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The Music of Mexico
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Celebrating 56 Years With Big Dreams Read More
Musical Theater Heritage Read More
Lyric Opera: The Mikado
Forbidden Love, Deception and a Little Fun. Read More
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Category Archives: Performing
Peter Frampton, B.B. King and Sunny Landreth to share the stage at Muriel Kauffman Theatre
The Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts announced that Peter Frampton, famed British rocker with top hits such as Show Me the Way and Baby, I Love Your Way, will perform at the Kauffman Center’s Muriel Kauffman Theatre on Sunday, Aug. 18. Frampton’s Guitar Circus tour features fellow guitar legend B.B. King and will open with slide blues guitarist Sonny Landreth. Tickets go on sale May 31.
“Kauffman Center is excited to have Grammy Award-winning guitarists Peter Frampton and B.B. King share the stage for one very special performance. It is a unique opportunity to hear these two distinguished musicians perform together in Muriel’s Theatre,” said Jane Chu, President & CEO of the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.
Ticket prices for this event range from $59 to $139 and will be available through the Kauffman Center Box Office at (816) 994-7222 or online at www.kauffmancenter.org.
ABOUT PETER FRAMPTON
Beginning his career as a teenager, United Kingdom native Peter Frampton remains one of the most celebrated artist and guitarists in rock history. At age 10, Frampton co-founded one of the first super groups, seminal rock act Humble Pie. At age 16, he was lead singer and guitarist for British teen band, The Herd. His fifth solo album, the electrifying Frampton Comes Alive! is one of the top-selling live records of all time. His 2006 instrumental album Fingerprints won a Grammy Award for Best Pop Instrumental Album.
ABOUT B.B. KING
From the 1950s to today, there has been only one King of the Blues: Riley B. King, affectionately known as B.B. King. Since King started recording in the late 1940s, he has released over 60 albums; many considered blues classics, like 1965′s definitive live blues album Live At The Regal, and 1976′s collaboration with Bobby “Blue” Bland, Together For The First Time. Over the years, King has developed one of the World’s most readily identified guitar styles. He borrowed from Lonnie Johnson, Blind Lemon Jefferson, T-Bone Walker and others, integrating his precise vocal like string bends and his left hand vibrato, both of which have become indispensable components of the rock guitarist’s vocabulary.
On May 13, EARTh (Equity Actors’ Readers’ Theatre) presents Brian Friel’s masterful adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s classic UNCLE VANYA, at 7:30 p.m., in the auditorium of The Music & Arts Building on the campus of St. Teresa’s Academy, 5601 Wyandotte (between 55th & 57th, between Wornall and Brookside Boulevard). As always, admission is free—though donations are graciously accepted.
The spectacular cast includes some of Kansas City’s finest professional actors (in alphabetical order): Allan Boardman, Gary Neal Johnson, Tom Lancaster, Nancy Marcy, Carla Noack, Mark Robbins, Sylvia Stoner, Kathleen Warfel, and Cheryl Weaver—all, once again, under the direction of the incomparable Doug Weaver, ably assisted by Jim Mitchell as Production Stage Manager.
My Name is Asher Lev By Aaron Posner
Adapted from the novel by Chaim Potok
Directed by Cynthia Levin
Faith. Art. Identity
The powerful and emotional play My Name is Asher Lev, onstage at Unicorn Theatre, has been extended an extra week and will now play through May 19, rather than ending May 12 as originally scheduled. “With such positive response from the audience, and overwhelming ticket sales, we can’t help but extend the run of the show”, said Cynthia Levin, Unicorn Theatre Producing Artistic Director. Every weekend of the show so far has been sold out.
Due to the extension, Unicorn Theatre will hold an additional “Talk Back” performance on May 14, when the audience is invited to stay after the show for a Q-and-A session with the director and cast. Previous “Talk Back” sessions have been the largest in Unicorn Theatre history, with more than 100 patrons staying to participate.
The story follows the journey of a young painter torn between his religious upbringing and his insatiable need to fulfill his artistic passion. The struggle pits Asher against the will of his family, community and tradition and has moved audiences to tears and standing ovations.
This play is an excellent opportunity for families to see a show together. It is suitable for children ages 12 and up. (One scene includes partial nudity as a woman poses for Asher to paint.) The play touches on themes of faith, art and identity and may spark quite a discussion on the way home!
