Kansas City Kansas Community College recently won a grant award from the prestigious National Endowment for the Humanities. KCKCC was the only college in Kansas to receive the grant after a competitive review process.
KCKCC will use the award to present several films over the next few months starting with “A Film History of America’s Popular Music – From Blues to Bluegrass to Broadway.” The film series resumes at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 26, at the West Wyandotte Library 1737 N. 82nd St. All sessions run 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the West Wyandotte Library auditorium.
"Although last spring's attendance suffered from unseasonably late snowstorms, audience were engaged and enthusiastic," said project scholar, Cherilee Walker, dean of humanities and fine arts. "Dr. Marvin Hunt, dean of business and continuing education at KCKCC, himself a local blues guitarist, let participants try his slide guitar during one session. In another, actress Breanna Swatzell performed several selections from the Broadway songbook."
The September event will feature fiddler-singer Betse Ellis, co-founder of The Wilders, an internationally-touring acoustic string band. As a soloist, Betse has also presented informative demonstrations to elementary school students through Young Audiences and has moderated fiddle style panels in conference settings, such as Folk Alliance International. She will be joined by guitarist-singer Chad Brothers, member of the bands Old Sound and Wells the Traveler.
Mike Pettengell, member of the English faculty at KCKCC and a chamber music host on KKFI, will serve as master of ceremonies for the evening.
Each session features a documentary film on the style with its cultural significance from the Tribeca Film Institute, discussions putting the various types of popular music into historical context, and performances by local artists. The remaining presentations of the series include Bluegrass, Sept. 26; Rock, Oct. 24; and Mambo and Hip Hop, Nov. 21
Kansas City Kansas Community College is joined in partnership for the grant by West Wyandotte Library and El Centro Inc.; national sponsors include the American Library Association, Tribeca Film Institute and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
- Story from Jim Beechwood, KCKCC