my top picks 2014–15

KCMetropolis.orgIt’s that time again! I was worried I’d have trouble putting together my list, but it turns out despite having another kind of crap year personally, I did end up seeing some fantastic concerts. Here is my top picks list on KCMetropolis.org (in chronological order):

Rag Swing Bop! by Paul Mesner Puppets at the Gem Theater as part of the American Jazz Museum’s annual Charlie Parker Celebration. A great, fun way for young Kansas Citians to learn about important parts of our city’s history. (August 2014)

• Buddy Guy on the Performing Arts Series at Johnson County Community College. I loved seeing Buddy last fall as much as I loved seeing him live 15 years ago—he hasn’t lost his edge one bit! (September 2014)

• Yo-Yo Ma and Kathryn Stott on the Harriman-Jewell Series. I’d never seen Yo-Yo Ma play live before, and it was a thrilling experience. (October 2014)

San Francisco Symphony, conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas,on the Harriman-Jewell Series. Its performance of Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloé in Helzberg Hall at the Kauffman Center was simply breathtaking. (November 2014)

• Hozier at Liberty Hall in Lawrence. I hadn’t been to a rock concert in a long time, and Hozier lived up to and exceeded my expectations. Click here for my blog post. (February 2015)

• The Book of Mormon, presented by Theater League/Broadway Across America, at the Music Hall. My husband and I were having a really bad week when we went to see this, but Mormon let us just enjoy a bit of raunchy, ridiculous humor for an evening and forget about our troubles. (February 2015)

• Jonathan Harvey’s String Trio and Eight Songs for a Mad King by Peter Maxwell Davies, performed by newEar Contemporary Chamber Ensemble. Harvey’s String Trio was exactly the kind of complex new music I love hearing, and Kenn Kumpf from Chicago was intense and mesmerizing as the insane George III in the rarely performed Eight Songs. (April 2015)

• Ensemble Ibérica on the Performing Arts Series at Johnson County Community College. Led by Beau Bledsoe, Ensemble Ibérica took its enraptured audience on a tour of Mexican regions through captivating, authentic traditional music. (May 2015)

• Musical sweethearts Victor and Penny performed a work-in-progress on Central Standard Theatre Kansas City‘s The Invasion series, but they are just so genuine and talented they captured my heart. I’m looking forward to seeking out more of their shows in the future. (July 2015)

• Emerging bluegrass duo The Matchsellers had a killer set on the Kansas City Fringe Festival, with a great mix of old standards and idiomatic new originals. I’m going to keep my eye out for these two around town as well (July 2015).

Read my list of top picks with more thoughts and direct links to individual reviews at KCMetropolis.org: Editor’s Picks 2014–15 season: Kristin

2015 kc fringe fest coverage

Whew! It was another whirlwind of a week with the KC Fringe Festival. I scaled back my coverage a little bit from last year (14!)—that was nuts, I couldn’t possibly do that again! But just because I scaled back to nine total this year, doesn’t mean KCMetropolis.org scaled back. In fact, we exceeded our record, with more than 50 articles covering or related to Fringe. It was an exciting if exhausting week! We had a blast. Here are the direct links to my reviews:

BONUS: Not on Fringe, but I also saw Victor and Penny perform at the MET:

 

my top picks 2013–14

KCMetropolis.orgThis last season was a rough one—an apartment move I didn’t want, both of my grandmothers dying, and a more-stressful-than-ever school year. I’m afraid I didn’t end up reviewing as much I would have normally liked. But despite the tough stuff, I was still able to pick out some great shows for my top picks list on KCMetropolis.org:

• Soul legend Aaron Neville and his quintet giving a nostalgic and memorable concert at the Folly Theater presented by Cyprus Avenue Live, October 2013.

• Early-music icon Jordi Savall and his ensemble Hespèrion XII on the Friends of Chamber Music series, performing his latest project Honey and Blood: The Cycles of Life at the Folly Theater, October 2013.

• A fun, funky trip down memory lane thanks to The Wiz at the Coterie Theatre, November 2013.

• The Performing Arts Series at Johnson County Community College‘s headliners for its 2014 Jazz Winterlude festival: percussionist Teri Lynne Carrington and inimitable Latin jazz/Afro-Cuban trumpeter Arturo Sandoval, January 2014.