This new play by Aaron Posner is adapted from the famous novel by Chaim Potok (author of The Chosen). This production is directed by Cynthia Levin, Unicorn Theatre’s producing artistic director. The cast features Doogin Brown, Mark Robbins and Manon Halliburton.
“My Name is Asher Lev” now runs through May 19 at Unicorn Theatre, 3828 Main St., Kansas City, Mo. Tickets are now on sale. Call 816-531-PLAY (7529), ext. 10, go online at www.UnicornTheatre.org or buy in person at the box office. Discounts are available for seniors (60+), students and patrons under age 35.
The Director, Cast and Creative Team:
Producing Artistic Director Cynthia Levin is directing this production. She is in her 34th season with Unicorn Theatre where she has served as a director, actor, designer or producer for over 260 productions. Previously this season she has directed Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson and The Soul Collector.
Doogin Brown (Asher Lev) has previously appeared at the Unicorn in Next Fall, Speech and Debate and Orson’s Shadow. Doogin has been fortunate enough to work at most theaters in Kansas City including Kansas City Repertory Theatre, American Heartland Theatre, Heart of America Shakespeare Festival, Coterie Theatre, Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre, New Theatre Restaurant and Musical Theatre Heritage.
Mark Robbins (THE MEN) is a founding member of the Kansas City Actors Theatre. At Unicorn Theatre he has appeared in Next Fall and Time Stands Still. He also played the title role in Titus Andronicus at the Living Room Theatre. Mark also directs, including this season’s KC Actors Theatre/Unicorn Theatre co-production of Good People and last season’s co-production of God of Carnage, both here at the Unicorn. He has directed The Mousetrap and The Real Inspector Hound for KC Actors Theatre.
Manon Halliburton (THE WOMEN) is appearing at Unicorn Theatre for the third time. She was in the just-wrapped Good People and previously in Farragut North. Manon has worked all over the country in regional theaters as well as film and television. She’s also a fine artist and professional photographer and keeps busy with teaching acting when she’s not on the stage or behind a lens. Other recent credits include The Kentucky Cycle at the MET, Number the Stars at the Coterie and August: Osage County in last season’s KC Rep production with an all local cast.
The look and feel of the show are designed by: Gary Mosby (scenic design), Alex Perry (lighting design), Arwen Thomas (costume design), Caitlin Hall (prop design), Greg Mackender (music composer) and Michael Heuer (sound design). Tanya Brown is Stage Manager.
About the Playwright & Author:
Aaron Posner has adapted for the stage two beloved works of fiction by Chaim Potok. Potok worked with Posner as a co-writer for the script of The Chosen. After Potok died, Posner collaborated with Potok’s widow as he adapted My Name is Asher Lev. Posner is also a theater administrator and director in the Washington D.C. area, with an emphasis on Shakespeare.
Chaim Potok began his career as a novelist in 1967 with the publication of The Chosen, the first book from a major publisher to portray Orthodox Judaism in the United States. Throughout his writing career Potok continued to examine the conflict between secular and religious interests. During the 1950s, he became a conservative Rabbi and later he also taught at several universities. Potok died in 2002.
Quality Hill Playhouse Singers and Musicians Shine in You’ve Got a Friend: Music That Raised the Baby Boomers
A standing ovation is the form of applause where members of a seated audience stand up while applauding after an extraordinary performance of acclaim. The collaborative voices and musicians at Quality Hill Playhouse for the current show, You’ve Got a Friend: Music That Raised the Baby Boomers, deserved every round of applause and the standing ovations.
First and foremost, I have to add a sort of transparency and full disclosure to this review. I have had the joy and the privilege to interview founder/pianist/emcee J. Kent Barnhart several times. I have also interviewed singers Tim Scott and Jessalyn Kincaid and drummer/singer and all-around-terrific guy Ken Remmert. Then of course, I have made no pretense of being a huge fan of Molly Hammer and seeing and hearing Brian Wilson again was a treat. So with that said, I may be a smidge biased with the musical sparkle that is You’ve Got a Friend: Music That Raised the Baby Boomers.
I took my mom to the show. She and my father were married in the mid-1960s and my dad attended college right after their wedding. They are folk artist fans and I grew up with my dad singing songs from groups like the Kingston Trio. So I figured the music of James Taylor and Carole King would be good. I didn’t realize how much I enjoyed the music too.
