Jennifer Mitchell

Jennifer Mitchell is a former strings teacher, long-time member of KCCO,
and outreach program rockstar!

A love that began in kindergarten…

My love for the violin began in Kindergarten after hearing a 1st grader perform “Twinkle, Twinkle”.  We lived in Clay Center, Ks at the time, and were lucky to find a wonderful Suzuki teacher right away.

When my family moved to Kansas City in 1969, I began taking lessons from Tiberius Klausner and became a member of the KC Youth Symphony, eventually becoming the Concert Mistress.

In 1975, the Kansas City Civic Orchestra gave me a full scholarship to attend the UMKC Conservatory and I have been a member of KCCO ever since, minus a couple years when my kids were born.

Upon graduation from UMKC, I became an elementary strings teacher in Shawnee Mission East Area for 36 years.  Following my retirement, I helped create the KCCO Outreach program.  It has been an AMAZING experience as part of the elementary Outreach team playing for over 13,00 students on both sides of the state line.  I also enjoy playing 50-minute programs each month for seniors at six different assisted and memory centers who are no longer able to attend live performances. 

Then came COVID 19.

While I REALLY missed playing for elementary students this year, I was able to move my outreach program OUTSIDE and continue playing for seniors during spring, summer and fall.  Being part of KCCO’s “Civic in the City” was another amazing opportunity to perform in front of live audiences who were as excited to hear live music as I was to share it with them.

Currently I continue to perform for seniors via Facebook Messenger and am looking forward to more opportunities to play this spring as the weather warms up.

Musician Spotlight – Keith Stanfield

Keith Stanfield is KCCO’s Concertmaster and a featured artist for our September 28, 2019 concert. As a member of the Opus 76 Quartet, Keith performs over 40 Quartet concerts a year, and has recently recorded two Quartets by living composers David Izzard and Mike Moreland, as well as a quartet by Franz Josef Haydn. Recordings of quartets by Mozart, Beethoven and Haydn, as well as a complete cycle of Beethoven quartets will take place in 2019. 

Outside of the quartet, Keith made recordings of Mozart Violin Concertos 3 & 4 and works by Johan Sebastian Bach for solo violin (available on iTunes). Concerto performances with orchestra for the 2019/20 season include Mozart’s “Sinfonia Concertante” and Beethoven’s violin concerto. Keith has won positions at a number of orchestras. He is currently Concertmaster of the Kansas City Civic Orchestra, the Kinnor Philharmonic Orchestra and Associate Concertmaster of the Saint Joseph Symphony Orchestra. 

Keith also presents a free recital series annually, consisting of 5 performances. This year’s series will feature all 10 of Beethoven’s sonatas for violin & piano. Three additional recitals are scheduled for this season, featuring works by Clara & Robert Schumann and Johannes Brahms. A recent performance was reviewed in K.C. Arts Beat as “full of romantic passion..played with intensity..conveyed with authority.. [Brahms’s 3rd Sonata was] lovingly played, a sense of nostalgia and heartache convincingly portrayed.. an exciting and convincing performance.” 

Keith is a former soccer player, who represented Western Samoa in the 2010 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers. He played five matches for the country (scoring two goals) before retiring to focus on the violin. He has coached soccer in the UK and the USA. More recently, Keith became a consultant for arts organizations looking to grow their audiences, specializing in online communications. Keith lives in the United States of America in Kansas City, and teaches a small number of students privately.

He started playing the violin with Alison Apley aged 3 and is an alumni of the Purcell School of Music and the Royal Academy of Music. Teachers included the late Erik Huston, Remus Azoitei and Christine Grossman.

Musician Spotlight – Debbie Allen

pic of Debbie AllenDebbie Allen is principal clarinet and woodwind section leader for the Kansas City Civic Orchestra.  She is a music educator with experience teaching at all grade levels in vocal and instrumental music.  Debbie also enjoys creating original music for school bands and orchestras, both to challenge and inspire kids as well as to give back and honor the inspiration and enlightenment she has received as an educator. Her recent compositions include music for string quartet.  Music and recordings may be found at www.jwpepper.com/myscore/musictoinspire. Debbie holds degrees from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and Emporia State University. She is currently an Adjunct Faculty instructor at Baker University and spends summers working at Interlochen Center for the Arts Summer Camp.

Musician Spotlight – Michael Tolbert

Michael Tolbert graduated with a Master’s degree in clarinet performance from Western Michigan University and plays clarinet all around Kansas City. For the last seven seasons he has served as principal clarinet of Kinnor Philharmonic, KC’s own Jewish orchestra, and since 2014 he has played with the Kansas City Civic Orchestra. He can also be heard in chamber music settings with the Midwest Chamber Ensemble and when he organizes and performs in chamber concerts benefiting AIDS Walk Kansas City. As a drag performer, Michael played solo jazz clarinet as emcee for The Girlie Show (2011-2014) and while competing in national drag pageantry, winning the talent category at Miss Gay America 2011 and, most recently, Miss Gay Nebraska United States 2019.

