Written by Theresa Rose on July 7, 2015

The Southeast Iowa Symphony Orchestra has unveiled plans for its 65th season. Under the direction of conductor Robert McConnell, the regional orchestra will present a full slate of classical concerts, Kidsymphony concerts, summer & holiday concerts, the Pops and educational activities. Complete details about the orchestra and the season are now available at

The first performance is the annual “Symphonic Blast!” in Burlington’s Crapo Park, July 11, 2015. Starting at dusk (8:15), the concert will be a rich and wonderful blend of popular and light classical music. As always, it will conclude with Sousa’s Stars and Stripes Forever and the best fireworks in the region. Bring your family and a picnic supper for a very memorable evening in Crapo Park. With funding from the John H. Witte, Jr. Foundation, the Starker Trust – City of Burlington and the Harry and Virginia Murray Foundation, this concert is offered free of charge with an opportunity to make a free-will donation to the orchestra.

Immediately following Symphonic Blast, on Sunday, July 12, 2015, SEISO will perform a special chamber concert in memory of Margaret Hansen at 2:00 PM at the First United Methodist Church in downtown Burlington. The concert will include a variety of music including classical, folk and modern music. The Orchestra plans to permanently endow a chair in honor of Margaret Hansen’s many years of outstanding service to the symphony. Audience members will have an opportunity to make a free-will donation which will go directly to support this project.

In September, SEISO will perform 2 extraordinary POPS concerts. The first performance with dinner & concert will be held Saturday, September 19, 2015 at Bridge View Center in Ottumwa. The Burlington Pops will follow on Sunday evening, September 20, 2015 and will be held at Memorial Auditorium. Featured guest artist is mezzo-soprano Hannah Kurth – a native Iowan currently living in New York City. Tickets for dinner and the concert are ordered directly through the Burlington and/or Ottumwa Pops Committees. Reservation forms will be mailed in August. Those who do not receive the SEISO season brochure and wish to order Pops tickets for the first time, should contact the Symphony Office at 610 North Main, Mt. Pleasant, IA 52641 or write to Tickets for concert-only seating will be available (without prior reservations) at the door at each venue.
Season tickets will go on sale next week for SEISO’s classical concert series (fall, winter and spring). The fall concert series (October 24-25, 2015) is an eclectic mix of fabulous music including: Schoenberg’s arrangement of J. S. Bach’s Prelude and Fugue in E-flat (St. Anne); Karelia Suite by Sibelius; Ravel’s Alberada del Gracioso and Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 5 (Reformation).

There will be three presentations of SEISO’s Kidsymphony Concert for Families in Ottumwa, Mt. Pleasant and Burlington Saturday, November 14, 2015. Music director, Robert McConnell and the SEISO will take a light-hearted approach to introducing children and their families to the symphony orchestra. Each concert lasts about 45 minutes – not too long for little ones to enjoy from beginning to end. They’re funny, fast-paced and very entertaining. Tickets for Kidsymphony concerts are sold at the door ($3 for adults and $2 for kids) or included free of charge with season tickets ordered before August 1, 2015.

A special chamber concert will be the first SEISO performance to ring the holiday season with a concert scheduled for 2:00 PM, Sunday December 6, 2105 at the beautifully restored St. Peter & Paul Catholic Church outside Harper, Iowa. The performance is free of charge with an opportunity to make a free-will donation.

SEISO’s former “Messiah Sing” has been enhanced to a full Holiday Concert with the addition of Christmas carols and popular holiday music. With underwriting from the Haselmayer Foundation for the arts, this concert is offered free of charge and will be presented at 3:00 PM, Saturday, December 12, 2015 in the chapel auditorium at Iowa Wesleyan College in Mt. Pleasant.

The Winter Concert Series (February 13-14, 2016) promises to be a show stopper with a performance of Mahler’s colossus Symphony No. 5 and the winner of the Marilyn Minford McCoid Young Artist Competition.

The Spring Concert Series (March 19-20, 2016) features SEISO’s Artist-in-Residence, trombonist William Baker. For two weeks prior to the concerts Baker will be teaching and performing for schools and community groups throughout Southeast Iowa. The orchestra will complete its 65th season with selections for trombone and orchestra (TBA) as well as Jancek’s Sinfonietta and Robert Schumann’s Symphony No. 4.

Conductor and Music Director, Robert McConnell said, “I am honored to be serving as the Music Director for the Southeast Iowa Symphony Orchestra. The SEISO has served our region admirably over its history, providing performing opportunities for scores of musicians both as orchestra members and soloists. It has also been the first orchestral listening experience for thousands of school children and many adults. It is a bedrock arts organization in Southeast Iowa. In short, the Orchestra has enriched, and will continue to enliven the cultural life of our region for years to come.”

Southeast Iowa Symphony Orchestra will send out ticket brochures July 7, 2015, as plans for the 65th season will be unveiled next week. All orchestra donors will be recognized in the season’s classical concert programs at various levels, based on the amount donated. The cost of season tickets is a bargain at $40 for adults, $25 for students and $80 for family passes. Those who place orders by August 1, 2015 will also receive free tickets to SEISO’s Kidsymphony family concert, November 14, 2015. Patrons, who choose to forego their free tickets, may have them donated to their local school district.

Detailed information about concerts, schedules, tickets and other programs is available on the orchestra’s web site: To receive a season brochure, please contact the SEISO office at 601 North Main Street, Mt. Pleasant, IA 52641; phone (319) 385-6352 or send e-mail to