Before I get to Taylor and King in the hands of the singers and musicians, let me step back and talk about Puff the Magic Dragon, The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face and At Seventeen. First, I am glad that Barnhart reminded the audience that Puff the Magic Dragon is not a drug song, but a song about growing up. The group also sings the little heard final verse. It is super sweet. Conversely, the seduction of the song The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face was apparent through Hammer’s rich voice. Kincaid took Janis Ian’s At Seventeen and gave the song that haunting quality that many of us could remember as we were on the cusp of adulthood.
Now to James Taylor … Scott, who I have seen in musicals, has a big voice that can fill a room. However, I want to describe him as “chameleon-voiced.” Let me define this … think about how a chameleon changes colors to blend with its background. Scott has that sort of uncanny ability to capture the sound of certain artists. While he is not mimicking them, there are tones and qualities that hit the audience. He’s also super talented and plays ukulele and guitar. His renditions of Fire and Rain and Something in the Way She Moves are fabulous.
After a brief intermission, the group jumped into Carole King. While Scott had his moments with King’s songs, the second half (minus Scott’s awesome and raucous take on Don McLean’s American Pie) really belonged to Hammer and Kincaid. The two women harmonize well together and support each other well through some of King’s hits, Beautiful, I Feel the Earth Move and It’s Too Late. When Kincaid started A Natural Woman, the song merges with Hammer and Do Right Woman, Do Right Man. Couple the two songs with Remmert, Barnhart and Wilson playing and the intimate theater of Quality Hill Playhouse could barely contain this performance.
The show ends with Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In from Hair, where everyone sings and plays. I always appreciate Barnhart’s wit and wisdom as he offers his own anecdotes as well as knowledge of the singers and songs, but I still get tickled, watching him play piano. Sometimes he gets to rocking and pounding the piano, I expect it to take off from the stage. He is passionate, to say the least! And those he unites to tell the stories share in that passion.
You’ve Got a Friend: Music That Raised the Baby Boomers runs through May 19.
Park University’s International Center for Music Season Finale Concert Features Sayevich and Lisovskaya-Sayevich
The International Center for Music at Park University will hold its final concert of its 2012-13 concert season on Friday, May 10. The concert will feature violinist Ben Sayevich, Park professor of music/violin, and his wife, pianist Lolita Lisovskaya-Sayevich, ICM collaborative pianist. The concert will be held in Graham Tyler Memorial Chapel on the University’s Parkville Campus starting at 7:30 p.m.
The duo is scheduled to perform Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s “Sonata K. 454” and Edvard Grieg’s “Sonata No. 3, Op 45 in C Minor.” In the second half of the concert, the Sayevichs will be joined by Kansas City Symphony principal violist Christine Grossman, violinist David Radzynski, graduate student in violin performance and ICM teaching assistant, and Daniel Veis, visiting assistant professor of music/cello, in a performance of Johannes Brahms’ “Piano Quintet, Op. 34 in F Minor.”
The Lithuanian-Israeli Sayevich has established himself as one of the most distinguished violinists and teachers of his generation. He is featured as the soloist in a recording of Antonio Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons” with the Kansas City Chamber Orchestra, and at the New England Conservatory, he was chosen to play the “Violin Concerto” by Alban Berg for the celebration of the composer’s centenary.
Originally from Uzbekistan, Lisovskaya-Sayevich is an accomplished pianist. She won first prize at the Chopin International Piano Competition in Göttingen, Germany, in 1993; the Nikolai Rubinstein International Piano Competition in 1996; and the Iowa Piano International Competition in 2007. She studied under Stanislav Ioudenitch in the ICM, earning a graduate certificate in 2008.
Admission to the concert is $15 for the general public; $10 for senior citizens (age 60 and older); and $5 for children (age 12 and under). Park University students, faculty and staff are admitted free with their Park ID. To purchase tickets in advance, call (816) 584-6202 before 4 p.m. on Thursday, May 9.
The International Center for Music at Park University was established to foster the exchange of master teacher/performers, renowned young musicians and programs from countries across the globe. The education of emerging musicians is at the philosophical core of the Center’s mission and the quality of that training crucial to great artistry. The focus of the Center is on piano and strings performance. Ingrid Stolzel is the director of the ICM.
The Philharmonia of Greater Kansas City, which is celebrating its 25th season, will hold its season finale concert, “Victory and Triumph,” on Sunday, May 5. The concert, which will be held in the Graham Tyler Memorial Chapel on Park University’s Parkville Campus, begins at 3 p.m.
