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Village Players orchestra returns to stage Oct. 16 for first performance since start of pandemic

Destiny Mermagen

Village Players, an orchestra based out of Village Presbyterian Church in Prairie Village, is set to host a concert Saturday, Oct. 16, the ensemble’s first since the start of the

Village Players, an orchestra based out of Village Presbyterian Church in Prairie Village, is set to host a concert Saturday, Oct. 16, the ensemble’s first since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Destiny Mermagen, Village Players’ founder and a violinist, said the group’s goal even before the pandemic had been to fill a void she noticed after moving to Kansas City a few years ago.

Growing up in South Dakota and living in Washington, D.C., for 15 years, Mermagen said there were always opportunities for student musicians to play alongside professionals.

Mermagen herself played in a symphony orchestra in high school, and Village Players’ 26 musicians include a mixture of Kansas City professionals and local students who want to share their talents.

Village Players
The Village Players, some of which are pictured above, began practicing Thursday evening for the Saturday performance to show students what it’s like to put on an orchestra as a professional.

The concert on Saturday, Oct. 16, pairs six students up with 10 professionals, Mermagen said.

“It really is giving students a glimpse of what it’s like to be in the professional world. I think more of that should happen,” Mermagen said. “I think students should be side-by-side with professionals all the time. I think it’s really cool that this church is supporting it and we’re doing it. It’s something I’m really proud of.”

The mid-October concert will feature Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, “Autumn” and “Winter,” as well as “A Halloween Spooktacular” and Piazolla’s “Oblivion.”

Mermagen said the concert’s music allows students to challenge themselves. Additionally, she said she wanted students to experience what it’s like putting together a concert with only three rehearsals.

The free concert will begin at 7:30 p.m., and Mermagen said she expects it to last about an hour — and to be an immersive experience.

“It won’t be a concert where we come out and play music, you leave and are left like, ‘What just happened?’” Mermagen said. “I’ll come out and talk to the audience and explain to them the students that are here, the process they went through and explain the music.”