Monday, June 30, 2014

Mighty Mo Combo at KC Fringe Festival

Big-Band jazz, Kansas City style. Under the Mid America Freedom Band’s rainbow umbrella of musical ensembles, Mighty Mo Combo brings a refreshingly diverse blend of jazz tunes to KC Fringe Festival. This all volunteer community jazz band serves the Greater Kansas City area. From classic jazz to jazz based on classical music, you’ll hear (and see) some entertaining stuff.
Tickets are $10 with the one-time purchase of a KC Fringe Button. For more information, visit To purchase tickets, visit
Concert dates are: 
Saturday, July 19, 6:30 pm Sunday, July 20, 7:30 pm
Saturday, July 26, 7:30 pm
An additional performance may be scheduled on Sunday, July 27, 4:30 pm if the Mighty Mo Combo draws the largest audience for the venue.
All performances are at the Off Center Theatre in Crown Center 2450 Grand Blvd, Kansas City, MO 64108.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Gregory Campbell appointed MAFB Executive Director

The Mid America Freedom Band welcomes Gregory Campbell as the organization’s new executive director.

"We are very excited to welcome Gregory Campbell as our new Executive Director for Mid America Freedom Band. His ideals, experience, and drive will help lead us forward as we strive to realize our mission as Kansas City's LGBT and allied instrumental ensembles, and achieve success along with other LGBT organizations in this community,” said MAFB President Jessica Riggins.
Gregory is a passionate supporter of the performing arts in Kansas City and is thrilled to work with the Mid America Freedom Band as they grow and continue to make an impact in the local community. Originally from Gardner, Kansas, Gregory returned to Kansas City to serve on the administrative staff of the Kansas City Symphony. He is in demand as a trombonist with groups like Fountain City Brass Band, the Kansas City Symphony, and The Northland Symphony.
Prior to his return Gregory spent 12 years performing with a variety of orchestras and opera companies including the Orlando Philharmonic, Symphony of the Americas, Brevard Symphony Orchestra, Atlantic Classical Orchestra, Southwest Florida Symphony Orchestra, Miami Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra Miami, Opera Naples, Orquesta Sinfonica UANL in Monterrey, Mexico, Summer Opera Theater of Washington, DC, and the Ohio Light Opera in Wooster, Ohio. From the Peabody Conservatory of Music he holds a bachelor's degree in trombone performance and obtained a master's degree in the same at the University of Miami (FL).  He is a published arranger with Cherry Classics of Vancouver, Canada.
Gregory’s tenure starts as MAFB’s jazz band, the Mighty Mo Combo, gears up for their Kansas City Fringe Festival performances and the ensemble’s 12th concert season.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Derek M. Jenkins Commissioned by Mid America Freedom Band

KANSAS CITY, MO - May 15, 2014 - The Mid America Freedom Band has commissioned Derek M. Jenkins to compose a new piece scheduled receive its premiere in the ensemble’s 12th season.

Jenkins was unanimously selected by a six-person panel after reviewing the submissions resulting from the Mid America Freedom Band’s Call for Proposals from Missouri and Kansas Composers. He will write a new piece for concert band to be premiered at the National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial in the J.C. Nichols Auditorium by the Mid America Freedom Band.

“Derek’s proposal and catalogue of works clearly show a talented, young composer with an ear and skill for writing for wind band. His music strikes the balance between approachable and innovative and we look forward to working with Derek to bring his new piece to life,” writes Mid America Freedom Band Artistic Director Lee Hartman.

This new work will join piece by Aaron Copland, Jean Sibelius, Reinhold Glière, Clifton Williams, Olav Anton Thommessen, Brian Balmages, Tielman Susato, and Marvin Hamlisch on “Just Dance,” the final concert of the Mid America Freedom Band’s 12th season on Sunday, April 26, 2015.


