Community invited to join KCKCC Jazz Band in Cuba Dec. 16-22

by Alan Hoskins

Anyone ever wishing to visit the intriguing country of Cuba, Kansas City Kansas Community College is offering a once in a lifetime opportunity.

The KCKCC Jazz Band will be performing in the 30th Annual Havana Jazz Festival Dec. 16-22 and members of the community are invited to go along.

“This is going to be a great tour and huge fun,” said Bill Yeazel, former director of the KCKCC Performing Arts Center who is organizing the trip for the college. “Having been to Havana a couple of times, it is truly a unique destination and the music scene at night is spectacular.”

The cost of the land package in Cuba is $1,769 and includes hotel based on double occupancy, four lunches and one dinner, all ground travel and airport transfers and All-Access passes to all festival events.

Not included is a $20 Cuban tourist card, a $300 license to return to the U.S. and airfare. Because American airlines are not allowed to fly to Cuba, connections will be made through Cancun, Mexico. The Cancun-Havana round trip is currently $320 while the cost of Kansas City-Cancun flights has yet to be determined.

“Because the flights from Kansas City to Cancun fluctuate so much, we are highly encouraging anyone seriously interested in making the trip to contact us immediately in order that we can book the necessary number of seats as soon as possible,” Yeazel said. Only the first 30 persons to sign up will be guaranteed space on the trip. Persons interested are urged to contact Yeazel at yeazel@kckcc.edu or 816-665-0296 or Mayre Hoffman at mhoffman@kckcc.edu.

An informational and sign-up meeting on the trip will be held in the college’s Conference Center adjacent to the Campus Lake at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 24. However, persons interested in making the trip are urged to contact Yeazel or Hoffman as soon as possible.

In addition to attending performances of the world famous Havana Jazz Festival which will include premium seats at the festival’s opening and closing ceremonies, the trip will offer a spectacular tour of the highlights including:

• Guided tour of the Havana Historical Centre, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
• Day trip exploration of Vinales Valley and Town, also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
• Tour of Cuba’s National Museum of Fine Arts.
• Visit to Iinstituto Superior de Arte (ISA), the country’s top art academy.
• Luncheon hosted by Jose Fuster, renowned Cuban ceramist and painter.
• Exploration of Finca Vigia, where Earnest Hemingway lived and wrote for more than 20 years.
• Tap dancing and live jazz music at Pena de Santa Amalia.
• Welcome dinner at Havana’s famous restaurant, El Aljibe.
• Farewell lunch at La Ferminia restaurant.

The festival will open on Wednesday, Dec. 17, with the KCKCC Jazz Band performing on Thursday and Friday nights. The Festival will close on Sunday with the return to Kansas City on Monday.

A complete and comprehensive itinerary can be found online at www.kansascityjazz.org and is recommended for anyone interested in making the trip.

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