by Graciela Becerra
Every semester, the college hosts seven performances by Kansas City jazz musicians in what is known as the Jazz Recital Series.
This semester, the Jazz Series began March 1 and continue every Tuesday until April 12.
Doreen Maronde, now a retired volunteer for the college, began the series when she was assistant dean of arts and humanities.
“The whole idea for it started in 1989 and it was started because we needed to put something in the Recital Hall,” said Maronde.
Initially, the Jazz Series and Ruel Joyce Series were one but got separated into two several years later.
“There was so many fine jazz musicians and we had a big audience coming for the jazz,” she said.
Maronde’s goals for the series included attracting high-caliber jazz musicians to the city to perform for students.
“My vision was that we would get some of the best [jazz musicians] of Kansas City out here performing for us,” said Maronde. “I wanted to bring them out here where students … can hear them. I wanted it to be free, and I wanted it to be open to everyone.”
As a volunteer, Maronde continues to run the Jazz Series. When selecting musicians for the series, she often gets suggestions from performers and audience members in addition to doing her own searches.
“I do get out to hear the jazz players a lot at night,” she said. “I always try to choose very good musicians, I try to choose a variety. I look at the certain style and … I try to anticipate the audience.”
The Jazz Series is very open and people can come in and out respectfully, according to Maronde.
“I’ve had people who are waiting for a bus to come and sit down and wait and listen out in the Carlsen Center lobby,” she said.
The audience for the Jazz Series has primarily been composed of community members, but Maronde stressed the importance of student attendance.
“Students are always invited,” she said. “And I wish more would come because the ones who come come back again and say it was great. They just didn’t know what it was like, and some of them aren’t even aware … that we have it and that it’s free.”
Maronde explained that an exposure to jazz music might be interesting to students who haven’t heard much of the genre.
“I would welcome [students] so much,” she said. “And I think they would hear music, certainly out of Western traditions. … We’re very interested in bringing in good experiences for the students.”
Performances are at noon every Tuesday in the Polsky Theatre or Recital Hall. They are free and last 50 minutes. Seating is on first-come, first-seated basis.
Jazz Series Schedule:
Ben Leifer Quartet
Megan Birdsall Quartet
Kansas City Jazz Collective
Bram Wijnands Trio
Doug Talley, tenor saxophone
Rod Fleeman, guitar
Charles Williams Trio
Max Groove Trio