Michael is thrilled to be involved with KCCO for another season and to be spotlighted this quarter. He hopes that the synergy created by the orchestra, its board, its conductor, and its generous audience will compel Kansas City’s classical music community to continue supporting KCCO for another exciting finale concert at Helzberg Hall in May.

Musician Spotlight – Don Goldenbaum

Music has always been part of Don Goldenbaum’s life. Growing up in Hampton, Virginia, Don played clarinet in the high school band and studied violin privately with Elizabeth Chapman, concertmistress of a local community orchestra. Later, in college, he studied for a year with Dr. Myron Kartman, eventual chair of the strings program at Northwestern University.

The two summers before leaving for college, Don played professionally in the pit orchestra of The Common Glory, a nightly outdoor pageant in Williamsburg, VA. Those two season-long exposures to daily (nightly) life as a musician, performing as a teen with big-city pros whose lives appeared to revolve entirely around music, convinced him that for him the violin would be an avocation rather than a vocation.

Instead of pursuing a musical career, Don got a B.A. in psychology and math from Antioch and an M.A. in philosophy and Ph.D. in Educational Research from Indiana University. While attending Indiana’s grad school, though not as a conservatory student, he enjoyed accompanying flute and voice majors during their senior recitals on classical guitar.

Shortly after moving to Kansas City in 1975, Don served as principal second violin in the KC Civic Orchestra under Glen Block, and later, was concertmaster of the Overland Park Orchestra and the Medical Arts Symphony. He plays violin today in the Kinnor Philharmonic and plays viola in KCCO’s viola section. A high point of his current musical life involves teaming with three other members of KCCO to introduce stringed instruments and musical ideas to young children in local schools, hospitals, and libraries as part of the orchestra’s musical outreach program.

Having music as a serious hobby allows day-job flexibility. Don followed a stint as a Senior Systems Analyst at KC’s Midwest Research Institute by eventually launching and running a technical writing and documentation firm, Applied Communications Group, providing onsite, IT- and manufacturing-related writing services to Sprint, Marion Labs, Burlington Northern Railroad, Bayer Animal Health, and other firms. Other positions included Executive Director of Johnson County Community College’s Business and Industry Institute, Vice President for Research at the Greater KC Community Foundation, and Vice President of the Kansas City Regional Council for Higher Education. As a freelance consultant, he designed instructional board games on technical and management subjects that training firms used in their commercial seminars and evaluated federally-funded programs for local colleges. Currently, he is a national reviewer of research-grant proposals for the National Endowment for the Arts.

Now serving as co-president of KCCO’s board, his earlier community involvement has included being on the boards of The Children’s Place, Carondelet Healthcare, and The Center for Practical Bioethics.

Don and his wife, Sally – a novelist – have three children, Todd, Aria, and Daniel, and six grandchildren, all of whom live much too far from Kansas City.

Musician Spotlight – Carol Chatelain, Violin

Saturday June 9th marked an incredibly sad day for us at KCCO. We lost our dear friend and concertmaster of 43 years, Carol Chatelain.

Carol loved the orchestra and was an inspiration to so many of us. We were truly fortunate to have had her among us for so many years, and we will miss her terribly. 

In the words of our Music Director, Chris Kelts,​ “May the memory of Carol Chatelain be a blessing.”


Carol Chatelain has been a member of the Kansas City Civic Orchestra since 1972 and has served as its concertmaster since 1975. She has also been a member of the orchestra’s board for more than 30 years.

A native of Lewis, Kan., Chatelain is a graduate of Kansas University, where she received bachelor’s degrees in violin performance and music education, and a master’s degree in music education. She taught music in public schools for 31 years, retiring from the Shawnee Mission school district in 1994. Chatelain’s other musical activities include playing with the Kinnor Philharmonic Orchestra and the Harvest String Quartet, with which she has played for over 30 years. She has also been a member of the Overland Park Orchestra, St. Joseph Symphony, Heritage Symphony, Northland Symphony, Philharmonia Orchestra, and the Medical Arts Symphony.

Carol is married to Richard (Dick) Chatelain, who plays tuba with KCCO, and she has two daughters and one grandson. Carol and Dick are season ticket holders for the Kansas City Symphony, avid KU basketball fans, and proud parents of a miniature dachshund named Heidi. Carol says the Kansas City Civic Orchestra has been a big part of her life and the source of many friendships. “I hope I have many more notes to play with them,” Carol says.

Musician Spotlight – Janice White, Cello

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.

Musician Spotlight – Mark Lauer, Bassoon

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.