The program is scheduled to include Wagner’s Prelude to Die Meistersinger, conducted by the Theodore Albrecht, Ph.D., founder of the Philharmonia and a former Park University music instructor. Ashley Tini, a past winner of the Philharmonia’s Collegiate Solo Honors Competition, will perform Rosauro’s Marimba Concerto. In addition, the concert will include Dvorak’s exciting Symphony No. 8 in G Major. Following the concert, there will be a post-concert talk with the Philharmonia’s conductor/music director Travis Jürgens and various orchestra members.
Jürgens is in his third season as conductor and music director of the Philharmonia. Jürgens, who took second place in the American Prize in Conducting – Orchestra Division in 2011, is also the assistant conductor of the Boulder (Colo.) Philharmonic. He recently served as associate conductor of the Lamont Symphony Orchestra and Opera Theatre in Denver. Visit www.kcphilharmonia.org/#!our-conductor/c3zs for a complete biography on Jürgens.
Admission to the concert is $15 for reserved front seating ($10 for senior citizens 65 and older); $10 for adult general admission; and $5 for students and senior citizens 65 and older. Park University students, faculty and staff (with their Park ID), as well as children age 12 and younger, are admitted free. For an additional $10, concert-goers can attend the post-concert talk. Tickets can be purchased in advance at www.kcphilharmonia.org.
The Philharmonia of Greater Kansas City, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit community orchestra sponsored in part by Park University, is comprised of members who are drawn from the Kansas City metropolitan area. It provides talented musicians an opportunity to satisfy their love of classical music while providing affordable and accessible high quality entertainment to a variety of audiences. Membership in the orchestra is open by audition to qualified adults and students who rehearse weekly under the guidance of area professional musicians. The mission of the Philharmonia is to engage communities by entertaining and educating through music. The Philharmonia is funded in part by a Missouri Arts Council grant, a state agency and division of the Missouri Department of Economic Development.
Charlotte Street is pleased to host Sycamore House, a series of performances presented and curated by Kansas City composer and musician, Shawn Hansen. This May 4th showcase is the third in the series and features performances by local and out of town artists. For this spring installment of the Sycamore House Series, the focus is on improvisation. The spirit of improvisation is a part of all music making and creative endeavors. The Sycamore House Series strives to support improvisation across all genres. This spring show celebrates improvised music in one of its purest forms. The collaboration of out-of-town percussionist Tatsuya Nakatani and saxophonist Michael Doneda focuses on exploration of sound and the pulse while not adhering to conventional rhythms and song structures. A different way of organizing sound comes out in every performance while still searching for and challenging what we see, hear, and describe as beautiful.
Date: Saturday, May 4, 2013
Time: Doors open at 8pm, show starts at 9pm
Venue: Paragraph / 23 East 12th St. KCMO 64105
Tickets: $8 suggested donation
Out of Town – Tatsuya Nakatani, percussionist; and Michael Dondea, saxophonist
ABOUT TATSUYA NAKATANI
Tatsuya Nakatani is a creative percussionist originally from Osaka, Japan. He has been residing in the USA since 1994 and is currently based in Easton, PA. Since the late 1990s, Mr. Nakatani has released over sixty recordings in the USA and Europe and has performed countless solo percussion concerts through intensive touring.
Nakatani’s approach to music is visceral, non-linear and intuitively primitive, expressing an unusually strong spirit while avoiding any categorization. He creates sound via both traditional and extended percussion techniques, utilizing drums, bowed gongs, cymbals, singing bowls, metal objects and bells, as well as various sticks, kitchen tools and homemade bows, all of which manifest in an intense and organic music that represents a very personal sonic world. His approach is steeped in the sensibilities of free improvisation, experimental music, jazz, rock, and noise, and yet retains the sense of space and quiet beauty found in traditional Japanese folk music. His percussion instruments can imitate the sounds of a trumpet, a stringed instrument or an electronic device to the extent that it becomes difficult to recognize the source of the sound. He has devoted himself to a musical aesthetic where rhythm gives way to pulse, often in a way that is not always audible or visible, in currents that incorporate silence and texture. Nakatani’s primary music activities include solo percussion performance, N.G.O. (Nakatani Gong Orchestra) and collaborations with musicians and dancers both in live performance and recordings.
