Joyful to see JSO jamming again

Column by John Akal
Posted 10/13/21

In the “things are finally getting back to normal” category I want to turn the spotlight on an event that was a staple of this column for years but has been on hold for a while. It’s the season …

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Joyful to see JSO jamming again


In the “things are finally getting back to normal” category I want to turn the spotlight on an event that was a staple of this column for years but has been on hold for a while.

It’s the season opener for the Jefferson Symphony Orchestra. It’s going to be happening on Sunday, October 17 at the Green Center on the Colorado School of Mines campus.

Due to COVID-19 they have been unable to do any full orchestra concerts in an auditorium for over a year, so last season was completely canceled. But, they are back this season.

The concert will feature a rather unusual guest artist. Not because the guy is strange but rather the instrument he plays is one you don’t see in conjunction with a symphony orchestra in the U.S. very often.

His name is Stas Venglevski and he plays a Russian bayan accordion. Now, this isn’t your typical accordion with basically a piano keyboard on one side and buttons on the other. A bayan accordion is a chromatic instrument with just buttons on both sides. They are a lot more common in Europe than they are around here. And Stas is considered a virtuoso on this instrument.

He will be performing Anthony Galla-Rini’s Concerto No.2 for Accordion, and he was the artist that preformed it for it’s world premiere when it was first composed. This is a rare opportunity to see an artist of this caliber performing on this instrument here in the U.S.

The program will also have the JSO performing sort of a double header with two pieces by Antonin Dvorák. They will be opening the concert with his Carnival Overture and closing it with his Symphony No. 9, better known as the New World Symphony. The concert will be conducted by Dr. William Morse.

The program starts at 3 p.m. with the doors opening at 1:45 p.m. This is one performance that you will want to arrive plenty early for because they have some safety protocols in place that you must adhere to. These are rather extensive so I am going to include them here as written on their website. Please read all of them so there is no confusion or disappointment if you missed one of these and are turned away.

“All persons entering JSO concert venues are required to wear facial coverings at all times unless actively consuming beverages available at the concert venue. All persons age 12 or older attending JSO indoor concerts must be fully vaccinated by the date of performance and provide proof of vaccination. “Full vaccination” means the performance date must be at least 14 days after the second dose of a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine, or at least 14 days after a single-dose COVID-19 vaccine.

At this time, we are not able to admit children under the age of 12 or others unable to attain vaccinated status and/or obtain proof of vaccination. Vaccination status will be verified at the door prior to allowing entry to the main concert venue.

A photocopy of your vaccination card or a picture of it on your smart phone will be sufficient. If you have a fever, are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, or have been recently exposed to someone with COVID-19, please stay home.”

Now, I don’t usually dive into political or controversial issues in this column, but I am going to make an exception in this case because I know how difficult it has been for them to just be able to have a season. Although the Jefferson Symphony Orchestra is a nonprofit organization, they are also a private business that is entitled to set its own policies, just like any restaurant or store. They have 75+ musicians with varying ages and comfort levels as well as an entire staff to protect. So, please respect their decisions as to what their protocols need to be. They aren’t doing this because it’s fun or easy. It’s a major pain in the neck for them to have to deal with, but it gets them all back on a stage. So, don’t be a mask-hole, OK?

For more information and to order tickets go to or call them at (303) 278-4237.

John Akal is a well-known jazz artist/drummer and leader of the 20-piece Ultraphonic Jazz Orchestra. He also is president of John Akal Imaging, professional commercial photography and multi-media production. He can be reached at


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