Derek M. Jenkins (b. 1986, Frankfurt am Main, Germany) is an American composer currently studying at the University of Missouri-Kansas City (DMA Composition, MM Musicology) and he holds degrees from Rice University (MM Composition, 2013) and the University of Missouri-Kansas City (BM Composition, BM Theory, 2010). Additionally, he has received further instruction at the Kärntner Landeskonservatorium and the Alpen-Adria Universität Klagenfurt. Previously, Jenkins held positions with's OnCampus Vlog through the Eastman School of Music and the Michael P. Hammond Preparatory Program at Rice University. ​
Numerous ensembles and performers including the U.S. Army Materiel Command Band; the Florida State Wind Orchestra; the UMKC, Arizona State, Western Michigan, Iowa State, and Bethel College [North Newton, KS] Wind Ensembles; the Tri-State Wind Symphony; the Carinthia, Joseph Wytko, and Saxophilia Saxophone Quartets; Washington Square Winds; Musica Nova; mezzo-soprano Jennifer Beattie; and saxophonists Randall Hall, Gilbert Sabitzer, and Joseph Wytko have performed his works through the U.S., Europe, and in Canada. In 2012, Jenkins's wind ensemble piece, Eosphorus: The Morning Star, was selected as a winner of the National Band Association's Young Composer Mentor Project. Jenkins has received recognition from MACRO, ASCAP, UMKC, the Harry S. Truman Good Neighbor Award Foundation, and at conferences and festivals across the U.S. and abroad. Recent commissions have come from the University of Tennessee at Martin Wind Ensemble, the University of Missouri-Kansas City Wind Ensemble, the Bethel College Wind Ensemble and Concert Choir [North Newton, KS], the Eleanor Roosevelt Middle School Concert Band [Dubuque, IA], the University of Missouri-Kansas City Saxophone Ensemble, and various individuals throughout the country.
His primary composition teachers have included Karim Al-Zand, Chen Yi, Pierre Jalbert, Richard Lavenda, James Mobberley, Paul Rudy, and Zhou Long. He has also had lessons with Kathryn Alexander, Mark Camphouse, Amy Dunker, Peter Graham, Carter Pann, David Rakowski, and Alfred Stingl. His music is available through Veritas Musica Publishing and under his own imprint, Mühltal Musikpresse.​

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Mid America Freedom Band announces 12th season

The Mid America Freedom Band’s 12th season honors the work of treasured divas, EGOT winners, and great concert band repertoire.
Gypsies, Tramps, and Thieves
Sunday, October 19, 2014
2:00 pm
J.C. Nichols Auditorium, National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial
100 W 26th St., Kansas City, MO
Cher will be on yet another of her farewell tours so sadly she probably won’t be in attendance, but that doesn’t mean MAFB can’t use her immortal song “Gypsies, Tramps, and Thieves” as inspiration for the fall concert! Styne’s Overture to Gypsy, Bizet’s Carmen Suite, and Brahms’ Hungarian Dance No. 5 complement Saucedo’s evocative Song of the Gandy Dancers and Compello’s rollicking Gypsy Dance. Marches include those by Sousa (Charlatan March) and Walters’ Circus Spectacular. Also billed are selections from Aladdin and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End. KC-based composer Ian Corbett’s Charisma receives its local premiere and EGOT-winner Richard Rodgers’ “Lady is a Tramp” from Babes in Arms, featuring Joe Duncan on tenor saxophone, rounds out the concert.
Frozen Fantasia
Sunday, December 14, 2014
2:00 pm
J.C. Nichols Auditorium, National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial
100 W 26th St., Kansas City, MO
We can’t let it go either! The lovely and talented Idina Menzel (or Adele Dazeem as John Travolta knows her) inspires the holiday concert of fantastic fantasias and the hot-off-the-presses medley  from the pen of the newly minted EGOTer Robert Lopez and his hit Disney musical, Frozen. Daniel Elder’s Fantasia receives it world premiere and Greg Bartholomew’s Far North Land gets its US premiere in this new band arrangement. Reaching back the the Baroque era, MAFB performs Bach’s Fantasia in G in Edwin Franko Goldman’s famous arrangement as well as fantasias on the popular carols “Silent Night” and “We Three Kings.” It wouldn’t be a holiday concert without Leroy Anderson’s Sleigh Ride. Joining these popular tunes are the medleys Randall Strandridge’s Yuletide Festival and Bob Krogstadt’s Bells of Christmas. But it’s David Lovrien’s Minor Alterations that will have you giggling as this demented arrangement puts your favorite holiday selections in minor tonalities!
Just Dance
Sunday, April 26, 2015
2:00 pm
J.C. Nichols Auditorium, National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial
100 W 26th St., Kansas City, MO
Mother monster Lady Gaga has some killer dance moves and the repertoire of dance pieces is endless. Clifton Williams’ Symphonic Dance No. 3 “Fiesta” is one of the standards and the Latin flavor and throbbing rhythms will get your blood pumping and toes tapping. Olav Anton Thommessen is not a household name but his Egyptian-inspired Stabsarabesk is a searing, face-peeler with a Middle Eastern vibe and a melody that will worm its way into your head. For contrast, Sibelius’ Valse triste complements in this the 150th anniversary of his birth. Two other band transcriptions of Gliere’s popular “Russian Sailor’s Dance” and Copland’s lush “Promise of Living” from The Tender Land are programmed with selections from the Renaissance era’s Tielman Susato’s Danserye. Brian Balmages wrote a showstopper with Three Celtic Dances. MAFB will also give the premiere of a new work by a Missouri or Kansas composer that has yet to be selected. Marvin Hamlisch’s medley from Chorus Line fills out the season and the EGOT winners presented.   
Rehearsals for Season 12 begin Thursday, August 21 at Central Presbyterian Church in Kansas City, MO from 7-9 pm. All instrumental musicians are welcome but we do ask that you be able to read music.

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