The only missing link Saturday night was a stiff Ed Sullivan standing on the stage, er, ah, chancel steps at Visitation Church in Kansas City, promising a really great shew (sic). Instead, was the genial Patrick Neas, formerly of classical KXTR, and presently with Radio Bach, who navigated the audience through nine different acts with as little wasted time as possible. Beginning with great fellowship of performers, the program wound its way through operatic scenes, a two-piece string orchestra, and some really powerful gospel singing, each act was first rate; it would stand as a good show in any city, in any concert location in the world.
The stated purpose of the evening was to raise money for the support of Venue Visitation's Beatrice Santner Memorial Scholarship Fund, which will make its first award to a UMKC Conservatory choral music student this August (make checks payable to Visitation Fine Arts Society). Beatrice Santer, of Brookside, an avid musician, a vocal soloist, vocal and bell choir director, former Director of the diocesan Office of Worship, Director of Music at Visitation, and founder and former Executive Director and President of the Board of Venue Visitation, passed away in April of 2014.
Venue Visitation sponsors non-parish musical use of the acoustically powerful and architecturally complementary building, built as an integrated addition to the old Visitation Church building, addition akin to Beethoven's codas (tails) that wagged the dog. Instead of organizing a rummage sale, Executive Director, Terri Goddard, and, undoubtedly, dozens of volunteers, put together an evening of glorious music, presented by community musicians, members of groups who perform at Venue Visitation, and present and past members of the Visitation Catholic Church spiritual community of extraordinary musical skill.
To get this quality of professional musicians together on one stage the same evening could only occur from a shared appreciation for Venue Visitation, and, particularly, mutual love for the late Beatrice Santner, in whose honor the event was held. Every performer tonight would be a pleasure to hear in full recital.