Please note changes to performances and events due to COVID-19. For updates, refer to kauffmancenter.org/coronavirus.

Staying connected with Kauffman Center Ensemble members

Bringing the music to you

Kansas City native Vanessa Thomas wows Ensemble members on the stage of Muriel Kauffman Theatre with her five-octave vocal range. Photo by Ellie Fehlig.

The Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts has been exploring new and creative virtual ways to connect with Kauffman Center patrons, members, volunteers and donors while our stages have been dark.

Three times a year, we invite Kauffman Center Ensemble business members to the Center for a PNC Pop-Up, a unique networking opportunity and surprise musical performance from a local up-and-coming artist.  Previous PNC Pop-Up artists have included Calvin Arsenia, Eboni Fondren, Beau Bledsoe and Kelly Hunt.

Ukulele loop artist Eems blends styles from pop and dance to hip-hop and folk in Brandmeyer Great Hall. Photo by Don Ipock.

With the postponement of all activity at the Center, including PNC Pop-Ups, we set out to find a way to bring the event online and into your living rooms. We created PNC Pop-Up: At Home Edition.  Several Ensemble members contributed a mix of their favorite local and national artists to include in an e-blast sent out to all members. From Pink Martini and U2, to Young the Giant and Tim McGraw, members shared an eclectic range of songs that inspire them while working from home. We included links to YouTube videos where members could watch recorded concerts of these artists.

“We play music outside by the fire each night to decompress and try to enjoy the world slowing down for a bit.” – Melissa Lavin-Hickey, Principal & Director of Corporate Marketing for Burns & McDonnell

“The first time I saw Pink Martini live at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, I became a forever fan!” – Jill McCarthy, Senior Executive of Corporate Attraction for Kansas City Area Development Council

Ensemble business members and special guests listen to local Americana musicians Barnaby Bright on the stage of Helzberg Hall. Photo by Don Ipock.

With this e-blast of virtual musical performances, we brought the power of the performing arts straight to our Ensemble members’ homes as a reminder of how the arts connect us with one another through these unprecedented times.

The Ensemble business membership program empowers the Kauffman Center’s vision by bringing together Kansas City metro area companies who value a thriving, creative and innovative economy. We do this by connecting members, their clients and employees to inspiring activities and performances at the Kauffman Center throughout the year. To learn more, please visit kauffmancenter.org/ensemble.

Thank you to PNC Bank for sponsoring the Ensemble Business Membership program.

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Annual Future Stages Festival goes virtual

Photo by Jessica Gebhards

Summer in Kansas City is synonymous with plenty of family-friendly activities, but none more so than Future Stages Festival at the Kauffman Center. Each summer since 2014, the Kauffman Center has showcased hundreds of youth performance groups in the Kansas City area and welcomed more than 30,000 guests to enjoy exciting acts and dozens of kid-friendly activities.

When the 2020 Future Stages Festival was canceled due to COVID-19 and the Center couldn’t welcome guests and performers back into its iconic spaces, it was time to find an innovative and engaging way to ensure the show would go on.

In just two short months, the Kauffman Center crafted a virtual experience that maintained the charm and impact of the festival. The newly adapted event featured a full day of captivating performance videos, youth-friendly creative activities and original livestreamed content, including a Q&A with a Kansas City Ballet dancer, Kansas City Symphony musician and a local actor.

Hundreds of youth performers in more than 35 entertaining and compelling groups took to the virtual stage. The acts ranged from cultural dance groups to orchestras, percussion bands to choirs and more! Some of the most viewed videos from the festival include Crescendo in Motion, K Company’s Lion King and Hamilton Excerpts, Caruthers Creative Center Dance Studio, HK Chinese Folk Dance Group and Kamryn Henderson’s Vocal Performance.

More than 20 community partners contributed do-it-at-home craft and activity content, including how-to videos, coloring sheets and instructions to “Make your Own Kauffman Center Toy Theater.” Movement and Dance Demonstrations from Kansas City Ballet, Story Time with the Kansas City Public Library and Lessons on Stage Combat with Heart of America Shakespeare Festival are just a few of the videos that garnered dozens of views throughout the festival day.

Caruthers Dance Studios during the 2019 Future Stages Festival – Photo by Ju-Young Morimot

Crescendo in Motion during the 2019 Future Stages Festival  – Photo by Aaron Mason

Kauffman Center staff members also shared their talents by creating content for the festival. Susan Campain shared instructions for no-sew crafts, Donna Miller-Brown showed viewers how to make creative 3D paper constructions and Don Hovis gave festival-goers a better understanding of how the Kauffman Center’s Fly System is used to “fly” set pieces on and off stage. These are only a few of the staff-created videos available online.