ABOUT MICHAEL DONEDA
Over the years, Michel Doneda (b. 1954) has developed one of the most extensive musical vocabularies in free improvisation. A specialist of the soprano saxophone, he has gradually moved from left-field jazz to the fringes of free improv ever since he began to lead his own sessions in the early ‘80s. His playing can be at turns lyrical, playful, or raucous, and can switch from the liveliness of street melodies to circular breathing, microscopic sounds, or shrieking outbursts. His most frequent recording and performing partners over the years have included singer Beñat Achiary, percussionist Lê Quan Ninh, hurdy-gurdy player Dominique Regef, and bassist Barre Phillips.
ABOUT CHARLOTTE STREET
Over 16 years, Charlotte Street has challenged, nurtured, and empowered thousands of artists, almost $900,000 in awards and grants to artists and their projects, and connected individual artists to each other and to the greater Kansas City community. Charlotte Street – with its community of artists – strives to be a primary catalyst in making Kansas City a vibrant, creative metropolis, alive with collaboration, passion, ideas, and surprise. For more information about Charlotte Street, its awards, programs, and initiatives, visit www.charlottestreet.org
By Kellie Houx | Editor
Photos courtesy Jewish Community Center’s White Theatre
Community theater has a strong foothold at 115th and Nall in Johnson County. Tucked away behind the bluffs near the Sprint Center campus, the Jewish Community Center’s White Theatre and all the artistic opportunities that take the stage are sometimes overlooked. For Cultural Arts Director Krista Lang Blackwood, the need to be seen is part of her plans.
For eight seasons, the White Theatre has produced plays, musicals and at least one big summer musical annually. If the plays and musicals call for larger casts, it is rarely an issue to find actors and actresses. Finding an audience that will come to Johnson County from all over the metropolitan community is a little tougher.
“Our shows usually have some Jewish content or reflect a Jewish value. We have been able to increase direct Jewish content with our new visiting artists series, bringing in groups like The Maccabeats and Joshua Nelson’s Kosher gospel. In our community theater, establishing a Jewish connection is not too difficult because Jewish values are human values. Take a concept like tikkun olam, a Jewish value translated ‘repairing the world.’ It’s not just a Jewish value. It’s universal. You can always find Jewish values in theater productions that have nothing to do with Jewish culture. If I can make Jewish connections to Avenue Q, I can make Jewish connections to almost anything” Blackwood says.
In early April, the theater presented The Diary of Anne Frank. “I met with the Midwest Center for Holocaust Education, which is also housed at the Jewish Community Campus, and their scholars expressed some trepidation. Turns out the play is stripped of many of the Jewish references one finds in the diary because of Otto Frank, Anne’s father. Mr. Frank has been quoted that he didn’t want it to be a ‘Jewish play.’ For Frank, the play’s mission was to generalize Anne’s experience so that it becomes an existential one, not a specifically historical one. For Holocaust scholars and educators, this is a problem. But it’s also a teaching moment for our audiences,” Blackwood says.
The final show of the 2012-2013 season is Hairspray. This year, Johnson County Theatre in the Park and the Jewish Community Center will co-produce the show. “It’s a new collaboration, an experiment. We share much of the same on-stage talent but we are also hoping to expand the community-at-large reach by putting »»
the musical up here and at the park.” The show runs July 13-28 at the Jewish Community Center and then at Theatre in the Park Aug. 2-4 and 8-10.
Hairspray examines the early 1960s and the concepts of social justice, integration and body images. “Audiences can be entertained. Other patrons like to dig deeper and we’ve begun to structure ways for them to do that, particularly with talk-backs after the shows. These interactive meetings usually grow through the run of a show. As an example, in February, we presented the musical Next to Normal. After each show, we hosted talk-backs with social workers, therapists, individuals living with mental illness and their families. Each subsequent performance drew more folks in to the theater and as the show ran, more and more stayed for the talk-backs. That’s theater operating at another, deeper level.” In programming a season, Blackwood says, “the trick is about creating balance and variety.”
The 2013-2014 season starts with Les Miserables 7:30 p.m., Nov. 9, 14, 16, 21, 23, 24 and 2 p.m., Nov. 10 and 17. The musical will again be directed by Mark Swezey the long-time director at the White Theatre. “We snapped the show up as soon as we could,” Blackwood says. “This is a huge show that we have been building towards for the past couple of years …” Other shows and guest artists include Paul Mesner Puppets presents Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins, based on a book by Eric Kimmel in late November. Songwriter and public radio host Ben Sidran offers a discussion on his book, There Was A Fire: Jews, Music and the American Dream, Dec. 15. Tim Bair, the artistic director at Johnson County Theatre in the Park, will direct Neil Simon’s Brighton Beach Memoirs in mid-January 2014. Director Barb Nichols and musical director Martha Risser take on Stephen Sondheim’s Company in February. Shane Bertram Baker presents his show The Big Bupkis! A Complete Gentile’s Guide to Yiddish Vaudeville March 9 and 10. Director Darren Sextro will work with community actors in To Kill a Mockingbird in April. Jewish rocker Rick Recht arrives April 27. Monty Python’s Spamlot, under the direction of Swezey, ends the season in July.
