Kansas City Kansas Community College will play host to the critically acclaimed jazz ensemble The New York Voices this month, and tickets still remain for the concert.
Known for their close-knit voicings, inspired arrangements and unparalleled vocal blend, New York Voices interests are deeply rooted in jazz, Brazilian, rhythm and blues, classical and pop.
Formed by Darmon Meader, Peter Eldridge, Kim Nazarian, and Lauren Kinhan, New York Voices had their first performances in 1988. In 1989, they signed their first record deal with GRP Records and released a self-titled debut album. The group will celebrate its 30th anniversary this year.
The New York Voices will have a Vocal Jazz Residency Jan. 22 and 23 in Kansas City. On Jan. 22, the group will have a concert at 7 p.m. at Community Christian Church, 4601 Main St. in Kansas City, Missouri, and the tickets are $20. KCKCC’s The Standard Vocal Jazz Ensemble will be the opening act that evening.
Students who will be performing include:
• Soprano 1 – Morgan Sanguinetti and Lexie Freeman
• Soprano 2 – Olivia Dotson and Paige Vogel
• Alto – Lacey Dean and Maddie Birdashaw
• Tenor – Ernesto Hodison, Noah Haskin and Trevor Thoelke
• Bass – Josiah Moreno and Adam Bender
• Rhythm section – Dr. Justin Binek, piano and assistant professor of music at KCKCC; Robert Castillo, bass; Antonio Reyes, drums; Stephanie Willis and Brady Rose, sound techs and John Stafford II, director.
On Jan. 23, KCKCC will play host to The New York Voices Master Class from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Performing Arts Center on the KCKCC Main Campus, 7250 State Ave.
For more information on the New York Voices Residency or the vocal program at KCKCC, contact John Stafford at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 913-288-7137.
Kansas City Kansas Community College’s top vocal ensemble, The Standard, can add another accomplishment to their ever-growing list – recording artists.
The ensemble is preparing to release its first album, featuring music the group has performed at national venues including those in Minneapolis, Minnesota; New Orleans, Louisiana; and Dallas, Texas.
Entitled, “Feelin’ Good,” the 11-track album features songs such as “Green Garden” by Laura Mvula; “Feelin’ Good” by Michael Bublé; “Way of the World” by Earth, Wind and Fire and “You and I” by Stevie Wonder, among many others.
The Standard will celebrate this milestone with a CD release party at 7 p.m. Dec. 17 at the Black Dolphin Jazz Club, 1813 Grand Blvd. in Kansas City, Missouri. Attendees must be 21-years or older to attend the show, however, the event is free and open to the public.
“The album features the best repertoire from the 2016-17 and 2017-18 ensembles,” said John Stafford, associate professor of music and director of choral activities at KCKCC. “We hope this album will promote our music department and the college in general, both regionally and nationally.”
Stafford said the album features a combination of traditional jazz standards and popular music arrangements with jazz harmony. Even though every track on the album is considered “jazz” (because of the harmonic content), he said it features music performed in multiple styles including swing, Latin, funk, rock, hip-hop and R&B.
“Since our program is in the process of building a strong reputation, it was time to find other ways to advertise the program,” Stafford said. “Making this album is one of the best ways to advertise the program and the college.”
Each year, the ensemble is made up of 10 to 12 vocalists (all KCKCC students) and a rhythm section (mostly piano, bass and drums).
All of the vocalists on the album are students, while the rhythm section is a mixture of students, faculty and professional Kansas City jazz musicians. In addition, the album was tracked, mixed and mastered by KCKCC audio engineering students and faculty. The graphic design for the album was created by a student in the art department.
Contributors on the album include:
Vocalists (all current KCKCC students) – Hayley Hinton, Nellie Bills, Hunter Ramer, Jazmyne Hill, Lexie Freeman, Isabella Ramirez, Sarah Stella, Paige Vogel, Maddie Birdashaw, Brady Rose, Ernesto Hodison, Noah Haskin, Jered Gatson, Trevor Thoelke, Adam Bender, Shawn McDaniel, Michael Schley and Brenden Rennick.
Rhythm Section – Justin Binek (faculty) and Charles Williams, piano; Jim Mair (faculty), alto saxophone; Michael Schley (KCKCC alumnus), guitar; Robert Castillo, bass; Antonio Reyes (KCKCC student) and Doug Auwarter, drums; Sterling Turner (KCKCC alumnus), vocal percussion; Joe Straws III (KCKCC student), turntables; Brady Rose (KCKCC alumnus) and John Stafford II (faculty), producers; Jordan Lankhorst (KCKCC alumnus) and Brady Rose, tracking engineers; Brady Rose, mixing engineer; Ian Corbett (faculty), mastering engineer; Oscar Alvarez-Alonzo (KCKCC student), graphic designer; Keith Kavanaugh, production and licensing service; Joyce Steeby (faculty), rehearsal accompanist; Suzanne Hatcher, vocal consultant; Emily Her (KCKCC alumna), photo credit and John Stafford II, ensemble director.
“It takes a lot of time and patience in creating a full-length record. It’s very exciting, but also mentally exhausting, especially after a mixing session,” Stafford said. “For every song on the album, you have to triple check intonation and rhythm for every voice and every instrument. Plus, add in important studio elements, such as Gain, EQ, Compression, Reverb, etc. – it’s a very tedious and gratefully rewarding process all at once.”
The album is currently available in hard copy form for $12 through Stafford and will soon be available for digital download. All proceeds will go back to the Music Department to support student travel, such as the upcoming trip to the Jazz Educators Network National Conference in Reno, Nevada, and the Kansas Music Educators Association’s conference in Wichita, Kansas. For more information, contact Stafford at 913-288-7137 or by email at email@example.com.