Mike Metheny leads a Jazz Camp Rehearsal at Kansas City Kansas Community College
Jazz Camp Performance at 12th Street Rag, at the Kansas City Marriott Downtown Hotel
Education is central to The Kansas City Jazz Orchestra’s mission and purpose. It is through this commitment to the next generation of jazz enthusiasts that we may best carry out our mission of perpetuating the art form. The following is a list of programs that the KCJO currently offers. These programs can be supported through sponsorship or through contributions to our Scholarship Programs.
The KCKCC/KCJO Jazz Camp is a week long summer day camp held on the campus of Kansas City Kansas Community College. The program serves approximately 50 music students each year. The ages of camp participants range from 13 to adult. The ability levels range from beginner to advanced. The camp focuses on jazz improvisation skills in a small group or “combo” setting. Scholarships are awarded to camp attendees based on financial need and musical commitment.
Master Classes and clinics are offered by select guest artists at Kansas City Kansas Community College in conjunction with their concert series performance. These clinics are open and free to the public. Clinics may also be offered at area schools by KCJO members and may include a joint concert performance. All concert proceeds benefit the high school’s band club. Funding is currently being sought for the following programs:
Music Scholars is a partnership between the KCJO and Kansas City Kansas Community College and developed in cooperation with the KCK School District’s music directors. The program will provide underserved students in the Kansas City, Kansas School district private music lessons. Lessons will be instructed by area professionals including members of the KCJO. Lessons will take place on Wednesday afternoons at Kansas City Kansas Community College.
The Kansas City Jazz Orchestra currently has three established scholarship programs to support our community’s aspiring musicians.
The Vince Bilardo Percussion Scholarship In memory of percussionist and Kansas City music icon, Vince Bilardo, who had a successful career in music that spanned five decades. Vince began his drumming career at an early age in Cleveland, Ohio. At age 12 he was a member of his uncle's band known as The Bilardo Brothers Band and became the youngest musician in Cleveland to join the American Federation of Musicians. After a stint in the US Army, Vince attended both Cleveland Instutute of Music and Western Reserve University. After graduation Vince, his wife Joan, and new born son came to Kansas City. He performed as Principal Percussionist for 23 years with the Kansas City Philharmonic Orchestra and also served as its Personnel Manager for 16 years. He performed with such notables as Count Basie, Stan Kenton and Woody Herman. He has accompanied and/or contracted for top entertainers like Bob Hope, Red Skelton, Shirley Jones, Red Buttons, Marvin Hamlisch, Nancy Wilson, Elvis Presley, Danny Kaye, Jack Benny and many others. Through the years Vince acquired a reputation as a versatile musician, a good businessman, and a gentleman with a touch of class.
The Jack G. Botteron, Jr. Jazz Camp Scholarship The Jack G. Botteron, Jr. Jazz Camp Scholarship was established by members of Jack’s family in his loving memory. Jack was a trumpet player and lifelong student of music. Jack attended the KCKCC/KCJO Jazz Camp for several years and inspired many students with his enthusiasm and love of music. Scholarships are awarded each year to deserving students to attend the camp.
The Kenneth C. Cox Jazz Scholarship The Kenneth C. Cox Jazz Scholarship was established in the memory of a long-time supporter of music and music education. Ken was the Selmer Music Company representative in Kansas City and was actively involved in the music and jazz community. The Kenneth C. Cox Jazz Scholarship will support saxophone students wishing to attend the KCKCC/KCJO Jazz Improvisation Camp.
The Jim Mullinix Scholarship for Higher Education The Jim Mullinix Scholarship for Higher Education was established by members of Jim’s family to support the ongoing education of a student or students with financial need. Jim Mullinix was an instructor at Kansas City Kansas Community College before his death at age 37.
The Theodore Jan Wilson Scholarship Theo Wilson was a bassist and percussionist who spent the last part of his career in Kansas City playing professionally for the St. Joseph Symphony, The Kansas City Jazz Orchestra and the American Heartland Theater. Theo was born and raised in New York City and had unique opportunities to interact with and learn from several celebrated musicians in the swing era like saxophonist Benny Carter, drummer Jo Jones, and bassist Milt Hinton, for whom he had a particular admiration, as well as his father, the renown jazz pianist and Juilliard instructor, Theodore Shaw "Tedddy" Wilson.
Because of his NYC contacts early in life with musical artists from Kansas City's jazz heyday, Theo chose to relocate to Kansas City. Theo served as an adjunct member of the music faculty of Kansas City Kansas Community College (KCKCC), and was an active contributor to the campus events of KCKCC's Intercultural Center.
A scholarship in Theo's name has been established to help support students desiring to attend the Kansas City Jazz Camp held at KCKCC each summer.