Wednesday, March 12, 2014

MAFB partners with Turn the Page KC

The Mid America Freedom Band, Kansas City’s community band of LGBT and allied musicians, is partnering with Turn the Page KC, Mayor Sly James’ initiative to promote third-grade literacy and reading readiness, on April 12 at the ensemble’s “Reading is Fundamental” concert held at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.

“When the opportunity was presented to us by Emily Kuennen, one of our ensemble members and staff person at Turn the Page KC, to help encourage young readers, we jumped at the chance. It is such a logical fit for both organizations,” states MAFB artistic director, Lee Hartman.

MAFB requests that concertgoers bring a book appropriate for K-3 school-age children, to donate to Turn the Page KC. Turn the Page KC staff members will be in attendance to collect and collate the donations for distribution. In appreciation, all attendees who donate will be given a raffle ticket for a chance to win an assortment of prize baskets.

“I’m thrilled that the Mid America Freedom Band, a progressive organization founded on principles devoted to unity and inclusiveness, has embraced Turn the Page KC,” said Mayor Sly James, Chairman of the Board for Turn the Page KC. “I am so thankful to the group for being a partner in this endeavor and look forward to see the fruits of these efforts.”

Now in its eleventh season, MAFB’s “Reading is Fundamental” concert is programmed with selections of music based on works of literature. Among the pieces to be performed are Robert W. Smith’s “Inferno” from the Divine Comedy which draws inspiration from Dante’s 14th-century epic, Tchaikovsky’s take on Shakespeare’s immortal tale of star-crossed lovers, Romeo and Juliet, Paul Creston’s Kalevala, inspired by the Finnish national poem and its off-kilter 5/4 meter, Johan de Meij’s “Gandalf” from his Lord of the Rings Symphony which encapsulates the great wizard’s spirit and that of his horse, Shadowfax. Also included are popular tunes from Les Misérables (based on Victor Hugo’s 1862 novel) and the Wizard of Oz from L. Frank Baum’s immortal series along with William Schuman’s seminal When Jesus Wept, David Del Tredici’s tender “Acrostic Song” from Final Alice, and John Williams’s blockbuster score to Jurassic Park

MAFB’s “Reading is Fundamental” is Saturday, April 12, 2014 at 2:00 pm in the Atkins Auditorium of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. Name-your-price tickets are available at For more information about Turn the Page KC, visit

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Call for Proposals from Missouri and Kansas Composers

The Mid America Freedom Band is accepting proposals for a new work for concert band, 7-8 minutes in length, from composers living, working, or studying in Missouri or Kansas of any age or nationality to be performed on the ensemble’s 12th season’s concert, “Just Dance” in spring 2015. MAFB is Kansas City’s community ensemble of LGBT and allied musicians with 50+ playing members. MAFB provides opportunities for instrumental music lovers to share their passion of performance with the diverse community of Kansas City. It strives for excellence while promoting equality, fostering education, and celebrating the joy shared through music.


1.       Composers must be residents of or study or work in Missouri or Kansas.
2.       Composer can be of any age or nationality.


1.       Cover letter with name, address, email, phone number, website (if possible). If address is not in Missouri or Kansas, please provide proof of working in or studying in one of those states (Student ID, Employment verification, etc.).

2.        Brief biography (approximately 250 words).

3.       Written proposal for new work addressing how it will fit with the theme and the ensemble’s mission. A brief sketch of musical materials may be included but is not required. PLEASE DO NOT SEND COMPLETED WORKS.

4.       Two sample .pdfs of recent works. Preference is for large ensemble works and those involving winds and percussion instruments. Sound samples or realizations of the works submitted are also encouraged but not required. A permanent, direct link to a specific .pdf or soundfile is also permitted.

5.       There is no fee to submit materials.

6.       Submit all materials electronically to by May 1, 2014, 11:59 p.m. CST.


1.       After May 1, 2014 a five-person panel of the MAFB artistic director, board, musicians, and outside voices will review the materials.

2.       A shortlist of finalists will be compiled mid-May, at which time additional materials may be requested of shortlisted composers.

3.       By June 1 the committee will select one composer with which to collaborate on a new piece for band.

4.       The new work and parts must be completed by January 1, 2015.

5.       MAFB will provide the composer with at least a $200.00 stipend upon completion.

6.       MAFB will rehearse and perform the work in Spring 2015. The composer is encouraged to attend rehearsals and the performance, but not required.


1.       Piece must be scored for a concert band with the following instrumentation. Parts will have multiple players in most cases. Brief solos by any required instrument are permitted.

