John McDaniel | St. Louis Public Radio

John McDaniel

John McDaniel and Lennie Watts

Although musicians John McDaniel and Lennie Watts both grew up in St. Louis at about the same time, they didn’t meet until Watts made a brief guest appearance on the Rose O’Donnell Show when McDaniel was her bandleader. They have stayed in touch off and on over the years as each has pursued a career in New York City, but have been closer the last couple of years working together at the O’Neal Theatre Center’s Cabaret Performance Conference. While there, they started thinking about a project they could do together.

Conductor, composer, record producer and pianist John McDaniel’s career has taken him all over the U.S. and the world, but now the Grammy and Emmy award winner is back home in St. Louis for the holidays – and two sold-out performances at the Kranzberg Arts Center.

McDaniel may be best known for being the band director of the Rosie O’Donnell Show. He was last in St. Louis in 2011, when he conducted “The Daughter of the Regiment” at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis.

For the second time, the Kirkwood High School Symphonic Orchestra is preparing for a trip to New York City.  In March of 2010, the ensemble performed in Carnegie Hall, one of three orchestras invited to do so.  The orchestra has again been honored by its selection to compete in the prestigious National Orchestra Cup on March 2, 2013 in Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall.  The KHS Symphonic Orchestra will compete with several other orchestras from around the county for the title of Grand Champion and the National Cup.