Kenai Peninsula Orchestra

355 West Pioneer Avenue
Homer, AK 99603

907-235-4899

History :

The Kenai Peninsula Orchestra (KPO) was the inspiration of flautist Terry Kallenberg in 1983. With Mary Epperson as president of the Board, the Homer Council on the Arts provided organizational and moral support while Bob Richardson, a local music teacher and theater enthusiast served as KPO's first-conductor. He guided the orchestra through seven years, and began our association with Pier One Theatre as their musical branch. Mark Robinson joined the orchestra as the Artistic Director and conductor in 1989. Nancy Chambers has been concertmistress of KPO since the second season. From the very first year Maria Allison has been instrumental in making the peninsula-wide effort work. In 1998 KPO made the decision to begin the Summer String Festival and to maintain a year-round season. At that time Laura Norton put down her clarinet (mostly) and began managing the orchestra. Mary Epperson continues to be The Force behind our organization.

The Kenai Peninsula Orchestra combines players from Homer, Kenai/Soldotna and Seward. Players from other areas of Alaska and beyond join in as they are needed or able. Rehearsals usually involve round-trip travel of 70 miles or more; seldom are all the players together at the same time before a concert! The musicians in this orchestra are all volunteer and generally are not professionals, although some have been or could be if they chose. They play for the love of the music and joy of ensemble work.

Our musicianship has improved immensely with guidance from the DeVere Quartet of Syracuse, New York who provide their time each year during the Summer String Festival to play with us, perform concerts, and lead workshops. The behind-the-scenes workers are also mainly volunteer. KPO enters into contracts to provide reimbursement to key individuals whenever possible, but no KPO production has ever folded for lack of salaries! It is the dedication of our volunteer staff that makes KPO so successful.

Our yearly seasons include the Summer Music Festival, A Family Concert, The Winter Recital Series, the Homer High School Musical, and a winter or spring concert such as a community Messiah sing or the Combined Concert with the Anchorage Civic Orchestra. Through the years the KPO has hosted many world-class guest artists, from Broadway vocalists and a Czech cellist to the Boston Pops Jazz Ensemble. We have joined with the Homer High School Choir and community singers to perform the Mozart Requiem, the Brahms Requiem and the Vivaldi. Gloria. In 2002 KPO participated in the international effort called the Rolling Requiem in memory of the 9/11 victims, as the sole representative of the Alaska time zone. In 2004 KPO joined with Homer High School and community singers to present Karl Orff's Carmina Burana.

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