KCKCC Jazz Band raising money for Cuba trip

by Kelly Rogge

It might be months away, but the Kansas City Kansas Community College Jazz Band is ramping up fundraising efforts for its trip to the 2014 Havana International Jazz Festival later this year.

“This is a bona fide once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our students,” said Jim Mair, professor of music and director of instrumental studies at KCKCC. “They will see the sights and hear sounds that can only be heard in Cuba. Authentic, non-pretentious and real.”

The KCKCC Jazz Band was invited to perform at the 2014 Havana International Jazz Festival in Havana, Cuba last fall. The festival is Dec. 17 to 22. The band was invited based on its long reputation as one of the premiere community college jazz ensembles in the nation.

The Havana International Jazz Festival started in 1978 when Bobby Carcasses and other Cuban jazz musicians had a concert at the Case de la Cultura de Plaza. The following year, Chucho Valdes, now the president of the festival’s organizing committee, gave another concert. Those yearly concerts morphed into the festival as it is known today.

In addition to attending the festival, the jazz band will have the opportunity to take a guided tour of the UNESCO World Heritage Site and the Havana Historical Centre; tour Cuba’s National Museum of Fine Arts; visit the Institute Superior de Arte, the country’s top art academy; explore Finca Vigia, where Ernest Hemingway lived for more than 20 years; enjoy tap dancing and live jazz music at Pena de Santa Amalia and learn about the Cuban culture. Any U.S. citizen is allowed to travel to the small country with the appropriate license.

Donations are currently being accepted to help the KCKCC Jazz Band with the approximately $60,000 of travel expenses. Checks can be made payable to KCKCC with “Cuba Trip” written in the memo area. These can be given directly to Mair or Patrick McCartney in the KCKCC Endowment Office for a tax write-off option. Other future fundraisers include selling merchandise at the Jazz Summit, church concerts, a big band dance and donations from the monthly Jazz by the Lake event.

The trip is also open to those within the Wyandotte and Kansas City area community. Those who are interested in traveling with the jazz band are responsible for their own expenses and travel costs. Mair said he has received about 20 requests for information from interested community members.

For more information on the KCKCC Jazz Band’s invitation to the 2014 Havana International Jazz Festival and on the group’s fundraising efforts, contact Jim Mair at jmair@kckcc.edu or call 913-288-7149. Community members interested in traveling with the band should contact Bill Yeazel at jyeazel@kckcc.edu.

– Kelly Rogge is the public information supervisor at Kansas City Kansas Community College.

Lady Blue Devil streak to six with sweep of Fort Scott

by Alan Hoskins

Elizabeth Seimears pitched her first shutout of the season to complete a Kansas City Kansas Community College sweep of Fort Scott Tuesday.

Seimears blanked the Greyhounds on two hits in a 5-inning 13-0 win after Leslie Ford had pitched the Lady Blue Devils to a 7-3 win in the opener.

The wins pushed KCKCC’s winning streak to six in a row heading into pivotal weekend Jayhawk Conference doubleheaders – at No. 6 ranked Cowley County (11-5) Friday and No. 9 Independence (12-6) Saturday. At 10-6 in the Jayhawk and 18-6 overall, the Blue Devils are in position to move past both teams with sweeps. Wiped out by rain Wednesday, KCKCC’s scheduled twin bill with Neosho County has not been rescheduled.

Seimears had a perfect game through four innings of the nightcap before giving up a pair of singles in the fifth. The Blue Devils backed her with 15 hits led by Mierra Morisette and Lacey Santiago. Morisette had two doubles and a triple and drove in four runs while Santiago tripled and singled twice and scored three times. Hanna Barnhart added a double and single and Ashley Henington two singles.

KCKCC scored two in the first on a single by Santiago, double by Morisette and single by Barnhart and added two more in the second on Morisette’s 2-run double following a walk and Justice Scales’ single. The Blue Devils wrapped up the win with nine runs on nine hits in the fourth as everyone in the lineup but one hit safely. Santiago and Morisette each had 2-run triples, Amanda Holroyd and Barnhart doubles and Henington, Ford, Megan Dike and Laura Vanderheiden had singles.

Leslie Ford gave up just one run the first six innings before giving up two runs on three hits in the seventh in the 7-3 opening win. Ford struck out eight and walked three while the Blue Devils did all their scoring in the first three innings.

A double by Scales and singles by Morisette and Holroyd gave KCKCC a 1-0 lead and the Blue Devils added six in the third, four of which were unearned due to two Fort Scott errors.

Scales started the uprising with a double and after a walk, hit batsman and two errors, Ford and Dike rapped singles and Vanderheiden lashed a 2-run double. Scales, Morisette, Holroyd and Vanderheiden each had a pair of hits in the win.

Blue Devils extend winning streak to 13 in row with 9-1 win

by Alan Hoskins  

Kansas City Kansas Community College’s streaking baseball team made it 13 in a row Tuesday as four Blue Devil pitchers combined on a 6-hitter in a 9-1 win over Maple Woods.

The win improved the Blue Devils’ record to 18-15 heading into a home game Wednesday with Brown Mackie at 2 p.m. before KCKCC returns to Jayhawk Conference play – at Independence Thursday and a home twin bill against Indy on Saturday at 1 p.m.

Lefthander Hunter Phillips (4-4) got the win, allowing three hits and fanning two in four scoreless innings. Derek Watkins gave up a run and two hits in two innings, Jonathan May a hit in two innings and Spencer Nielsen pitched a scoreless ninth.

The Blue Devils scored all the runs they needed in the second. Singles by Zane Mapes and Lucas Jordan and Sam Baxter’s ground ball got one run home and Garrett McKinzie made it 3-0 with a two-run shot to left center, his fourth home run of the season.

KCKCC added its fourth run in the fourth, scoring on leadoff singles by Eric Hinostroza and Mitch Glessner, a sacrifice by Daniel LaMunyon and Mapes’ squeeze bunt.

KCKCC’s final five runs came in the seventh on just two hits, RBI singles by Christian Arnold and Tyler Raymond. Maple Woods hurlers contributed to the uprising with three hit batsmen and a walk.