Art Within Reach

Dispersed throughout 417-land is a buzzing art scene that is constantly evolving and growing.

DISCLAIMER: The information in this article was fact checked and accurate at press time, but 417 Magazine cannot guarantee its accuracy indefinitely.

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Photos courtesy SRO Lyric Theatre

Springfield Regional Opera: A Lyric Theatre 
411 N. Sherman Pkwy., Springfield, 417-863-1960,

True to its name, the theatre group performs traditional operas but enjoys flirting with the edges of musical theatre. No matter the show, the Springfield Regional Opera: Lyric Theatre knows how to put on a good performance, which is no shocker since the group started from the Springfield Little Theatre more than 33 years ago. When the group decided it was time to branch out and delve more into operas, it took a note from SLT and made entertaining its primary business. Always offering a promising season, the group performs at the Gillioz Theatre, the Springfield Art Museum and First Baptist Church. It’s a dance that has served the Lyric Theatre well, as each venue offers a chance to reach a different audience and stage a variety of shows. The theatre also takes any chance it can to entertain off the stage, especially at local special events. Operazzi Night—a classical jazz and music theatre cabaret open-mic night packed with live piano, beverages, snacks and boundless entertainment—has become an SRO seasonal staple. It’s a chance to share Springfield’s musical talent (of Springfield Little Theatre and performers from the surrounding colleges) with the public. Singers and songwriters come in and put on such great performances that castings have even resulted. No matter the venue or the production, SRO is always looking for ways to expand its musical talents. Be sure to indulge in the 2013–2014 season, which features four mainstage performances, including Mozart’s Italian opera Cosi Fan Tutte October 24 through October 27 and The Barber of Seville next February. 


Photos courtesy Springfield Symphony Orchestra

Springfield Symphony Orchestra 
411 N. Sherman Pkwy., Springfield, 417-864-6683,

The lengthy history of the Springfield Symphony Orchestra begins back in 1934 with the formation of the Springfield Symphony Society and its 40-member orchestra. Since that time, the orchestra has held monthly performances each year and calls the stage at Juanita K. Hammons Hall home. New this year, Kyle Pickett starts his first season as the newly appointed music director of the symphony and leads the orchestra as it taps into two musical veins: classical and pop. Each season, the orchestra performs six classical concerts and three pops concerts, offering audiences the best of both worlds. After all, who said orchestras had to stick to the likes of Mozart? While classical remains at the core of the symphony’s musical repertoire, the 63-member orchestra throws in plenty of sing-along numbers from popular Broadway musicals and movie soundtracks at its pop concerts. It’s a lineup that appeals to ages across the spectrum, which seems appropriate since the musicians themselves range from 25 to 80 years old and include community members, music teachers, university faculty and students. 


Taneycomo Festival Orchestra

There’s exciting news for classical music enthusiasts in the Branson area. A new non-profit organization debuted in 2012 with a mission to bust the myth that classical music is stiff and elitist. The new group, dubbed the Taneycomo Festival Orchestra (TFO), gives a two-week free concert series each year that takes classical music far from the traditional stage, performing at shops, schools and hotels. The aim is to provide a casual and accessible concert series. TFO invites talented musicians from all over the world to spend a few weeks in the Ozarks performing alongside students and local professionals. Stay tuned for upcoming TFO shows. The next show is November 4 at Vintage Paris Coffee Shop in Hollister.  


Heartland Opera Theatre 
3016 Woodland Dr., Joplin, 417-782-4953,

Rooted in Joplin, this theater troupe performs two productions each year with one opera and one musical theatre or operetta show. To start the 2013–2014 season, Heartland Opera Theatre joins forces with Missouri Southern State University (MSSU) Theatre Department and the MSSU Institute of International Studies to bring to the stage Pagliacci, Ruggiero Leoncavallo’s opera of jealousy, revenge and tragedy. The opera is performed in Italian with subtitles displayed along the side of the stage and is free to the public October 11 and October 13.


