Musician Spotlight – Janice White, Cello

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Janice White has been a music-lover all her life. As a young child she enjoyed singing. In third grade she began playing piano, and later she became a clarinet player in her school band. At home, she says, she “drove everyone nuts” playing orchestral music on the record player and practicing for performances.

In 8th grade Janice attended Old Mission Junior High. Old Mission was a newer school and was fortunate to have a range of new instruments available for students, including some that no student was yet able to play. Because her music teacher determined that her hands had a large enough spread for the job, Janice volunteered to take up playing bass (after just a moment of hesitation when she realized how big it was!).

Janice’s musical endeavors included not only school performances, but also performances with the Youth Symphony. It was the first year of the Symphony’s operation, and Janice had friends from music camp who were playing with the group. She learned that they were in need of a bass player, so she auditioned and was asked to join. The Youth Symphony included players from all across the metro. They played symphonies and other pieces, had a concerto competition, and played four concerts per year at local high schools and at the KC Music Hall at Municipal Auditorium. Janice says the symphony gave her the opportunity to enjoy a “higher level of playing.”

In college Janice added another instrument to her arsenal when she took up playing the cello. Then, in a world where women’s options were limited to being a teacher, nurse, or secretary, she chose to become a teacher as that profession aligned most closely with her love of music. She taught junior high orchestra, high school band, choir, and music theory.

Janice has now been teaching piano in the Kansas City area for 54 years; she has taught the children and grandchildren of some of her students! She also teaches cello and has taught clarinet, guitar, and bagpipes (but only the chanter!). She first joined the Kansas City Civic Orchestra in 1967. In 1973 she took a hiatus when her first child was born, then returned to KCCO in 1987.

In addition to serving as her vocation, music has afforded Janice the opportunity to perform in many different venues, learn different kinds of music, and meet a large, diverse group of friends. Janice can’t remember – or imagine – ever not having music in her life.

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Musician Spotlight – Mark Lauer, Bassoon

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Mark Lauer is a graduate of the University of Missouri Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance. (B.M Performance 2015) He is currently completing a Performer’s Certificate at UMKC while maintaining an active performance schedule as the principal bassoonist with the Kansas City Civic Orchestra, Philharmonia of Greater Kansas City, and the newly formed Southside Philharmonic (Jefferson City, Mo). In addition Mark is also a frequent performer with the Midwest Chamber Ensemble and Classical Revolution KC. Mark has performed with The Missouri Symphony Orchestra, The Arkansas Philharmonic, The symphony of Northwest Arkansas and The Black House Collective. He has also held positions with The Heritage Philharmonic (Independence, Mo) and the Jefferson City Symphony Orchestra. Mark has spent two summers playing in the Taneycomo Festival Orchestra in Branson, Missouri.

In 2015 Mark was a winner of the Kansas City Musical Clubs Scholarship competition, received an honorable mention at the SAI Scholarship competition and was a Finalist in the UMKC Concerto Aria competition performing Carl Maria von Weber’s Concerto for Bassoon. Mark is a two time Runner up at the Missouri Music Teachers Association state collegiate competition (2013, 2014). Mark has collaborated with several local Kansas City Performers and appears on the albums “Kamikaze” (Claire and the Crowded Stage), “In the Blue” (Claire and the Classical revolution) and “Moons and Meltdowns” (Teri Quinn).

In 2016 Mark was awarded an Inspiration Grant from Arts KC, Kansas City’s regional arts council, to fund the release of his debut album, “Muses and Mavericks”. The album features five new works written by Kansas City composers and is set to be released in May of 2017.

Mark has studied bassoon with Marita Abner and Dr. Steven Houser.

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