Livestreamed content was especially popular during virtual Future Stages Festival. Kauffman Center staff members took attendees on virtual tours of the Kauffman Center’s front-of-house and back-of-house spaces, and shared little-known facts about the Center. From the strength of the windows in Brandmeyer Great Hall to how giant sets are taken on and off stage, these live tours covered it all.​

Don Hovis teaches patrons about the Muriel Kauffman Theatre fly system in a video demonstration

Interview featuring KC Ballet dancer Fiona Lee, KC Symphony Associate Principal Flutist Shannon Finney and KC actor Chioma Anyanwu

In addition, the Kauffman Center hosted a live Q&A panel with Kansas City Ballet dancer Fiona Lee, Kansas City Symphony Associate Principal Flutist Shannon Finney and Kansas City actor Chioma Anyanwu. These four livestreams were widely enjoyed by festival-goers. Views for these videos are increasing daily, with more than 13,300 views! The four live conversations are still available for viewing on the Kauffman Center’s Facebook page.

Our commitment to support and celebrate talented young artists in the Kansas City Metropolitan area doesn’t stop here. Whether online or in person, the Kauffman Center will continue to shine a spotlight on local young talent and provide an outlet to explore artistic ambitions.

If you missed virtual Future Stages Festival event, don’t worry, content is still available on the Kauffman Center’s website and Facebook page You can complete a short survey about your experience, and if you like what you see, please consider making a donation at kauffmancenter.org/give.

Future Stages Festival is presented by Premier Partner Saint Luke’s Health System


This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts

Additional support provided by

Courtney S. Turner Charitable Trust, John H. Mize Jr. and Bank of America, NA, Trustees

           

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Look for the Blue Vest

Volunteers are Vital to Kauffman Center’s Success

Volunteer Terri Curran pumps up students during a recent school matinee. On average, there are more than 30 school matinees each year that require volunteer support. Photo by Brittany Zarco

On average, more than 500 volunteers contribute 51,000 hours annually to the Center. While most volunteers do not have formal customer service experience, their diverse backgrounds, cultures and previous professions create an inclusive and friendly environment. Around every corner is a smiling face and helping hand. Volunteers are easy to spot in their iconic blue vests, and they carry out a variety of tasks at performances, from taking tickets to greeting guests, to assisting with security screenings.

When asked why he chose to begin volunteering at the Kauffman Center Mark Gardner said, “…because the arts are a vital part of a thriving Kansas City, and I want to help. I love and look forward to working with the staff, the volunteers … where else can you have such a memorable impact on so many people in an evening? It is quite amazing!”

Howard Pitler, Mark Dickerson, Mark Gardner and Dennis Connor have some fun during the holiday season. In December alone, volunteers work an average of 5 shifts for a total of more than 1,900 shifts worked. Photo by Jenny DeFreece

About 60 volunteers are needed to help run each performance, and often the Kauffman Center will have two performances running simultaneously, requiring even more volunteer support. Events are scheduled around the clock, including daytime matinees and evening, weekday and weekend performances, providing volunteer opportunities that fit every schedule. Volunteers who work at least 15 shifts a year are considered “active” members meaning that they are invited to attend special events and receive additional perks throughout the season.

One of the perks granted to active volunteers is an invitation to the annual Volunteer Ice Cream Social and Trivia Night, which takes place during Volunteer Appreciation Month in April. At this event, volunteers are treated to snacks, games and prizes. Prizes, donated by local businesses, can vary from gift cards, to concert/sporting tickets, to memberships to local attractions. Additionally, each summer, a Volunteer Recognition Event is held, and five volunteers who exhibited the highest level of professional, positive and exceptional customer service that season are awarded the Kauffman Spirit Award. These individuals will have made a significant contribution to our mission to “create devoted constituents and enhance the satisfaction for all who come to the Kauffman Center.” They are recognized for serving each patron with dignity and respect. Chairman of the Kauffman Center Board, Julia Irene Kauffman, presents this award annually and to date has bestowed the award to 40 deserving volunteers.

Kauffman Spirit Award winners with Chairman of the Board Julia Irene Kauffman and President & CEO Paul Schofer. (Left to right) Jennifer Wehmeyer, Mark Gardner, Julia Irene Kauffman, Carolyn Curtis, Nancy Rhoades, Phil Caldarella and Paul Schofer. Photo by David Riffel

“Receiving one of the Kauffman Spirit Awards was truly one of the highlights of my life,” said 2019 Kauffman Spirit Award Winner Phil Caldarella. “To be recognized for my service at the Kauffman Center with this prestigious award was a true blessing and honor. It is a reflection of my job in making the Kauffman Center patron experience the best that it can be. Being recognized in front of my fellow volunteers, the team captains, the team leads, the patron services team and the executive staff is something I will always treasure. Finally, to have this award presented to me by our distinguished Chairman of the Board, Julia Irene Kauffman, made it even more special and rewarding. I am truly blessed to be a part of the Kauffman Center family.”