2-3 Flutes (optional piccolo)
1 Oboe
3 B-flat Clarinets
1 Bass Clarinet
1 Bassoon
2 Alto Saxophones
1-2 Tenor Saxophones
1 Baritone Saxophone
3 B-flat Trumpets
2-4 F Horns
3 Trombones
1-2 Euphoniums
1-2 Tubas
1 Timpani (4 drum maximum)
2 Percussion (no pitched percussion)
1 Mallet Percussion (Glockenspiel, Xylophone, Chimes)
(1 optional Piano/Synthesizer)
(1 optional String Bass)

2.       Piece should be graded approximately a high 3 to low 4 on Alfred Music’s scale (

3.        Any deviation from the above items must be approved by the Artistic Director.

4.       Piece will be played on the same concert, entitled “Just Dance,” as these tentatively programmed works: Thommessen: Stabsarabesk; Williams: Symphonic Dance No. 3, “Fiesta”; Gliere: Russian Sailors’ Dance; Sibelius: Valse triste; Hamlish: Chorus Line; Balmages: Three Celtic Dances; among others. It should complement and offer variety to the above selections.

Send any questions to

Monday, January 27, 2014

Reading is Fundamental-April 12,2014 Concert

Reading is Fundamental

Saturday, April 12, 2014
2:00 pm
Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
4525 Oak St., Kansas City, MO

The library is open!  Put on your reading glasses, crack open a good book, and hear how composers through the ages have transformed amazing stories into music. Robert W. Smith’s “Inferno,” from the Divine Comedy, draws inspiration from Dante’s 14th-century epic. Suitably fiery with its blazing brass and demonic percussion, the work is made complete by a part for chains! On the opposite end of the spectrum, Tchaikovsky draws from the themes of love and sorrow in Shakespeare’s immortal tale of star-crossed lovers, Romeo and Juliet, with a score that is romantic to the extreme. Paul Creston’s Kalevala uses the Finnish epic poem—and its off-kilter 5/4 meter—as his source of inspiration. J.R.R. Tolkien was also captivated by the Kalevala stories, especially by the mysterious and all-powerful Sampo, which can be seen as direct inspiration for the One Ring in his monumental Lord of the Rings trilogy. Gandalf is a central figure to Tolkien’s stories, and Johan de Meij encapsulated the great wizard’s spirit and that of his horse, Shadowfax, in “Gandalf” from his Lord of the Rings Symphony. Popular tunes from Les Misérables (based on Victor Hugo’s 1862 novel) and the Wizard of Oz from Frank L. Baum’s immortal series take center stage in medley format; along with William Schuman’s seminalWhen Jesus Wept, David Del Tredici’s tender “Acrostic Song” from Final Alice, and John Williams’s epic score to Jurassic Park.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Join Mid America Freedom Band

If you've been thinking about dusting off your old horn and making music, now is the time. Mid America Freedom Band is accepting new members for its 11th Season: "Celebration of Culture."

If you're interested in joining one of our groups, please fill out our new member form, and we'll be in contact with you soon. You just have to be 18 years or older and be able can read music. MAFB has an active symphonic band, jazz band, string orchestra, and marching/pep/flag corp.

Orchestra rehearsals are going on now and concert band rehearsals begin in August at our rehearsal space at Central Presbyterian Church at 3501 Cambell Street. We'll be accepting new members over the next couple of months, but act now!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

KC Metropolis reviews MAFB’s Holidays Around the World Concert

In case you missed it the December 18th  issue,, Kansas City's Online Journal of the Performing Arts, Classical Contributor Karen Haugere viewed the Holidays Around the World concert that took place on December 15, 2013 at Unity Temple on the Plaza.

Fun and energetic holiday carols
The Mid America Freedom Band performed their holiday concert at the Unity Temple on the Plaza, bringing carols from around the world to the beautiful hall in a celebration of the diverse and energetic sounds that accompany this joyful season.

The Mid America Freedom Band was in cheerful holiday form this past weekend, decked out in everything from red and green shirts to Santa hats and light-up Christmas sweaters. The mood of merry-making permeated the whole afternoon, which was filled with cheerful arrangements of favorite holiday carols from around the world. Guest emcee Dana Wright provided entertaining commentary throughout the performance that facilitated smooth transitions between pieces and kept the audience giggling.

One of the band’s main strengths throughout the concert was the usually solid execution of rhythm, led by strong playing from the percussion section. The unusual acoustics of the Unity Temple, with its high ceiling and elevated wings, made the task of staying together more challenging, but the band handled most of the acoustical problems well, especially in Stephen Melillo's O Come Holy Night, one of the first pieces, an arrangement of “O Come All Ye Faithful,” “O Holy Night,” and “Silent Night.” The effect of shimmering layered high woodwinds was ethereal and impressive, and the percussion section held the group down solidly through the changing tempi and meters.

A classic of the repertoire by titan band composer and pedagogue Alfred Reed closed the first half of the program. Russian Chrismas Music is a big piece, and the group handled it well, beginning placidly and patiently. Director Lee Hartman took a turn as soloist, revolving on his podium to play the piece’s memorable English horn solos with tunefulness and a good sense of line. Particularly impressive was the leadership of flutist Christina Carroll, who took over conducting the group during Hartman's solos. The band listened and watched sensitively through the rubato passages. The piece was enhanced by the addition of subtle murmuring keyboard sounds to round off the orchestration, a commendable quality that unified many of the pieces on the program. Truly outstanding playing from the horns and trumpets brought the work to a triumphant close.

This concert marked the debut performance of the Mid America Freedom Band String Orchestra, led by Christa Kelly Scott.....Read More at