The Mid America Freedom Band prepares for its annual holiday concert, at 2 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 14 at the World War I Memorial Museum beneath the Liberty Memorial obelisk in midtown Kansas City, Missouri with a program of holiday favorites and special music–especially targeted for the younger attendees– from Disney’s Frozen.
Conductor and artistic director, Lee Harman said on Tuesday, Nov. 25 that the band, comprised mostly of gay musicians continues to grow and perform with this being its 12 season. Currently, he said the band numbers about 70 musicians, mostly gay, but about 25 percent are straight.
“Our holiday concert, ‘Frozen Fantasia’ is a delightful program of holiday music with a twist,” Hartman said. “Classic tunes like ‘Silent Night,’ ‘We Three Kings,’ ‘Joy to the World,’ and ‘Here Comes Santa Claus’ are re-imagined in new and interesting ways. My personal favorite is ‘Minor Alterations’ by David Lovrien. He took popular carol melodies and changed the tonality to minor. It’s a whimsical piece, and I hope the audience will enjoy it as much as we do. We’re also giving the world premiere of Daniel Elder’s ‘Fantasia’ and the premiere of the wind ensemble arrangement of Greg Bartholomew’s ‘Far North Land.’ I’m sure it’s going to be highlights from the ‘Frozen’ soundtrack that the kids will like the most though.”
MAFB provides opportunities for instrumental music lovers to share their passion of performance with the diverse community of Kansas City, Hartman said. MAFB strives for excellence while promoting equality, fostering education and celebrating the joy shared through music, he said. Concerts are free to the public.
“As artistic director, I chose what we perform. I’m a huge planner and programming nerd; I have through spring 2018 already mapped out for us. Occasionally I’ll give the ensemble a choice between two or three pieces if I have no strong preference one way or the other. I always try to program at least one LGBT composer on every concert and at least two premieres per season,” Hartman said.
For each program, the musical selections contain a balance of standard repertoire works and lighter fare like Broadway tunes and movie scores. Hartman said that the MAFB contain a wide range for skill level from beginner to professional musicians so he chooses music that challenges the newest musicians yet still gives satisfaction to the professionals.
“We’ll tackle two or three advanced works a season because as a group we can collectively sightread at just above medium level,” he said. That allows newer musicians to work beside advanced artists and grow alongside.
Tickets to concert band performances are ‘name-your-price,’ even if that price is free, Hartman said. The MAFB never wants to turn anyone away because he or she can’t afford a ticket. The Mighty Mo Combo tickets vary depending on the gig.
As a non-profit organization, we raise money through generous tax-deductible donations, grants, and a variety of fund-raisers. Several upcoming fund-raising events include a trivia night on Dec. 10 at Charlie Hooper’s hosted by Geeks Who Drink and also a drag queen bingo at Hamburger Mary’s on Jan. 28, 2015.
“We also have a cheeky 2015 calendar that features the sexy studs and vivacious vixens of MAFB in various tasteful states of undress. We’re calling it the 2015 MAFB CENSORED Calendar. The pre-sale response has been extraordinary! Calendars may be purchased through the MAFB website. For each concert we also assemble gift baskets that are then raffled off.
Hartman announced the details of the Holiday concert as follows: Frozen Fantasia
Sunday, Dec. 14 at 2 p.m. in the JC Nichols Auditorium, National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial. Tickets may be purchased through Brown Paper Tickets website.
“We can’t let it go either! The lovely and talented Idina Menzel (or Adele Dazeem as John Travolta knows her) inspires the holiday concert of fantastic fantasias and the hot-off-the-presses medley from the pen of the newly minted EGOTer Robert Lopez and his hit Disney musical, Frozen. Daniel Elder’s ‘Fantasia’ receives its world premiere and Greg Bartholomew’s ‘Far North Land’ gets its US premiere in this new band arrangement. Reaching back the the Baroque era, MAFB performs Bach’s ‘Fantasia in G’ in Richard Franko Goldman’s famous arrangement as well as fantasias on the popular carols ‘Silent Night’ and ‘We Three Kings.’ It wouldn’t be a holiday concert without Leroy Anderson’s ‘Sleigh Ride.’
“Joining these popular tunes are the medleys Randall Strandridge’s ‘Yuletide Festival’ and Bob Krogstadt’s ‘Bells of Christmas. But it’s David Lovrien’s ‘Minor Alterations’ that will have you giggling as this demented arrangement puts your favorite holiday selections in minor tonalities,” Hartman said.