nSounds kinda crazy, doesn’t it? It sounds even crazier when you find out that the event takes place in June, requires nearly a mile walk into a field from a small gravel road and the number of attendees is roughly 7,000 people. But, it’s all true and it’s awesome!
The 11th annual Symphony in the Flint Hills took place about 2 weeks ago. Surprisingly, I heard about this event for the first time 3 years ago and learned just this year that I could volunteer. Thanks to my friends, Matt and Katie, I have found that I love to attend the Kansas City Symphony happy hour concerts. I couldn’t wait to hear the symphony in my beloved Flint Hills! I wasted no time sending in my volunteer application, saying I would work any shift, on any task.
I received my assignment; trash and recycle, from 7pm to midnight. Not glamorous, but I would soon discover that none of the volunteer jobs are. It’s Kansas in June; hot, humid, and dusty and the event was outside, but I was still excited to go! An email from the volunteer director let me know that I would be receiving a volunteer t-shirt for the occasion, with the theme for 2016 on the back. The theme… The Future of the Flint Hills. Clearly my volunteering this year was meant to be, I was about to own a shirt; a sunflower yellow one, confirming my future was in the Flint Hills!
Symphony Day finally arrived and, by the time I headed out for the event at 11:30am, the temperature was already 90° and was supposed to climb to 98°, with not a cloud in the sky. The AC is currently on the fritz in my Subaru, so the drive down was a warm and windy one, with all the windows and sunroof wide open. Warm weather, windows down, music up is really the best way to take a road trip anyway, right?
I arrived at the event roughly 4 hours before the symphony was to begin playing, and my volunteer shift didn’t start until the same time, so I wandered through the tent with the paintings for the silent auction, and the Flint Hills store. I listened to some of the speakers and visited the stargazing tent where I looked through some impressive telescopes to view the sun and moon. I would visit this section again later in the evening and also see Jupiter; with 3 of it’s moons, Saturn and Mars. There were also guided prairie walks. I started with a group but ended up wandering off by myself to enjoy the scenery.
My friend, Jerri was also volunteering, so we met up to say Hi, wander a bit and of course, take a symphony selfie. Her blog from symphony day can be found here.
Shortly after, she headed back to Kansas City and I checked in with my group. Much to my surprise, we were told to go enjoy the symphony, check the trash and recycle at intermission and regroup after the music. I had expected to be busy the whole time and to only hear the symphony, so this was wonderful news.
They symphony was simply amazing. I didn’t know what to expect really, but the sound was fantastic, the stage was perfect and the cattle being rushed across the fields by several cowboys and cowgirls, to the theme from The Magnificent Seven, made me stupid happy! Then there was the sunset and you all know how I feel about those, even when I’m not in the Flint Hills!
The finale was Home on the Range, the Kansas State song, and all in attendance were invited to sing along. I can’t swear to it, but it sure sounded like everyone joined in. I know I did. You can watch the video I made of Home on the Range here and the cattle drive here; bear in mind that I am a photographer, not a videographer!
When the symphony was done, the trash and recycle crew set out to do the final clean up. Thankfully we were given golf carts and sturdy trash bags. From about 9 to midnight we made countless trips emptying the many bins that were set out, it was dirty work, but we had a good crew and did a pretty great job of making the best of it.
As I headed back to my car, I thought about the day. I was hot, exhausted and covered in dirt. I smelled like beer and bar-b-q. My pedometer registered 9 miles worth of steps. It had been a perfect day in the Flint Hills.