Meribeth Risebig, principal
Member of the Saint Joseph Symphony since: 1986
Bio: Meribeth Risebig is currently Principal Oboist of the Liberty Symphony, Northland Symphony, and St. Joseph Symphony, and plays regularly in the Starlight Theater Orchestra. She is co-founder of “Harmonie Winds”, an active wind octet which was established in 1998. She has played with the Kansas City Symphony, the Kansas City Ballet and Opera orchestras, Kansas City Chamber Orchestra, Wichita Symphony, Sunflower Music Festival Orchestra, Dallas Wind Symphony, and American Wind Symphony.
Ms. Risebig is also a parish administrator at an Episcopal church in Overland Park, KS. In her spare time she makes oboe and English horn reeds and practices; sings in the Trinity Choir at Grace & Holy Trinity Cathedral, KC, MO; plays lever harp, recorders, irish whistle, and melodica. Other favorite pastimes include working in her yard, cooking with friends, watching British shows, and finding the best fish tacos/cheeseburgers/and burnt ends in KC.
How did you get started playing music?
I started taking piano lessons at age 5, and studied through college and after.
Did anyone inspire or encourage your interest in music?
Yes, that would be my parents who were both musicians. They never pushed me to take lessons when I was young, but constantly played classical music albums of all eras and genres – good music! My father played violin (well) until he went into the service (WWII) and we shared a bond of hearing and feeling beauty in music. My mother was also a violinist and studied music seriously later in life and evolved into an excellent Suzuki violin teacher while I was in high school. Because I grew up with that, I was inspired to continue no matter what.
When you’re not rehearsing or performing what do you like to listen to?
I like to listen public radio shows and ball games.
If you weren’t an orchestra musician, what would you be doing?
Well, I do have a full time job at a church as Parish Administrator. It involves a lot of creativity and helping people. So if I didn’t do that, I might have become a massage therapist, bartender, baristra, landscape artist, or nurse. Hard to say.
Any family members also musicians?
Yes! My sister – who sits behind me! The bassoonist! Claudia!
What would people be surprised to know about you?
I’m a big fan of Bluegrass. I’ve been to jam sessions, sometimes playing the irish whistle or recorder. I’ve been to The Walnut Valley Music Festival numerous times, Telluride 2017 Bluegrass Festival, and several others in the local area. I can play the lever harp. I can cross one eye.