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Violinist Rachel Sandman with beagle/lab Tyler

Symphony Pets

Symphony musicians and staff share their pets and stories

Meet our Pets

Mary Grant, violin

A story about Cedric the cat from violinist Mary Grant:

“I was on nextdoor.com because a stray cat came to our door at night, and I was looking to see if someone was missing a cat. I didn’t see that cat listed as missing, but I did see pictures of my cat, Cedric, roaming around the neighborhood. He was sitting at my feet at the time, licking his paws in a self-satisfied way, when I read:

‘Does anyone know who this cat belongs to? He’s been at our house all day and looks sad and lost. He’s been trying to make friends with my Rottweilers. So sad.’

Okay, I paraphrased. But really, my cat is a total conman. I looked down at him and said, ‘You are so busted, my friend.’

I wrote back and said my cat was very well taken care of, but he thinks everyone’s back yard is his domain. After a brief back and forth with this concerned woman, she convinced me that Cedric was not harassing her dogs and was welcome to come play with them anytime.

Cedric absolutely hates the violin and that is possibly why he likes to be outside so much. Even though he hates the violin, he is my best friend. Oh wait, my husband is my best friend. Right. Cedric is my second best friend.”

Cedric the cat with the mail

Roger Oyster, trombone

Principal Trombone Roger Oyster has four pets!

Clover the Rabbit:
“My daughter Erin has been a volunteer at Science City’s Nature Center for about 7 years now (since she was 8…really helps to have a kid wrapped in a snake to get other kids interested in the animals). They downsized about 3 years ago and had Clover, a Lionhead rabbit to adopt. We soon found out that Clover…was a dude. Even still, he’s a lovely critter, a delight to have around the house.”

Henry the St. Bernard/Springer Spaniel mix:
“We adopted Henry as a 6- to 8-month-old puppy about 8 years ago. He’s a very smart, very strong dog. We had to find creative ways to keep him from helping himself to the fridge, freezer and cupboard. He even found out a way to use the upper oven door as a ladder to get onto the kitchen counter so he could get to not one but two loaves of bread dough I had raising on an upper cupboard shelf. Ate them both. He’s the lovable problem teenager I never had with my children.”

Socrates (“Socs”) the cat:
“We adopted Socs as a kitten…he was wandering the neighborhood and we found him in our yard, howling his little head off. He has been with us ever since and loves to sit on my shoulder.”

Milo the Goldendoodle (5-month-old):
“Milo is a total goofball, and he looks like a black shag rug with a long tongue that hangs out any direction but straight. He’s a project, but he’s going to be a good dog.”

Roger Oyster with Clover the rabbit

Rachel Sandman, violin

Violinist Rachel Sandman recently adopted a beagle/lab mix named Tyler. Rachel says Tyler often falls asleep when she plays violin for him, and it looks like he loves to play ball in the park!

Watch Tyler play in the park in this video.


Violinist Rachel Sandman with beagle/lab Tyler

Brooklyn the dog

Katherine Siochi, harp

Principal Harp Katherine Siochi has a Siberian Husky puppy named Brooklyn.

When asked how Brooklyn enjoys listening to her harp playing, Katherine says, “Interestingly, she kind of just ignores when we play music! She loves chewing on my boyfriend’s clarinet stuff like reeds and mouthpieces, etc.”

Katherine Siochi with Brooklyn the HuskyWatch Brooklyn experience the Kansas City weather in this video.

Stephanie Laaker, customer relations specialist

Customer relations specialist Stephanie Laaker has a black cat named Cafferty. She says he is a “giant weirdo” who loves walks, chin scratches and meow-ing as loud as possible to get attention.

Stephanie Laaker with cat

Crystal Mann, asst. manager of ticketing services

Crystal Mann, assistant manager of ticketing services, loves spending time with her golden retriever Charlie Cooper.

“Charlie adopted us about 2.5 years ago,” she says. “The minute he laid eyes on me, he knew I would never be able to tell him ‘no.’ He has more hobbies than I do. He has dabbled in agility. He likes to take us dock diving (he is a World Champion — don’t ask him about the time he was beat by a corgi). He frequently takes us on super long walks and hikes. We chase a ball about 700 times a day. Ball is life. Charlie is stubborn and has strong opinions. He insists upon roughly 20 minutes worth of pets every morning, as his just reward for letting us sleep all night. Social distancing has been hard on Chuck because he loves everyone. He is a furry ball of love who has forced us to slow down and smell the roses (and every blade of grass, and the trees and the sidewalk). We are so lucky to have him.”

Crystal Mann's Charlie 1

Tomoko Iguchi, violin

Violinist Tomoko Iguchi has five beautiful birds! Tomoko says, “They are very beautiful, sweet, funny and each of them have unique personality (Birdonality?). They’re precious family members!”

Mikan and Anzu:
Mikan is the peach-fronted conure and Anzu is the Sun conure. (In Japanese, Mikan means tangerine and Anzu means apricot). Tomoko says, “Both of them were born in 1998 so they will be 22 years old this year! This year is my 25th year milestone with Kansas City Symphony, so Mikan and Anzu have walked a long journey with me!”

Rio:
Rio is a white-faced cinnamon cockatiel who Tomoko adopted from Burge Bird rescue in Grandview, Missouri, in 2010. Tomoko says Rio is “very sweet and enjoys to be petted. Everyday I give him a head massage and he loves it!”

Maru and Goma:
Maru is a grey cockatiel and Goma is a white-faced cinnamon cockatiel, and they also were adopted from the parrot rescue. They joined Tomoko’s family in 2018, and she says they are named after Japanese animation characters. Tomoko says, “They love eating, playing with toys and whistling with music.”

Practice:
Tomoko says her birdies enjoying watching her practice from upstairs. “They get very excited with high-pitch sounds,” Tomoko says. “Sometimes they whistle with my violin, imitate the metronome sound, and scream when they’re bored to get my attention.”

Mikan and Anzu conures