Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Symphony in the Flint Hills

This past weekend we were given last-minute tickets to the 7th Annual Symphony in the Flint Hills, which was set in the last stand of Tallgrass Prairie.

'Once a vast prairie covered one-third of our continent–an endless grassland teeming with bison, deer, antelope, fowl and wildflowers of every color. Today, an untouched piece of that prairie still exists in the Flint Hills of Kansas.

Each spring there is a gathering, a coming together of art, nature and the kindred souls who appreciate them both. For one evening, the meadowlark’s song is joined by a Symphony in the Flint Hills.

Before the plow tilled the surrounding lands, before train track split the endless sea of green, native grasses stood as high as a man’s chest on the tallgrass prairie. Here, where vast limestone and flint deposits made tilling impractical, the largest portion of virgin tallgrass prairie remains intact in the Kansas Flint Hills. This is where we gather.'

Taken from the website

It was a mile long walk from the parking lot to where the symphony was located. We meandered along the winding path through the beautiful Tallgrass Prairie, where a stiff breeze kept us from roasting in the sun. Along the path were local ranchers sitting tall on their horses, and sometimes posing for photos.

Just over the rolling hills we could see the very tips of a dozen or more white tents. And as we got closer it was quite a sight. Over 7,000 people gathered from 55 Kansas counties, several states, and even a few who traveled here from abroad. The tents held food, beer & wine, and information on educational topics such as prairie plants, geology of the Flint Hills, history of cowboys, and art inspired by the prairie. There was even an ‘Instrument Petting Zoo’ under one tent. And if you arrived early enough you could catch a ride in a covered wagon for a spin out on the prairie.

The symphony itself was wonderful. Most of the pieces were related to spring and summer, the vast prairie, cowboys and the like. Up in the hazy sky was a small plane, probably taking photos of the event. There were a few times the plane seemed to be in sync with the concert as it glided back and forth silently across the sky.

The riders and their horses put on a show of their own out on the prairie; some posing for photos, letting the little ones pet the horse, or sending the horse on a gallop. As the concert ended the ranchers gathered up all the cattle and herded them to water. It was quite a sight to see, and the crowd went wild with applause and snapping photo after photo.

The Big Guy up above put on a show of his own, after all he is a Master Artist. Behind the orchestra the rolling hills made a wonderful backdrop. And just as the concert was about to end, the bright orange sun settled down on the horizon like a big ball of fire. I don’t think it can get any better than that!

So the first weekend in June my husband and I ate a gourmet meal in a beautiful cornfield close to the Kaw river—a lovely setting. And the second weekend in June we were listening to the Symphony in the Flint Hills, with the Tallgrass Prairie and the rolling hills as the backdrop.

After two events in a row I fear we are in danger of becoming refined. But my husband assured me with his response ‘It ain’t gonna happen’.

A big thanks to my husband for taking these wonderful photos!


Jenni said...

What an amazing event! The tents are quite a spectacle in themselves....I love the covered wagons....and the cowboys are easy on the eye! Lovely photos, thank you so much for sharing it with us.

Lori Bowring Michaud said...

Well THAT looked like lots of fun Alice! My husband's response would have been identical.....

Lela said...

AMAZING. That would be such fun! The tents remind me of the Denver airport. :)

We live near the Tallgrass prairie in Oklahoma. I would love to hear that symphony.

In the Light of the Moon said...

How wonderful and looking at your amazing photos makes me smile smile smile!! Thank you for sharing these amazing adventures and I can stop smiling because of what your hubby said at the end!!heehee.
xox Cat

Cyndi J said...

What a magical day. Love the ranchers along the path. I would have gotten goosebumps seeing the wagons on the prairie. And watching the ranchers herd the cattle--words can't describe that feeling. The last photo of the sunset is spectacular. Kudos to your husband. And like Cat, I love your husband's "It ain't gonna happen'.

Diana said...

Wow this looks as though it was just an amazing experience. A step into the old west. Really enjoyed reading this post.



Deborah Vogts said...

I've always wanted to attend the symphony there. Thanks so much for sharing the pictures. Blessings to you!