Friday, April 4, 2014

KCKCC Jazz Band raising money for Cuba trip

KANSAS CITY, KAN. ----- It might be months away, but the Kansas City Kansas Community College Jazz Band is ramping up fundraising efforts for its trip to the 2014 Havana International Jazz Festival later this year.

“This is a bonafide once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our students,” said Jim Mair, professor of music and director of instrumental studies at KCKCC. “They will see the sights and hear sounds that can only be heard in Cuba. Authentic, non-pretentious and real.”

The KCKCC Jazz Band was invited to perform at the 2014 Havana International Jazz Festival in Havana, Cuba last fall. The festival is Dec. 17 to 22. The band was invited based on its long reputation as one of the premiere community college jazz ensembles in the nation.

The Havana International Jazz Festival started in 1978 when Bobby Carcasses and other Cuban jazz musicians had a concert at the Case de la Cultura de Plaza.

The following year, Chucho Valdes, now the president of the festival’s organizing committee, gave another concert. Those yearly concerts morphed into the festival as it is known today.

In addition to attending the festival, the jazz band will have the opportunity to take a guided tour of the UNESCO World Heritage Site and the Havana Historical Centre; tour Cuba’s National Museum of Fine Arts; visit the Institute Superior de Arte, the country’s top art academy; explore Finca Vigia, where Ernest Hemingway lived for more than 20 years; enjoy tap dancing and live jazz music at Pena de Santa Amalia and learn about the Cuban culture. Any U.S. citizen is allowed to travel to the small country with the appropriate license.

Donations are currently being accepted to help the KCKCC Jazz Band with the approximately $60,000 of travel expenses.

Checks can be made payable to KCKCC with “Cuba Trip” written in the memo area. These can be given directly to Mair or Patrick McCartney in the KCKCC Endowment Office for a tax write-off option. Other future fundraisers include selling merchandise at the Jazz Summit, church concerts, a big band dance and donations from the monthly Jazz by the Lake event.

The trip is also open to those within the Wyandotte and Kansas City area community.

Those who are interested in traveling with the jazz band are responsible for their own expenses and travel costs. Mair said he has received about 20 requests for information from interested community members.

For more information on the KCKCC Jazz Band’s invitation to the 2014 Havana International Jazz Festival and on the group’s fundraising efforts, contact Jim Mair at or call 913-288-7149.

Community members interested in traveling with the band should contact Bill Yeazel at