And if Blackwood could look into the future, she would want more people around the metropolitan area to find the White Theatre. “Our main goal is to create community through arts. I often get asked about what special rules people need to follow if they are seeing a show at the Jewish Community Center. ‘Do I need to wear a yarmulke or keep kosher?’ The answer? Our theater is no different than any other theater in town, in that aspect. Come as you are and enjoy the show. AND, as a bonus, parking is really easy.” Blackwood adds with a smile.
The 2014-2015 season will be the 10th Anniversary Season. It will be a combination of harkening back to then looking forward, Blackwood says. “Community theater is about building community through the arts. Think of all the families whose children are a part of our shows who become regular theatergoers because of it. It’s not just about entertaining, but we are creating a community of people who appreciate the arts.”•
By Dana Self, Director of Marketing | Photos courtesy UMKC Conservatory
The UMKC Conservatory’s Academy Summer
If you thought the UMKC Conservatory was quiet and laid back in the summer, then think again! We’re practically airborne hosting summer workshops of all kinds and mentoring students singing, drumming, composing, making music, and dancing. Not only that, we are busy behind the scenes preparing for our Fall semester which is always jam packed with the exhilaration of a new school year and fresh performances!
The Conservatory’s Academy Summer programs are the place to be. Our hallways and recital halls are filled with the sounds of students having a blast in a focused Conservatory atmosphere.
Last summer the workshops hosted students aged 12 to 72, from 28 states and four countries. Our summer workshops are so fulfilling that students can’t pick just one thing they love
“There was more than one thing I liked the most. I loved the workshops and their speakers, the faculty, the opportunity of meeting Chen Yi and James Mobberley and all the networking opportunities.” Composition Workshop attendee
There is still time to register! Here’s the 411.
Summer Conservatory for Singers
“I loved the special presentations that varied each night and the in-depth discussions held in every class. I really felt as though every professor cared about me as an individual … and wanted nothing more than to share their passion of music with me.”
Let’s sing! This program is great for students ages 14–18 that want to develop singing skills. There are voice lessons and coachings, plus classes in musicianship, history, diction, acting, movement, and choral music. During this program, participants will get a taste of a true Conservatory experience!
Duff Timpani Master Class
“This workshop has absolutely opened my eyes in a way that I could not have imagined. I am so thankful that you put this workshop on and are so generously welcoming and sharing with everyone that attends.”
Duff Masterclass attendee
Prepare for the banging of the drums! Cloyd Duff was recognized as one of the finest timpanists of the 20th century, known the world over for his beautiful, singing sound and his flawless musicianship. Students and teachers, amateurs and professionals alike, learn about the Duff school of playing: a unique approach to the timpani encompassing every aspect of the instrument, from the fundamentals of technique to the most advanced orchestral repertoire. If you’re into timpani, this is for you!
“I really enjoyed the mentoring sessions and the instrumental demos. My mentor was terrific and very helpful.”
Composition Workshop attendee
Composers find your creative voice! You will hone your craft in this mix of classes and small group sessions with Conservatory faculty. Students are immersed in a community of composers by participating in seminar-style discussions of notation, music theory, orchestration and music aesthetics. Evening concerts featuring innovative programming by guest performers including violist Michael Hall and newEar Contemporary Music Ensemble provide enrichment, inspiration, and practical experience. Attendee ages are 14 and up, for advanced high school, college, and graduate composition students.
Wind Band Teaching Symposium
“This symposium is always a highlight of my summer! I hope to return as often as possible.”
Wind Band Teaching Symposium attendee
Designed for middle and high school music educators, as well as college and university faculty, the Wind Band Teaching Symposium includes sessions on pedagogy, gesture, rehearsal techniques, chamber music coaching, historical context, philosophy and literature. The symposium helps wind band teachers serve students and make an immediate difference in the classroom. Daily conducting sessions highlight and demonstrate conducting techniques and strategies.