The dedication displayed by volunteers is astounding, and the Kauffman Center distinguishes its volunteers by the total number of hours an individual has donated to the Center. There are six levels:

  • Active (less than 100 hours) – currently 90 volunteers at this level
  • Bronze (100 volunteer hours) – currently 108 volunteers at this level
  • Silver (250 volunteer hours) – currently 124 volunteers at this level
  • Gold (500 volunteer hours) – currently 84 volunteers at this level
  • Royal (1,000 volunteer hours) – currently 86 volunteers at this level
  • Diamond (2,500+ volunteer hours) – currently 11 volunteers at this level

Members who have devoted thousands of hours to the Center are honored with additional perks. Royal Volunteers get their name added on a plaque displayed in the volunteer office and are invited to a special reception before the Volunteer Recognition Event in July. Volunteers who reach Diamond status are given a “performance night out” package including two tickets to a performance, valet parking, dinner for two, a meet and greet with a performer, and two complimentary Kauffman bar beverages. In addition, every fall, the Kauffman Center hosts a luncheon for volunteers who have been with the Center for five seasons.

A group of volunteers show their KC pride during the Chiefs’ Super Bowl run in January 2020. Photo by Jenny DeFreece

Volunteer recruitment takes place once a year. Applicants must be 18 years of age or older, should be comfortable working with a variety of individuals and be able to treat all volunteers, team members and guests with dignity and respect at all times. If you are interested in applying to become a volunteer, please email volunteer@kauffmancenter.org to be placed on the contact list and have an application emailed directly to you. Or visit the volunteer page on the Kauffman Center website.

The Kauffman Center is thankful for all the hard work volunteers put into making a visit to the Center memorable for patrons each season. Their smiling faces and warm personalities are instrumental in providing a welcoming and inclusive environment for all who visit the Center. As the Kauffman Center approaches its 10-year anniversary, it is evident that our volunteers are indispensable to the Center’s success.

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Kauffman Center Internships Offer Students Real-World Experience in Non-Profit Arts Management

Learn the Inside Scoop on Kauffman Center Internships from Current Spring Interns

Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts furthers its mission by creating enriching opportunities for students and aspiring arts professionals to learn career skills and connect with those in the Kansas City arts community. Through the Open Doors Spotlight on Youth initiative, the Kauffman Center offers internship opportunities throughout the year to current college students and recent graduates. Interns have the chance to work directly with Kauffman Center staff to gain valuable hands-on experience. Interns also have access to networking and professional development as well as a chance to grow and strengthen their portfolio. 

This summer, Kauffman Center internships will be available in Facilities Management, Marketing & Community Outreach and Marketing & Public Relations. The deadline to apply for a Kauffman Center summer internship is Wednesday, April 1, 2020. 

For more information and to apply, visit kauffmancenter.org/internships.

Meet Brittany, Corey, and Sydney – Spring Kauffman Center Interns

Brittany, Corey, and Sydney (from left to right)

Brittany, our current Volunteer Management intern, is a senior pursuing a degree in Marketing and Business Administration at the University of Kansas. Brittany collaborates on projects surrounding the annual volunteer appreciation month. She assists with logistics for Kauffman Center volunteer events, whether that be budgeting, decorating or building community relations for potential in-kind donations. Brittany said she enjoys working with her direct supervisors, as well as Kauffman Center volunteersto better serve the community. 

 “I love working with a company that prioritizes community as an integral part of company culture, Brittany said. The Kauffman Center is a hub for creatives throughout the metropolitan area to come together in support of the arts.” 

Marketing and Community Outreach intern, Corey, is also a senior studying Business Marketing at the University of Kansas. His internship activities include generating social media content, researching organizations for grassroots marketing campaigns and assisting with the preparation for the 7th Annual Future Stages Festival.  

“I highly recommend the Kauffman Center Internship Program for college students and recent graduates,” he said. This program allows you to learn from industry professionals, share your ideas in a professional environment and build your portfolio and resume with various writing projects.”  

He said he believes his internship experience at the Kauffman Center will enable him to be competitive in the job market post-graduation. 

Sydney, the Kauffman Center’s spring Marketing and Public Relations intern, is a senior majoring in Public Relations at the University of Central Missouri. She writes press releases, blog posts and social media content. Sydney also plans pre-show engagement activities and helps lead grassroots marketing campaigns. She says the most rewarding thing about working at the Kauffman Center as an intern is that she has gotten to be a part of a real team in the professional world.  

