Mike Alley
Mike Alley

World and Music Theatre Contributor

Mike Alley has been an arts and entertainment administrator, and performer, with industry affiliations that include the Carlsen Center of JCCC, The Theatre in the Park, the American Royal, Kansas City Ballet, Tiffanys Attic and Waldo Astoria Dinner Playhouses, the Burt Reynolds Jupiter Theatre, Missouri Arts Council, The New Christy Minstrels, the Barn Players, and Lenexa Arts Council.  

Alex Anderson
Alex Anderson

Visual Arts Contributor

Alex Anderson is an artist and an arts writer. Born in Lawrence, Kansas, he earned his B.A. in Art History from John Cabot University in Rome, taking a minor in Philosophy. His time abroad brought him into contact with countless historical masterpieces as well as much great contemporary art. To date, his own artworks have been compiled in several publications, and he was awarded the 2016 “Best of Show” for his artwork in the “League for Innovation” competition while studying under Prof. Mark Cowardin.

For Alex, the study of art has become more than an occupation, it is a way of life. It molds the way in which he sees, thinks, and bonds with the world. His senior thesis, “The Use of Weight in Richard Serra’s Drawings and Sculptures: Some Historical Parallels,” sought to trace the concept of weight as the link between Serra’s drawings and sculptures, and examine the importance of weight throughout the history of art, relating Serra’s works to these traditions.

Since 2015 he has been a contributing writer for KCMETROPOLIS. His effort to create and search for works of high quality is never a hunt for treasure but instead a kind of pilgrimage—one that he aspires to share with everyone. 

Aurélien Boccard
Aurélien Boccard

Piano and classical contributor

Dr. Aurélien Boccard is an experienced pedagogue, specializing in keyboard injury prevention, He has taught piano to children, teenagers and adults for over fifteen years in the U.S. and internationally. On top of maintaining his own private studio, he is currently on the teaching faculty at UMKC Community Music and Dance Academy and at the Language and Music House in Kansas City. As a performer, Dr. Boccard has been an active soloist and collaborator in Europe as well as in the United States. A French native speaker from Geneva, Switzerland, his love for languages has brought him to work with many singers as well. The recipient of numerous national awards and scholarships, he was a National Finalist in the 2016 American Prize in Piano Performance.

Dr. Boccard holds a Doctorate in Piano Performance and Master’s in Musicology from UMKC Conservatory. He previously obtained degrees in German, Music Education, and Musicology at the Geneva Conservatory, the University of Geneva, and Bern Conservatory respectively. He also holds a Masters and Advanced Certificate in Piano Performance from the University of Arkansas.

Dr. Boccard is the president of the Kansas City Mu Phi Epsilon Alumni Chapter and serves on the board of KCMTA as the coordinator of the Festival Music Progressions. On top of his activity as a pianist and educator, he is also Dr. Boccard is a Consultant for the Tomatis® Method, a sensorineural program that helps children and adults cope with attention, learning, motor and language disorders. –

 

Natalie Bray
Natalie Bray

Dance Contributor

Natalie Bray holds degrees from the University of Central Missouri and the University of Missouri. She currently teaches in the Independence School District. Natalie has choreographed for Raytown High School, Leawood Stage Company, the University of Central Missouri, Blue Springs Ballet, and other various venues. She is trained in ballet, hip hop, jazz, modern, and contemporary, and has performed with the Blue Springs Ballet Company, ABC Dance Company, UCM Dance Company, and other various performances.

Jordan Buchholtz
Jordan Buchholtz

Classical Contributor 

Jordan Buchholtz is a pianist, accompanist, and teacher. As an active performer, she regularly plays in solo piano and chamber music recitals and collaborates with both vocalists and instrumentalists. She enjoys being involved in chamber music ensembles, serving as an opera rehearsal and production accompanist, and playing piano and organ for church. She has been a participant in various piano master classes with Christopher Taylor, Stacey Barelos, and Paul Wirth. During her undergraduate studies, she played piano and celesta in the Luther College Symphony Orchestra and performed with them on tour in Vienna, Austria in January of 2011.

A native of Spring Valley, Minnesota, Jordan is currently pursuing an Artist Certificate in Piano Performance at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and is studying with Karen Kushner. She previously obtained a MM at UMKC and a BA in Music Performance from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, studying piano with John F. Strauss. Along with her graduate studies, she is the opera accompanist at UMKC and writes music reviews for KCMetropolis.org.

Marcy Chiasson

Executive Director and Publisher

Marcy has been a nonprofit professional for over 30 years with an emphasis on arts marketing, public relations and development. She has been in Kansas City for the past 17 years, with professional associations to UMB Bank, Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival and The Friends of Chamber Music Kansas City.

In July 2008, she co-founded, with international tenor Nathan Granner, KCMetropolis.org in response to decreasing coverage of the performing arts in the community.

Marcy oversees the day-to-day runnings of KCM, including development and advertising.

