Reporter Dan Verbeck talks about a romantic theme from the 1955 movie "Picnic."
"The movie was filmed mostly in Kansas in 1955," Verbeck said.
"The 'Moonglow' theme has a special tingly quality to it. There are two people dancing in a small park beside a stream at a Labor Day picnic," he said. "My wife grew up in a rural town about ten miles from where the picnic scene was filmed."
DJs pride themselves on the rare grooves they can dig up and play for audiences. But there’s another kind of audio lover who searches for artifacts of eras gone by, whether it’s radio broadcasts, commercials or speeches.
A pipe organ is custom-designed and created for a place. When the Casavant Frères organ at the spiral-shaped Community of Christ temple in Independence was first played nearly two decades ago, one critic called it "one of the most glorious organs in North America."
In a recent Tiny Desk Concert – the band Hospital Ships performed crushingly beautiful songs with their eyes closed. With their nice collared shirts, 2-day-old beards, and folky feel, they look like the kinds you see sipping coffee at the Merc in Lawrence… because they are.
We have good news and bad news. First the good: George Takei, your favorite Star-Trek-Helmsmen-Turned-Gay-Rights-Activist, is coming to town to narrate a Sci-Fi Spectacular with the KC Symphony, complete with a laser light show. Now the bad: If you don't already have tickets or a really amazing friend, the show looks very sold out.
The past few months have been rough for local jazz. Two promising newer venues, 1911 Main and Café Augusta in Lenexa, have shut down. And at Jardine's Restaurant and Jazz Club, one of the city’s most celebrated venues, a dispute between the owner and employees led to a boycott by musicians. The restaurant then closed its doors, and its future remains up in the air.
For more than forty years, Ladysmith Black Mambazo has married the intricate rhythms and harmonies of the native South African musical traditions. The ten member vocal ensemble has recorded forty albums and sold more than six million records.
When the KC band The Grisly Hand came out with their album Safehouse, they decided to offer it free for download online. Since then they have toured with these songs across the region, and this week, that album has reached #4 most downloaded off the website NoiseTrade.
Singer Myra Taylor was one of the last living links to Kansas City's jazz heyday of the 1930s. Taylor died Friday, December 9, 2011 at the age of 94.
According to The Kansas City Star:
Taylor had been under hospice care at the Swope Ridge Geriatric Center, 5900 Swope Parkway, for more than three months, said her manager, Dawayne Gilley. Her final performance was July 24 at Jardine’s, 4536 Main St., where she performed with the Wild Women of Kansas City, a jazz vocal quartet.
To Rebecca Pryor, her grandfather Charlie was a kind of Pied Piper. Everywhere he went, he made music that thrilled listeners.
Charlie Pryor was a percussionist, specializing in drum set, xylophone and a homemade musical washboard supped up with cowbells and horns. When she was little, Charlie took Rebecca with him to play at churches, and he played at her school's assemblies.
The challenge: how to transfer the sound of almost 250 voices - the combined Kansas City Symphony Chorus and the Independence Messiah Choir - from a cavernous hall to the more intimate Helzberg Hall at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in Kansas City, Mo.
In the 1970s, "The Story of Ferdinand" was set to solo violin by British composer Alan Ridout. The musical version will be presented next weekend at the Kansas City Public Library by the Bach Aria Soloists.
By Sylvia Maria Gross
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The classic children's book The Story of Ferdinand was written in the 1930s by Munro Leaf and illustrated by Robert Lawson. You might recognize its red cover and delicate black and white drawings.
Three world premieres are slated for the Kansas City Symphony's inaugural season in Helzberg Hall. And they all take inspiration from a Kansas City trademark: fountains. The first, by renowned composer Chen Yi, called Fountains of Kansas City, premieres this weekend.
By Laura Spencer
Kansas City, Mo. – Born and raised in China, Dr. Chen has lived and taught in Kansas City for more than a decade at the UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance.
The early 1970s Kansas City music venue Cowtown Ballroom will be inducted into the Missouri Music Hall of Fame Saturday night in St. Joseph. But one of its founders won't be there. Stan Plesser died on Thursday.
By Laura Spencer
Kansas City, Mo. – Stan Plesser was raised in New York, and moved to Kansas City to attend high school.
An Elder Stateswoman of Kansas City Jazz, singer and pianist Pearl Thuston Brown, died on Monday, August 29 at the age of 84. Thuston Brown was a professional musician for 60 years - including 30 of those years on the road.
By Chuck Haddix (edited by Laura Spencer)
Kansas City, Mo. – Thuston Brown was born in Kansas City, Mo., and raised in Kansas City, Kan. Her father (and siblings) played piano, so she got an early start at the age of six.
Blind Boone, a talented pianist, overcame blindness from a childhood illness to become an important figure in the Kansas City jazz scene. Photo is image number SHS 006696 from the State Historical Society of Missouri.
It's often a challenge for even the most hard-core jazz buffs to remember Missouri's pre-ragtime composer known as Blind Boone.
By Alex Smith
KANSAS CITY, MO – The National Endowment for the Arts recently announced a pledge of $200,000 to help restore the long-abandoned Boone Theater in the 18th and Vine District. While it's a welcome boost for the neighborhood, even many Missourians are hard-pressed to remember the 19th century composer and pianist for whom the theater was named.
What's it like for a seventeen-year-old girl to sing a duet, in public, with her dad? For Shanice Hayes, it's not only a joy, it's a profession.
By Susan B. Wilson
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Over the past few years, a pair of streets musicians on the Plaza has been attracting some crowds. KCUR's Susan B. Wilson recently chatted with father and daughter duo Maurice and Shanice Hayes about the genesis of this family band.
The National Endowment for the Arts on Tuesday announced its first round of "Our Town" funding - $6.5 million in grants to strengthen the arts through public-private partnerships. In Missouri, one initiative was selected: the restoration of the historic Boone Theater in the 18th and Vine Jazz District.
By Laura Spencer
Kansas City, Mo. – The National Endowment for the Arts will pay $200,000 towards the restoration of an old venue in Kansas City's 18th and Vine Jazz District.
The idea of the Barbershop Harmony Society hatched in Kansas City when two Tulsa, Oklahoma businessmen - and barbershop enthusiasts - had a chance meeting at the Muehlebach Hotel (now the Kansas City Marriott Downtown).
By Laura Spencer
Kansas City, Mo. – Founded in 1938, the organization promotes and preserves barbershop music - and has nearly 30,000 members. This week, many of those members are in Kansas City for the Society's convention, which includes performances and an international competition.