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Backstage And Beyond

MIRACLE ON THE MUDDY: Kansas City surprises nation with bold new venture

Suddenly, classical radio is back. Almost exactly 20 years after its disappearance from the FM dial, the music that Kansas City is becoming known for worldwide has made its way onto local airwaves again. On June 30th, 91.9 Classical KC went live, broadcasting 24 hours a day with a refreshing breadth of programming and with […]

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MAKING LEMONADE WITHOUT LEMONS: Despite challenges, arts groups have plenty to offer this fall

Artists have always delighted in playing notes that are not in the scale, or painting outside the lines, or staging plays is odd places. After a few weeks of hand-wringing, Kansas City’s performing-arts leaders dug in and created a fall season the likes of which we have never seen. Audiences will have access to a […]

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SING, DANCE, REJOICE: Choir with ambitious goals celebrates 25 years of success

Choirs always seem to bring joy into a room. And if the singers are feeling it, chances are it will spread to the listeners. “You dispel any myths or any idiosyncrasies about the other person,” said Ah’Lee Robinson, speaking of the communal experience of choral performance, where personal differences drop away. “I just want my […]

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CANE MUTINY: Symphony principal shows the saner side of being an oboist

When oboist Kristina Fulton spends hundreds of hours carving Mediterranean cane into paper-thin strips of reed, she has a single purpose in mind: to produce the most gorgeous sound possible. “I’ve always loved listening to opera singers, or even amazing jazz greats, Ella Fitzgerald or Nina Simone,” said the San Diego native, who has held […]

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GET ON YOUR FEET: A top-notch live band can make your reception into the party of a lifetime

Strategy, creativity, and a playbook drawn from years of observation: The success of a wedding band is more akin to Andy Reid’s playbook than you might think. A band throws out songs the way Andy tries crazy plays early in a game, just to gauge responses, adjusting the game-plan as he goes. A band ensures […]

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LOVE IS A MADNESS: Actors find Kansas City ideal for career and for ‘happily ever after’

Life doesn’t always imitate art, but it usually imitates Shakespeare. When Hillary Clemens and Matt Schwader first met in 2010 in Wisconsin, performing Rosalind and Orlando in the American Players Theatre’s As You Like It, they could hardly have known it would be the first of many such collaborations. “We got along really well, and […]

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AT A CROSSROADS: Conservatory finds ideal leader by following one simple rule

When Diane Helfers Petrella was charged with running the UMKC Conservatory, first as interim dean and then, in 2018, as full-time dean, she was so busy juggling the half-dozen crises facing the school that she barely noticed what was, for the public at least, the most newsworthy aspect of the appointment: She was the first […]

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A SECRET NO LONGER: International fame is shining light on sleepy Parkville

When you’re selling a somewhat offbeat product, sometimes the biggest challenge is explaining to people what it is and why they need it. When it comes to marketing, publicity, and fundraising for Park University’s International Center for Music, one obstacle to spreading awareness about it locally has been its uniqueness: There’s nothing quite like it, […]

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BUCKLE UP: After COVID-19’s bumpy stretch, Kansas City is in for the ride of a lifetime

The continued health of the arts in Kansas City has long been uppermost in our collective consciousness, and for months COVID-19 has kept us all preoccupied. Meanwhile, what is perhaps the most significant decision of the decade for our cultural future is already underway. Yet it has almost escaped notice. During the past 20 years […]

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