Creative ‘Carnival’ delights audience, KSNT anchor delivers insight in poetry


Washburn’s Symphony Orchestra presented “Carnival of the Animals” in its first concert of the school year. Norman Gamboa and guest conductor Ken Hakoda conducted the exceptional performance with narration by KSNT news anchor Amy Lietz.

Audiences assembled at 7:30 p.m. last Thursday in the White Concert Hall in Garvey Fine Arts Center. Describing the concert as a little unusual, Gamboa expected there to be more involvement with the audience than in a usual concert setting.

“It is a different repertoire, but also a likable concept,” said Gamboa. “I am very enthusiastic about it.”

Gamboa incorporated some unique elements, such as inviting a guest conductor to do what could be called a conductor exchange. For a few years, he had been discussing with Salina’s Symphony Orchestra conductor, Hakoda, the possibility of guest conducting each other’s symphony orchestras. Gamboa extended Hakoda the invitation to conduct the selections “Arañitas de Sueño,” which means “Little Spiders of Dream,” and Symphony No. 73, “The Hunt.” Hakoda revealed that it was his first time doing the conductor exchange and planned on Gamboa guest conducting Hakoda’s symphony orchestra March 30, 2008, in Salina.

“Experiencing different conductors is always good because it is a breath of fresh air for everyone,” said Hakoda.

The use of two soloists in the performance was also against the norm. As opposed to the usual one, the audience heard twice the talent in the piano solos of Charles Axton and James Rivers.

Additionally, Lietz was invited to do some narration. Gamboa had desired a local celebrity with musical background to fill the position and he seemed pleased to have Lietz fill the part. Although she had never done anything like it before, Lietz’s television experience seemed to give her the skills she needed.

“I don’t know what to expect,” said Lietz before rehearsal. “[Gamboa] had mentioned using musical talents.”

Perhaps the originality of the performance is what attracted more students than ever before to the symphony orchestra this year. Gamboa wanted them to keep in mind that music is fun.

“It is a completely different experience when you get into live performances,” said Gamboa. “The process of putting it together is what makes it so great.”