UMKC Jazz Camp
“UMKC’s Jazz camp was a fantastic experience. Hearing Dan Thomas and Bobby Watson play was one of the many highlights.”
Jazz Camp attendee
Jazz Camp is as fun as it sounds! Steeped in the rich jazz history of Kansas City, the UMKC Jazz Camp brings world-renowned performers and jazz educators to Kansas City to work with talented young instrumentalists ages 12 and up. Camp Directors Bobby Watson and Dan Thomas work with distinguished clinicians to provide insight and inspiration to student combos in a laid back environment. Participants form lasting friendships in intensive combo rehearsals and coaching sessions. Daily master classes, theory and improvisation classes, and frequent faculty performances provide a well-rounded experience that touches on all aspects of jazz performance and history. All instruments welcome.
Glenda Brown Choreography Project
July 20–August 1
“I learned so much and grew so much as a person, a dancer and a choreographer. Choreography has always been my passion and you have opened so many new outlets for me to explore. I can’t wait to come back next summer! It changed my life!”
Glenda Brown Choreography Project attendee
This workshop offers choreographers and dancers a phenomenal opportunity to explore and develop technique and artistry. The format includes daily critiques for choreographers and dancers, feedback and support from faculty and peers, enhanced technique seminars for lighting, music, business, production, and a final performance.
For more information on any of these workshops or any of the Academy’s programs, please call Julie Koch, (816) 235-2741 or visit the Academy’s web site, conservatory.umkc.edu/cmda.
By Kellie Houx, Editor | Photos Courtesy the Lyric Opera of Kansas City and Aaron Lindberg
Lyric Opera of Kansas City Sees Growing Interest in Opera
Göran Gentele, a Swedish actor, director, and opera manager who briefly served as director of the Metropolitan Opera of New York, said “Opera is an 18th and 19th century art that must find a 20th century audience.” The Lyric Opera of Kansas City has taken that adage to heart and is learning how to find that 21st century audience. The faces of that audience may surprise a few people – it’s young children, tweens and teens who find a love for this art form through spring break or summer camps.
The Education Department of Lyric Opera of Kansas City, under the guidance of education director Paula Winans, offers innovative programs designed to further music and arts education in schools and in the community. Paula Winans says this year’s summer camp marks the 21st opera camp. “The original goal twenty-one years ago was to study a main stage opera in-depth. Initially when I visited schools, I would have 45 minutes and there was so much more that I could communicate but time didn’t allow,” Winans remembers. “As a former public school music teacher, I would have my upper elementary kids study Madama Butterfly or La bohème. I still get e-mails from my former students 30 years later who share how much they love opera now because they had the chance to learn the story and the beautiful music. That makes me incredibly happy to know opera is still part of their lives.”
During mid-March, Winans gathered 30 kids ranging in age from elementary to high school to explore the creativity of Mozart’s The Magic Flute. The week-long camp draws returning students including Casey Van Eaton. The 16-year-old homeschooled student was encouraged by soprano and educator Sylvia Stoner to seek out Winans and the Lyric Opera. Van Eaton has been part of summer camps and spring break camps for years. She has even experienced the Lyric Opera’s Opera for Teens program and performed in One False Move, aimed at adolescent girls, which looks at bullying.
Soprano Van Eaton, a pianist too, is also a Ginger Frost High School Honors Artist. This program gives young singers free voice lessons, master classes and cash awards for college. Lyric Opera provides vocal and dramatic instruction for high school students chosen to audition by their vocal music teachers.
“I am more confident in music,” Van Eaton says. “Music is what I’m most interested in. Just this past fall, I attended my first full opera, Puccini’s Madama Butterfly. It was an amazing experience. I live to sing and my mother would tell you that since I could really articulate it, I have said I want to be an opera singer.”
The campers also get to work with Lyric Opera stage director Linda Ade Brand who instructs in exploring the basics of creating realistic characterizations and story theater techniques. They even have visiting artists such as local professors, professional opera singers and designers and the Lyric Opera’s artistic director, Ward Holmquist.
Shontail Leveringston-Lewis says her daughters Sa’Mya and Amari and she have quickly become fixtures with the opera camps. Lewis says Amari, her older daughter, a fifth-grader, has a voice that she calls a gift. “I knew I needed to find a place where she would be nurtured. In such a short time, we became like a family.” Amari has also been a member of the opera chorus for Carmen and Turandot.
