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Backstage And Beyond

HOWL ME A TUNE: As composers evoke animals in their music, orchestral musicians draw symbiotic sustenance from their own pets   

Early humans may not have actually learned to make music from the beasts of the air, land, or sea, but they were clearly aware of the sounds around them. We can probably assume that they shared our own fascination with the “songs” of birds, whales, and wolves: even as we recognize that, to whatever extent […]

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LIGHTS, CAMERA, JETÉ: Film is offering local performers new means of expression

After local arts organizations got over the shock of not being able to perform in their normal manner, they began setting up cameras everywhere: streaming performances live, filming them to share on the web, or creating both live and “archived” versions at the same time. Today, more than a year into this “age of innovation” […]

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IT ONLY TAKES A SPARK: KC Rep’s web initiative reveals intricate connections among art forms in Kansas City

One of these days, Yetunde Felix-Ukwu will again have a mountain of artistic, production, and curatorial duties to deal with at Kansas City Repertory Theatre. At the moment, though, the company’s artistic associate is fulfilling an equally critical function: She is using the company’s digital platform to show Kansas City the extent to which the […]

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WHO YOU GONNA CALL? Performers reveal whose opinions matter to them when the applause subsides

Performing artists are such punctilious critics of their own work that they generally know what went well and what didn’t. Even before anyone else weighs in, they have at least a “feel” for how it came off. But eventually they’re curious to know what it looked like from the “other side of the footlights,” and […]

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BEST OF 2020: Local performing artists brought thrills to an anxiety-filled year

Kansas City arts organizations defied odds in 2020 and pulled off some of the most remarkable performances in recent memory. They ranged from a handful of live-with-audience performances (some pre-pandemic, some during) to a bevy of virtual shows and one “special event.” Classical KC; 91.9 Goes Live; After 20 years without a dedicated FM station, classical […]

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WINNING TEAM: Nationally renowned arts program brings hope to children, families

There are many ways to save lives. Laura Shultz and her colleagues at Harmony Project KC are providing students from Kansas City’s northeast with life-affirming tools that build self-esteem through the sort of teamwork we normally associate with sports. But instead of footballs or baseball bats, they’re using violins, cellos, flutes, and clarinets. “It’s more […]

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WHAT’S ON THE WEB TONIGHT, DEAR?

Kansas City arts group respond to pandemic with ample online content This year fans of the performing arts have learned that you don’t have to leave home to take in a show. Although some organizations have experimented with carefully-distanced outdoor (and occasionally indoor) performances, local audiences still remain disinclined to attend indoor events. And because […]

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JUST FOLKS: They’re not exactly normal suburbanites (but almost)

If you drive by the Belcher home during the day, you’ll find little to distinguish it from any other house on the tranquil street in suburban Liberty. But if you slow down and listen, you might hear Danny out in the yard, rehearsing a new American opera while cutting the grass. “I thought the mower […]

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SIMPLY THE BEST: Symphony rejoices at landing one of America’s finest

Extraordinary musical talent often emerges from a perfect storm of natural gifts, enthusiasm, and exceptional early instruction. When Josh Jones arrived at the Chicago Symphony’s Percussion Scholarship Program at age nine, he already possessed a set of skills that challenged the whole nature-versus-nurture conundrum. Granted, he had been hitting on things since at least age […]

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