KWU Orchestra participates in Salina Strings Day

Written by on February 23, 2024

By Merissa Bailey Rios/Staff Writer 

For the third year the Kansas Wesleyan String Orchestra hosted Salina Strings Day. This event brings together the KWU, Salina South High school, and Salina Central High school orchestras. Joining together the orchestras for a concert at the Kansas Highway Patrol auditorium on the former Marymount College campus. Bringing Salina joy from this mass orchestra event. This event was livestreamed by the KWU Department of Music on Facebook, available to watch here.

Why it all began

This event began as a tribute to the infamous Eric Stein. Stein was a German-Russian immigrant who ended up here in Salina.  A teacher and director, Stein has impacted and truly created the Salina String community. First Stein began as a music teacher at Sacred Heart High School and then began work at Marymount College. With the talent he brought to Marymount the Salina Strings Day honors the past and brings music back to the auditorium. Stein is best known for his creation of the Salina Symphony which has brought the joy of music to Salina for decades. In previous years Stein’s two children attended the Salina Strings Day event to help celebrate and commemorate Eric Stein’s legacy.

                                                                                                                                           Day of Event.

Salina Central Orchestra

Kansas Wesleyan University orchestra director, Dr. Rosario began setup at 8 am along with Music and Fine Arts Event Coordinator, Chrissy Swagerty. The three schools had a combined rehearsal from 2-3:30. After each orchestra individually rehearsed for 30 minutes on the KDOT auditorium stage. The concert began at 7 with Salina South and Salina Central playing two beautiful pieces each. After high school concluded the KWU string orchestra played a lovely piece they have been working on for this event.

Once all the orchestras played Dr. Rosario announced the first KWU String Competition winners of 2024. With the support of Gustav and Hannah Applequist, and S.M. Hansen Music, this competition took place February 13 at the UUMC. Gustav and Hannah Applequist have invested in the music community in Salina and in KWU for years. Thanks to the Applequist family the KWU music department opened the Applequist Family Music Center in Pioneer Hall. For additional information about the renovations soon to come to the KWU music department. The Applequist’s wrote into the Strings Day event saying,

“The arts speak to us, support us, ignite us.” That is why they encourage the involvement of new generations of players and music lovers.

The arts speak to us, support us, ignite us.

Rick Hansen attended Strings Day as the representative of the S.M. Hansen business. Hansen took lessons with Stein and played with the Salina Symphony. His father opened the music store in 1972 in Salina. Hansen stated, “Our mission is to support the arts and the music in the community.” With the support of Applequist and S.M. Hansen, the winners will have the chance to receive a consultation with a string accessory manufacturer, D’Addario, as well as varying cash prizes. There were three winners of this competition, taking first place was Suzanna Beckman, and following were Alina Arceo and Henry Wright.

Salina Strings Day Concert


The Salina Strings Day represents the dedication of the Salina orchestras and their directors. It unites the schools in harmony, bringing the magic of music to the community. The Salina Arts & Humanities, KWU, the Salina Symphony, and the Kansas Highway Patrol Academy sponsored this event. Kansas Wesleyan University is proud of this event and is excited about the growth of the KWU music department with Sams Chapel completion date set for Fall 2024.

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