LAWRENCE – Get ready for a cool Yule when KPR presents A Big Band Christmas, a concert of holiday favorites served up by the Kansas City Jazz Orchestra.
Kansas Public Radio will present the Kansas City Jazz Orchestra in concert at 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10, at Liberty Hall in downtown Lawrence. Tickets are $15.50 on sale at the Liberty Hall box office or at Ticketmaster.
This year’s concert features vocalist Kevin Mahogany, a Kansas City native who has become one of the most highly regarded male vocalists in jazz. Newsweek describes him as “the standout jazz vocalist of his generation.” New Yorker magazine writer Whitney Balliett writes, “There is little Mahogany cannot do,” and the L.A. Times said, “Mahogany is one of the first truly gifted male vocalists to emerge in years.” Although his Kansas City roots and enormous voice invite comparisons to Big Joe Turner, Mahogany has more recently achieved acclaim for his tributes to refined vocalist Johnny Hartman.
Formed in 2003, the Kansas City Jazz Orchestra allows many of the region’s greatest jazz musicians to perform big band jazz in a concert setting. The 2011-12 concert season is KCJO’s first under the direction of Kerry Strayer, one of Kansas City's most respected musicians and bandleaders and the former music director of the Plaza lighting ceremony.
“We wanted to make this concert a holiday tradition,” KPR General Manager Janet Campbell said. “This is our third year, and we’ve had great listener and community support. The addition of Kevin (Mahogany) to the concert will make it a special event for everyone who attends.”
A dance floor will be available – and dancing encouraged. Yuletide cocktails can be purchased.
The KCJO will perform classic and familiar Christmas repertoire, including “Do You Hear What I Hear?,” “The Christmas Song,” “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” “Let It Snow,” “Sleigh Ride” and “Silent Night.”
All the KCJO’s musicianship and swinging beats will be on display Saturday, Dec. 10, at Liberty Hall. Bring your dancing shoes.
KPR, licensed to the University of Kansas, broadcasts on 91.5 FM in Lawrence, 89.7 FM in Emporia, 91.3 FM in Olsburg-Junction City, 89.9 FM in Atchison, 90.3 FM in Chanute, and 99.5 FM and 97.9 FM in Manhattan. KPR can be heard on the Internet at kpr.ku.edu. KPR also operates KPR2, a news-talk channel on HD Radio. Those broadcasts can be heard on an HD receiver or on KPR’s website.