• Emerging classical violinist Nicola Benedetti on the Harriman-Jewell Series. I especially loved her performance of Prokofiev’s Violin Sonata No. 1 in F Major, Op. 80. February 2014.

• Jazz violinist Regina Carter sharing her deeply personal roots music in for a Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts presentation in Helzberg Hall, March 2014.

• Singer-songwriter-pianist John Legend giving a stripped-down, intimate concert in the Kauffman Center‘s Helzberg Hall, May 2014. (Click here for my blog post.)

Heartland Men’s Chorus‘s season finale Vegas, Baby was an extravaganza of fabulous proportions. It was fun to hear a Liberace impersonator play “The Beer Barrel Polka” on piano—a clear nod to our shared home state, Wisconsin! June 2014.

• I was moved by Randy Noojin’s Woody Guthrie retrospective, Hard Travelin’ with Woody, on this summer’s Kansas City Fringe Festival, July 2014.

• Also on the Kansas City Fringe Festival, Kevin King’s Bad Auditions lived up to the hype, clearly deserving of its Best of Venue award and extended run at the Fishtank, August 2014.

Read my list of top picks with more thoughts and direct links to individual reviews at KCMetropolis.org: Editor’s Picks 2013–14 season: Kristin

2014 kc fringe fest coverage

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Well, it’s been a crazy couple of weeks here at mylittleheartmelodies, starting July 18. I drove Nick out to Columbia for the Mizzou International Composers Festival, and as soon as I got back to Kansas City it was time for Fringe Fest! This year, Fringe’s 10th, I was ridiculously excited for some reason and wanted to beat my personal previous coverage records (3 in 2013, 4 in 2012, 3 in 2011). I did—a few times over, even! I saw 15 shows, reviewing 14 of them. I’m also really proud of KCMetropolis.org and my cohorts there—I believe we had some of the best coverage in the city. It was a great way to spend my week but there was no way I could do it all and keep up with my blog posts. Life is a little more back to normal for a while here, so expect to see more from me in the coming days!

Here’s a complete list of my reviews of Fringe Fest shows. Click the links to read the full text over on KCMetropolis.org!

quality hill playhouse + bbq

Hi guys, I normally share my KCMetropolis.org reviews on Wednesdays when they are published, but I was a little busy yesterday:

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ONOMONOMNOMONOM

This is a half-slab of ribs from the incomparable Oklahoma Joe’s in Kansas City, on the Kansas side. Wednesdays for dinner they have a burnt ends special, which my husband wanted for his birthday (yesterday). But I have serious trouble resisting the ribs!

In this week’s new issue of KCMetropolis.org I have one review, of a company I haven’t seen before: Quality Hill Playhouse. It has been putting on cabarets and revues for a quarter century, and this year in celebration of the 25th anniversary it’s reviving favorite shows from the past. This month’s revival is Rhapsody in Gershwin, which features standards from the Gershwin brothers’ oeuvre, mostly enduring songs from long-forgotten Broadway musicals and films from the 1930s. It was fun seeing my friend Brian on bass, and a few familiar actors’ faces!

Read my full review at KCMetropolis.org: Love reigns in Rhapsody

narek hakhnazaryan + hmc preview

KCMetropolis.orgHUGE new issue of KCMetropolis.org this week, and I have a couple of articles:

On Friday night I headed to the Folly Theater for the Harriman-Jewell Series latest Discovery Series presentation, cellist Narek Hakhnazaryan. He won the Gold Medal in the 2011 International Tchaikovsky Competition, which is a pretty big deal! Since then he’s been appearing as a featured soloist with tons of orchestras around the world, and it was a real treat to see him in an intimate recital setting. The repertoire was mostly Romantic—Beethoven, Schumann, Paganini—with one twentieth-century work by Shostakovich. I loved the encores too, by Arutunian and Tchaikovsky. It was a well programmed recital and I hope Harriman-Jewell brings him back on its main series!

I also conducted an interview with two members of the Heartland Men’s Chorus in anticipation of its upcoming production, I Am Harvey Milk at the Folly. Unfortunately I’m not sure I can make it to the shows, so I am glad to have talked about it with these two well spoken gentlemen! I’m sure it’s going to be an inspiring and moving performance.

Read my full articles at KCMetropolis.org: