A Brief History of the Harmony Celebration

The first Harmony Concert was held in May 1990 at Beth Shalom Congregation with a performance of Mendelssohn's Elijah. Four congregation's choirs—Beth Shalom, Linwood United, Grace and Holy Trinity, and Country Club Christian—joined with the Kansas City Civic Orchestra to perform this biblical oratorio.

Since then the concert has grown to include hundreds of singers, music, dancers, and choirs from nearly every religious and cultural tradition in the Kansas City area: Catholic, African-American Gospel, Protestant, Jewish, Latter-day Saint, Native American, Hindu, Bahá'i, Polynesian, Mariachi, and Filipino.

Each year has brought new involvement. In 1992, the Muslim Call to Prayer was added. In 1993 Harmony had its largest attendance--over 1400!--and were joined by the Heart of America Mormon Choir for its inaugural performance. In 2007 the concert audience heard music from Kirke Mechem's biographic opera John Brown, months before its world premiere at the Kansas City Lyric Opera.

This concert is special--the first annual concert within the central United States to explore interfaith relationships through sacred choral music. The diversity of tradition, faith, and culture represented in these choirs and audiences, together with the range of musical styles and expression, promote understanding and respect within our community.