra continues to operate. If Patrick is the Mad Genius, Gary is not so much Igor as maybe Lithium… he keeps us all grounded and on task, and for that alone, everyone owes him a debt of gratitude. Add in that he is an insanely talented pianist, and he is invaluable to the orchestra.

I certainly hope that I haven’t forgotten anyone. If I have, the error is mine alone. Chalk it up to a mind lacking sleep and filled with awe and with melodies drifting through it. Thank you again to everyone involved in any way with “An Evening At The Opera.”

For our next performance, Southside Philharmonic Orchestra will partner with Dancers’ Alley on December 13 and 14 at the Miller Performing Arts Center for ballet performances featuring Meyerbeer’s “Les Patineurs”, Prokofiev’s “Peter and the Wolf”, and Anderson’s “Sleigh Ride” and “A Christmas Festival”. We hope that you and your family will join us

Videos of these performances may be found on our website: www.southsidephilharmonic.org/media

The Southside Philharmonic Orchestra returned to the sanctuary of Central United Church of Christ on May 17 at 7:00 pm for “The Kings of Classical” featuring works from Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven. These three masters defined what is known today as the Classical Era in music and we were delighted to perform a selection of their works:


Joseph Haydn spent large portions of his career in remote areas, isolated from the trends of other musicians, which forced him to be original. For much of that career, he was the most celebrated composer in Europe, mentoring Mozart and tutoring Beethoven. In the late 1760s, Haydn began to create works that were more intensely expressive, more passionate, and more daring, such as his “Trauer” (Mourning) Symphony #44.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart exemplified the Viennese Classical ideals of elegance, balance, poise, and sophistication. He began composing at the age of five and performing before European royalty, He is among the most popular of classical composers. Joseph Haydn once wrote of Mozart, “posterity will not see such a talent again in 100 years”. His Piano Concerto No. 17 has been praised for its elegance and extremely beautiful modulations. SPO is honored to feature Gary Sanders as soloist for this performance.

Ludwig van Beethoven grew up in the shadows of Mozart and Haydn, and became a student of the latter after moving to Vienna. Throughout his career, he experienced varying degrees of hearing loss. However, this did not stop him from becoming one of the most influential and most recognized of all composers. Written at the end of his middle period, Beethoven’s Symphony No, 8 is cheerful and light-hearted in places, substantial and elaborate in others. Of the final measures of this symphony, Tchaikovsky noted that it was “one of the greatest symphonic masterpieces of Beethoven”.

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This concert is a reprise of the concert that the Southside Philharmonic Orchestra performed in October at Central United Church of Christ. This time though, the SPO is performing these works at St. Peter’s Church, in a cathedral acoustically designed to enhance the musical effects of the compositions.
A review of the previous concert stated:
“The complexity and sheer elegance of the musical selections from Gabrielli and Monteverde resonated beautifully throughout the rafters. The antiphonal effect from brass performers placed in various locations in the sanctuary and balcony melded into a harmonious confluence of sound. If you were one of the approximately 200 in attendance, you were treated to an evening of auditory bliss. One thing is absolutely certain, Carl Burkel is looking down after last evening’s performance and beaming with joy at the audacity of performing works of this magnitude in Jefferson City.”

If you attended the previous performance, you already know that you’ll want to hear these baroque echoes again. If you were not in attendance at the previous performance, we hope that we have enticed you to attend this time. Tickets are available in advance through the website, or at the door. This is a concert that you will not want to miss.

The Odyssey Chamber Music Series held a Baroque Concerto in the Central UCC sanctuary on Saturday, February 16 in conjunction with the Southside Philharmonic Orchestra. This is the second year that Odyssey and SPO have partnered for this collaboration, which called for a performance in Columbia on Friday evening and the performance in Jefferson City on Saturday. Due to the weather, the Friday evening performance was canceled; the Saturday evening performance went forward though, and those in attendance experienced some truly mesmerizing music.

Odyssey is a well-established orchestra in
Columbia. Because of our partnership
with them, it was integral that things go
smoothly to make a positive impression.
We faced some uncertainties and concerns due to the weather situation, but the members of Central Church stepped up to make sure
that the evening went as planned. Most
of the musicians were from Columbia and
all had wonderful things to say about the
church and its members. Many church
members also attended the performance
and we hope that you enjoyed (and
continue to enjoy) the music that we
perform.  We hope to see you Friday,
March 22 at 7:00pm at St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Jefferson City for a
performance of “The Early Baroque
Reprise!: Echoes From 17th Century
Cathedrals” featuring the madrigals of Monteverdi and the antiphonal noble
brass of Gabrieli. This is an encore
performance of the October 2018
performance in our sanctuary that so
captivated the audience, but performed this time
in the acoustic confines of St. Peter’s Church. This is a performance you won’t want to miss.
The next performance in the Central UCC sanctuary will be the “Kings of Classical Music” on May 17, comprised of the works of Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven, and featuring soloist Gary Sanders on Mozart Piano Concert No. 17 

The curtains have closed. The Mouse King has been defeated. Clara is awakening from her dreams. Ballet shoes have been removed. Costumes are put away. Instruments are in their cases. The sets have been struck. The conductor’s baton has been relinquished…for now.

All that is left is to express our heartfelt gratitude to everyone involved in this production — from the amazing dancers from Dancers’ Alley to the impressive musicians of the Southside Philharmonic Orchestra to the multitudes of supporting characters — to those who helped sew or build or paint or sell or promote or help in any other way. But mostly, THANK YOU to the parents, grandparents, and citizens of Jefferson City and the surrounding area for supporting the arts and this production so passionately. Without you and your continuing support, productions such as this would not be possible. Thank you all!

The Southside Philharmonic Orchestra (SPO) opened its 2018-19 season at home in the CUCC Sanctuary with a rare set of early Italian Baroque masterpieces by Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643) and Giovanni Gabrieli (1556-1612).

This music is more than 400 years old (!), and would have been heard by audiences contemporary with William Shakespeare. 1600 is typically considered to be the end of the Renaissance and beginning of the Baroque in music. The music by Monteverdi and Gabrieli inevitably exhibits characteristics of both eras but most importantly they both developed bold innovations that would define the Baroque era so commonly associated with Vivaldi and Bach who lived more than a century later.
As unlikely as this may seem, the music of Claudio Monteverdi would have struck the ears of his audiences at the time with effect similar to the Beatles sound to audiences in 1960’s America. Monteverdi’s music was startlingly fresh, abandoning much of the formal discipline from the previous (15th) century—a‘pure science of relationships’ in the words of
American musicologist Lewis Lockwood—in favor of emotionally expressive music that served the meaning of the text. In the case of Monteverdi’s madrigals, the music and text are achingly poignant, and one must hear this to appreciate the truth of this statement.

All noble brass writing through to the present finds its origin in the compositional methods of Gabrieli who was famous in St. Mark’s Cathedral in Venice for writing magnificent works that split brass choirs into every available corner of the cathedral for dramatic spatial effect. SPO presented seven of Gabrieli’s brass works, some containing twelve independent parts and instruments simultaneously, in the authentic antiphonal style within the Central United Church of Christ—this was a sonic event that had probably never been attempted in CUCC and should have been an unforgettable experience for attendees.