Thursday March 10th - 9:45am
RSS Jazz: The Black Misunderstanding: Improving African American Historical & Performance Practice
In our vocal jazz ensembles, we often neglect to connect our repertoire and our teaching to the African-American roots from which the music came. This session will provide valuable historical context and ideas for helping our singers and players make these connections, so that our performances can honor the traditions of black music that we love but often misunderstand.
John Stafford II is the Associate Professor of Music, Director of Choral Activities, and Co-Coordinator of the Music Department at Kansas City Kansas Community College (KCKCC). Professor Stafford was a 2015 recipient of the John & Suanne Roueche Excellence Award for outstanding teaching and leadership at the community college level. Also, Stafford was the recipient of the Henry Louis Award for Teaching Excellence at KCKCC in 2020 (KCKCC’s Faculty of the Year award). He holds degrees from Millikin University, Bowling Green State University, and has done additional doctoral studies at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Since 2014, Professor Stafford has served as the Choral Director of Community Christian Church (architecture by Frank Lloyd Wright) in Kansas City, MO.
Professor Stafford directs The Standard, the award-winning contemporary vocal jazz ensemble from Kansas City Kansas Community College. They have been invited to perform at the national conferences of the Jazz Education Network, the American Choral Directors Association, the National Association for Music Education and the Southwestern Divisional Conference of the American Choral Directors Association. Within the last five years, members of The Standard have won thirteen DownBeat Magazine Student Music Awards. The group has shared the stage with such highly acclaimed artists as Take 6, New York Voices, m-pact and Carmen Bradford.