“Everyone welcomed me in from day one, and I have not stopped learning and taking on new tasks ever since,” Sydney said 

The Kauffman Center allows interns like Sydney to learn and grow in a positive work culture and fast-paced environment.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Kauffman Center internships

On March 5,
 2020, Corey and Sydney took over the Kauffman Center Instagram account and answered questions about what it’s like being an intern at the Kauffman Center. Below are some of the most frequently asked questions they received. 

Q: What kind of qualifications stand out on a resume?   

A: Whenever you’re applying to a Kauffman Center internship, make sure your significant and relevant experience aligns with the position for which you’re applying. An ideal candidate is flexible, willing to learn, dependable, detail-oriented and self-starting. The Kauffman Center also looks for individuals who have strong written and verbal communication skills with confidence in proofreading abilities. 

Q: Are internships at the Kauffman Center geared more towards students who have more experience in the field?  

A: The Kauffman Center welcomes students at all experience levels. Staff members are happy to tailor projects and tasks accordingly, as long as they meet the goals of each intern as well as the Kauffman Center’s goals for that specific internship. 

Q: What was the interview process? Any tips for a successful interview?  

A: First round interviews for chosen applicants generally are conducted over the phone with the Kauffman Center’s Community Outreach Supervisor. Selected applicants will have a second-round interview at the Kauffman Center with the direct supervisors for the internship. Occasionally, when needed, second round interviews are also conducted via video chat. It’s always important to do your research on the Kauffman Center and the internship you’ve applied for. Also, come with questions to ask the interviewers and be genuine every step of the way. 

Q: How long does the internship last? How many hours a week is the internship commitment?  

A: Kauffman Center internships generally last 3-4 months, depending on the season. A summer internship will last from mid-May to mid-August. The internship commitment is about 16 hours during the workweek, with some flexibility for select evening and weekend events. Interns will work directly with their Kauffman Center supervisor on the best weekly schedule for their needs.  

Q: What is the compensation for the internship?

A: Kauffman Center internships are unpaid, but staff members are happy to help arrange course credit for interns through your college or university.

Apply today for a summer internship opportunity!

The deadline to apply for a Kauffman Center summer internship is 
Wednesday, April 1, 2020. Make your mark right here at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts and get ready for an unforgettable internship experience!  

For more information and to apply, visit kauffmancenter.org/internships.

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GRAMMY-nominated Country Music Icon Coming to the Kauffman Center

Martina McBride to Perform in Muriel Kauffman Theatre this April
Martina McBride has sung her way to the top of the charts with six No. 1 hits and has sold more than 18 million albums since her rise to fame began in 1993. McBride will bring her repertoire of country hits to the Kauffman Center on April 2, 2020.

In 2017, McBride celebrated her 25th year of touring, and she certainly has something to show for it. McBride has secured fourteen Gold, nine Platinum, three Double Platinum and two Triple Platinum certifications after she released hit albums such as Wild Angels and Evolution. McBride has been nominated for and received a multitude of awards including four wins from the Country Music Association and three Academy of Country Music Awards for Female Vocalist of the Year. She has also earned the honor of performing on some of the biggest stages in music including the GRAMMYs and CMAs.

This midwestern native turned superstar got her humble beginnings on a dairy farm in Sharon, KS. Her father played in a local band, and it did not take long for McBride to join in playing keyboard and singing with other members of her family at local shows. After realizing college was not her calling, she met and married sound engineer John McBride, and the couple moved to Nashville to pursue their dreams. Martina McBride struck gold when legendary country star Garth Brooks took a liking to her. With his promotional assistance, she scored a record deal with RCA. Her second album, The Way that I Am, was a hit hosting two top ten singles.

McBride continued to make music over the years, while she also expanded her reach into the world of food. McBride has released two cookbooks titled, Around the Table and Martina’s Kitchen Mix: My Recipe Playlist for Real Life. These books allowed McBride to showcase her love and talent for cooking, hosting and decorating for the perfect dinner party.

McBride has inspired many as she developed her Team Music is Love charity initiative. This initiative focuses on fundraising and volunteer projects that support causes such as hunger relief, cancer research, combating domestic violence and helping children in need. McBride has been awarded the Covenant House Beacon of Hope Award and Music Business Association’s prestigious Harry Chapin Memorial Humanitarian Award for her philanthropic efforts on behalf of domestic violence.

Tickets for this must-see performance range from $39 to $119, plus applicable fees. Tickets can be purchased at the Kauffman Center Box Office, by calling 816.994.7222, or online at kauffmancenter.org.

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