Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Yeazel prepares to retire after almost 30 years at KCKCC

KANSAS CITY, KAN. ----- Bill Yeazel came into his position as director of Kansas City Kansas Community College’s Performing Arts Center in a unique way.

As a student at KCKCC in the 1980s, Yeazel applied for a position in the newly created electronics technology department. Though he did not get that position, he accepted a position in the Media Services Department, which ultimately paved his path to his current position in the PAC. But after 28 years at KCKCC, the fall 2013 semester will be Yeazel’s last.

“I really like my job,” he said. “I have been a very lucky guy to be able to work here all these years. However, I think the time has come to retire.”

A graduate of Wyandotte High School, Yeazel was born and raised in Kansas City, Kan. After spending 11 years as a production coordinator in Media Services, he became director of the performing arts center in 1996. Among his responsibilities are coordinating and scheduling events, being a community liaison and overseeing the day-to-day operation of the facility.

“We have had some fairly controversial programs in there, not so family-friendly,” he said of the variety of programs that have been in the performing arts center over the years. “But what I think I will miss most are the relationships I have formed with the people, both at KCKCC and within the community. Some of our programs come every year, and I have become friends with many of those groups.”

Dedicated in 1977 as a cultural and educational meeting place, numerous types of groups have used the performing arts center including churches, thespian groups and musicians. One of Yeazel’s favorite events is the annual Candlelighting Ceremony, held every year at the beginning of December. He said he has also gotten the opportunity to work with many people who simply had no idea what kind of program they wanted. In these situations, Yeazel was able to spend time with them to figure out what they wanted to do and how they could do that with their resources.

“Sometimes we would have to piece it together because they had an idea, but no background as to how to put on a quality show,” he said. “We had to work together to do something they were capable of doing.”

Yeazel said he has no concrete plans as to what he will do in retirement. He said he would like to continue traveling, a hobby he describes as “his thing.” That includes traveling to Havana, Cuba in December 2014 with the KCKCC Jazz Band.

“I have been to Cuba a couple of times, so I will be helping to promote that trip,” he said. “There are a couple of places on other continents I would like to get back to. But in the beginning, I want to breathe free air for a while.”

With Yeazel’s retirement, operations of the performing arts center will be handled by the Humanities Department. For more information on availability or to schedule an event, call 913-288-7134.