Springfield-Drury Civic Orchestra

Made up of professional musicians, students and music enthusiasts alike, the Springfield-Drury Civic Orchestra was founded in 2005. This largely volunteer orchestra is propelled forward by a passion for music and performs four concerts each year, including a Halloween Pop concert on October 30. All shows are free and open to the public. Of course the civic orchestra is just one of many musical groups housed on the Drury campus. There’s also the Drury wind symphony, chamber orchestra, a jazz ensemble and choirs.


Summer Symphony Orchestra

This new community orchestra in Joplin puts together one concert each summer. The group was started by teacher/musician John Atteberry and is co-directed by Terry Dolanc, longtime retired orchestra director at Joplin High School, as a way to unite seasoned performers with students. The group performs at the Thomas Jefferson Independent Day School and plans the 2014 show to fall around the Fourth of July. Visit to learn about upcoming performances.


Belt it Out
Open-mic night at Springfield Regional Opera: A Lyric Theatres Operazzi is a great time to sing your favorite songs or watch the professionals who are performing. Operazzi takes place once a month. Visit for more info. 


Learn to Sing
Take voice lessons at Starfall Studio (Branson, 417-593-1400), or sign up for piano, guitar and even stage coaching lessons. 


Play an Instrument

Learn to play violin, flute, saxophone, guitar, drums, piano and much more, at Pellegrino’s School of Music and Art (1269 E. Republic Rd., Springfield, 417-887-2800,
Springfield Music (3100 S. Fremont Ave., Springfield, 417-881-1373) and Ernie Williamson Music (925 S. Rangeline Ave., Joplin, 417-624-3157, offer private music lessons for guitar, violin and more. 
• Become a rock star at any age at School of Rock Springfield (1658 E. Sunshine Rd., Springfield, 417-837-7625, 


Enjoying art in a gallery or museum is a risk-free way to see what’s new on the local art scene and scout up-and-coming artists. But how do you make that move from casual window shopper to full-blown art collector? We talk with two art pros, Director of the Springfield Art Museum Nick Nelson and Executive Director of the George A. Spiva Center for the Arts Jo Mueller, to get their expert advice on how to start your own art collection. 

1. Enjoy the Process “Above all, enjoy the process and the search. Growing your collection not only supports the artists whose work you choose, it nourishes you, acknowledges your individuality and brings authenticity to your surroundings.”—Jo Mueller 

2. Develop Your Eye “The best way to do this is to look at a lot of art. Go to every museum and gallery you can find. Take your time as you look at the work. Note similarities and differences between the art you see in these different places. Developing your eye is very similar to developing your palate. You do so by tasting a lot of different things, even things you may not think you will like.”—Nick Nelson

3. Ask for Advice “Get to know other collectors. Most have a passion for art and will be happy to talk about it. If you are serious about art as an investment, try to find a reputable art consultant.”—N. N.

4. Check Out Art Shows “Acquiring original art is a process. Some collectors get that first piece from an art walk or from group exhibitions where much of the work is for sale. University art sales and senior shows are good places to discover affordable new work. Depending on your tastes, you might even find pieces you’re crazy about at estate sales and second-hand stores.”—J.M. 

5. Look for Added Value “Look for provenance or a chain of ownership. Does the person selling the work know where it came from? Has it ever been exhibited? These details might enhance the value and importance of the work.”—N. N.

6. Learn All You Can “Take an art history class and read all you can. You can even take a studio art class to become familiar with media and techniques.”—N. N.

7. Look for Quality and Condition “Not all works by aN artist are created equal. Artists sometimes have their off days, and even the best artworks can be mishandled and mistreated. By learning as much as you can about the artists you like, you will be able to tell if the art is not of the best quality and condition.”—N. N.

8. Work With Your Budget “If funds are tight, get postcards and posters of work that appeal to you. Pin them up, and live with them. The goal is to surround yourself with pieces that make you happy and to recognize if and when your tastes change.”—J. M.

9.  Don’t Cheap Out “Avoid the temptation of trying to find the proverbial ‘thrift-store da Vinci.’  You will only end up with a lot of worthless art you don’t even like.” —N. N.

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