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Kansas City Jazz Orchestra Embarks on First International Trip

Jazzed Magazine • News • March 21, 2018

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The Kansas City Jazz Orchestra (KCJO) is performing in its first international trip in two European cities this May. First, the KCJO will perform at the Hannover Enercity Swinging Jazz Festival in Hannover, Germany on May 9 and 10. After the jazz festival concludes, the KCJO will travel on to Szczecin, Poland to perform in a smaller concert on May 11 and 12. 

KCJO will perform songs in Germany and Poland from their recent library featuring tunes from great American jazz musicians. 

These two performances are of cultural significance because not only will the KCJO perform with other world-renowned orchestra bands, but they will also serve as ambassadors, bringing awareness of jazz as an art form and Kansas City as a cradle of modern jazz to Europe.

“Both performances will raise an awareness of Kansas City as a culturally significant city, and is a great way to share the influence that Kansas City has on music,” said Dorene Shipley, KCJO executive director. “In addition, we are excited to use this opportunity to promote cultural exchange between the sister cities of Hannover and Kansas City.” 

KCJO received the opportunity to perform at the jazz festival thanks to a partnership with the city of Kansas City, Missouri and the Hannover Committee of Sister Cities of Kansas City (SCAKC). After the KCJO learned that the Hannover Jazz Club and Thomas Hermann, president and mayor of Hannover, expressed an interest in inviting a large, 17-piece band to play at the festival this year, the KCJO sent music to festival director Lothar Krist and was invited to play among the four other bands from the United States, Sweden, France and Germany.

Other performers representing Kansas City will be Karla Bauer, award-winning singer/songwriter and pianist, and Greg Carroll CEO of Midnight Blue Jazz.

“The festival’s lineup always focuses on quality and variety,” said Nicolas Sempff, booking manager for the Hannover Enercity Swinging Jazz Festival. “A full-size big band of the caliber of the KCJO is unique and we are excited to welcome them to Hannover.” 

“Many people around the world may not be aware that Kansas City’s swing style was born here and exported worldwide,” Councilman Scott Wagner said. “I, along with Jon McGraw of Kansas City Jazz ALIVE and Traute Kohler of the Hannover Committee of SCAKC, developed this trip with the Sister City program in order to shine a light on Kansas City jazz.”

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