That opera family has been critical for Lewis. “I had a health scare while Amari was in Carmen. I’m not much of a show mom so it was a tremendous blessing when people worried and helped. So it was just a gift to all of us. Now, I watch and know there is great training on being a singer and a good person. We are part of every camp and now Sa’Mya is into her second camp. We encourage music in our house from gospel and pop to opera.” Winans says life-long connections are just as important as developing the voice. “We talk about being a good artist and caring for the body,” she says.
This year’s summer camp will focus on the opera La bohème. “Hopefully, the campers will want to see the main stage production. We give them a lot of behind-the-scenes information. When we have shows that require a children’s chorus, our campers are the first to audition.” The summer family opera will be Little Red Riding Hood, the piece that will be performed in area schools. “We get it up and running during camp,” Winans says. “The campers get to learn how to develop an opera in many ways. It is an action-packed two weeks and we are expecting 70 to 80 campers.”
“I sing just about anywhere I can,” Amari says. “The teachers are nice at camp and it’s fun. If I put my mind to it, I can do anything, including sing opera.”
For information about the Lyric Opera of Kansas City’s educational programming, visit www.kcopera.org/education_outreach/youth_programs.aspx#_a
By MEGAN FELLING, Contributing Writer | Photo courtesy Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts
The Kauffman Center Presents series
One of the oldest and most famous mariachi ensembles, Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán, will be appearing at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts on May 19 as part of the Kauffman Center Presents series.
An art form passed down through generations, mariachi continues to weave the thread of history and deeply-rooted traditions through modern life.
Mariachi Vargas was originally founded in 1898 as a quartet performing regional folk music, later becoming famous accompanying singers such as Luis Miguel, and appearing in over 200 films. With the growth of radio and television, the mariachi style gradually became the national popular music and a unique symbol of Mexico, with Mariachi Vargas noted as the standard of excellence.
Jose “Pepe” Martinez joined the group as musical director 38 years ago. He explains, “Mariachi is a music that embodies the culture of Mexico. It can make you laugh, cry and sing along all at the same time. Mariachi music is an integral part of everyday life – it is
played at weddings, baptisms, funerals and fiestas. It truly is a part of the fabric of life.”
Thirteen members, including Martinez’s son, will present an exciting, high-energy concert experience using a combination of violins, harp, trumpets, guitaron, vihuela (a high-pitched, five string guitar) and guitara. According to Martinez, there are many candidates who audition to become part of this quintessential ensemble. “They must be able to read and write music, have a great voice and be extremely proficient with their knowledge of their instrument.”
“The group continually evolves and is truly a collection of the individual talents that make Mariachi Vargas such a cohesive ensemble. We have played with symphonies around the world and presented the first mariachi opera, but we continue to perform the traditional music that defines this genre and that the people love.”
This ideology follows the Kauffman Center’s aim to provide excellent performing arts opportunities and a commitment to diverse programming emphasizing extraordinary artists that reach audiences throughout and beyond the Kansas City region.
“The arts offer a range of diverse ways to express oneself,” says Jane Chu, President and CEO of the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. “Our Kauffman Center Presents series is specifically designed to complement programs offered by other arts organizations in the community and provide more artistic options. Even the ticket prices are diverse.
We are delighted to welcome Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán to the Muriel Kauffman Theatre and to feature this traditional art form.”
Today, mariachi music is played around the world. The Mexico City based group tours the US every year mesmerizing audiences, and continues to add cities, recently touring the entire country with Linda Ronstadt.
Martinez noted, “We have played Kansas City before and love the city and the fans that come to see us perform. We have an all new show we will present. We have heard about the Kauffman Center and are very interested in performing there. We are honored to be invited to this prestigious venue and hope to give a great performance!”
With the classic costumes, pageantry and musicianship the public has come to expect of mariachi music, Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán is often billed as “the best mariachi in the world.”
“Over the past 115 years (since 1898), five generations of talented instrumentalists and vocalists have performed with Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán. Their beloved songs are part of the rich history of mariachi music that has been shared from generation to generation,” Chu says.
Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán has recorded numerous CDs. Their music is available at many retail outlets, online and some of their new and most requested CDs will be available at the performance.
“Patrons should expect to see and hear a very high energy show. We feel the emotion of the crowd and give it right back in our performance. It will be a very emotional and unforgettable evening,” Martinez says.
For tickets to Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán and other events, visit kauffmancenter.org or call the box office at 816.994.7222.•