Don Dagenais
Don Dagenais

City Classics Music Columnist; Classical Contributor

Don Dagenais is a classical music and opera geek who has attended performances in Kansas City, nationally and around the world for over forty years. He had some academic training in music and was an amateur musician in his salad days, but has gained his musical chops as an audience member, board member, independent researcher and frequent lecturer on classical music and opera to civic and community organizations. He is a longtime preview speaker for the Lyric Opera of Kansas City. He has also spoken on classical music and opera subjects at several national conventions.

Don has served on numerous arts organization boards and has been the president of most of them, including the Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Heart of America Shakespeare Festival, Summerfest, Kansas City Civic Opera, Inspiration Point Fine Arts Festival (Opera in the Ozarks), The Coterie and the Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre. He has won several awards as an arts volunteer, including a Bravo award from a national organization for being one of the leading opera volunteers in the country and the Virtuoso award from ArtsKC, the Regional Arts Council, for being a leading arts volunteer in the Kansas City area.

Don is a charter member of the KCMetropolis.org staff and has written the classical music column, and also occasional reviews, since the first issue on October 5, 2008.

In his professional life Don is a senior real estate attorney with Lathrop & Gage, a major Midwestern law firm. He also teaches courses on real estate law and serves as an adjunct professor for the University of Missouri-Kansas City in both the business and law schools. His degrees are from Grinnell College and the Cornell Law School. He and his wife Patricia have been married for over forty years and have two daughters, now grown, both of whom were raised “in the arts.” They are now doing the same with a grandson.

Alison DeSimone
Alison DeSimone

Early Music Contributor

Alison DeSimone (Assistant Professor of Musicology, University of Missouri-Kansas City) specializes in music of the late Baroque period, with a focus on early eighteenth-century opera. She cultivates particular interest in the history of opera singers and singing practices of the early modern era, as well as the music of George Frideric Handel. She is currently working on two book projects: the first, a co-edited essay collection on Music, Theatre, and the Benefit Performance in Eighteenth-Century Britain; and the second, a monograph on musico-theatrical miscellany and its effects on the creation of cultural taste in early eighteenth-century London. For the past three years, she has assisted Dr. Kathryn Libin in cataloguing the music collection of the Lobkowicz family in the Czech Republic.

Dr. DeSimone holds a Ph.D. in Historical Musicology from the University of Michigan (2013) and a Bachelor of Arts from Vassar College. Her research has been recognized by grants and fellowships from the American Association of University Women, the Institute for the Humanities at the University of Michigan, The Handel Institute, and the American Handel Society. She has presented her work both nationally and internationally, and her research on Marc-Antoine Charpentier’s Médée (winner of the Leland Fox Award from the National Opera Association) was published in The Opera Journal in 2011, and she has a forthcoming article in Early Modern Women. She is currently the newsletter editor for the Society for Eighteenth-Century Music.

Morgan Greenwood
Morgan Greenwood

Classical contributor

Morgan Greenwood (b. 1993) is a composer and musician based in the Kansas City, Missouri area. He finds himself often drawing inspiration from the creative processes of artists of other mediums (painting, sculpture, literature, and poetry thus far) to find new ways to shape sounds in time. Besides music, Morgan enjoys cooking, Hatha yoga, and reading. Like all things, moderation should be practiced in moderation.

His growing body of work spans both the acoustic and electric mediums. His acoustic music has been performed both around the United States and in Europe. His electroacoustic music has been presented variously at the SEAMUS, N_SEME, and SCI National conferences. Morgan has studied composition with Zhou Long, Chen Yi, Paul Rudy, and James Mobberley and holds a Master’s of Music Composition from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Riala, a band in which Morgan played drums, released the album ‘Be Here | Be There’ in September 2015 through Haymaker Records and completed a full west coast tour in the summer of 2016. In 2017, Morgan released the two part electronic album ‘river is rising // birds fly parallel.’ His band Employer, with whom he plays both locally and regionally, is set to release an album in Summer 2018.

Kelsea McLean
Kelsea McLean

Theatre Contibutor

Kelsea V McLean has been immersed in the fine arts her entire life. Raised by an amazing musical family whose focuses range from bluegrass to bagpipes, she has played, written, and performed in a variety of genres. After studying theatre and musical theatre at UMKC, she amassed many credits in regional and local theatres as an actor over the last decade, as well as teaching, writing, and creating theatre. Some notable professional regional theatrical productions she has been featured in include: “Blood Wedding,” “The Marvelous Wonderettes,” “Run For Your Wife,” “The Lupus Chronic(sle),” and “Clue, The Musical.” In 2012, Kelsea was voted ‘Best Local Actress’ in The Pitch’s Best of issue. In addition to stage work, Kelsea has also been featured in several commercials.

Lately, Kelsea is enjoying acting in and producing new, local theatrical works created by the amazing talent in Kansas City. By day, Kelsea is a restaurant manager and Sommelier at a popular South Plaza Confiserie, where she is lucky to be firmly intertwined in the fine things Kansas City has to offer on a daily basis. She is also an extremely enthusiastic mother of two beautiful furbabies, the sleeping habits of whom can be followed on several social media platforms. Kelsea is excited to put her years of theatre experience and study into writing about the arts in our magnificent town.

Tom Nanney
Tom Nanney

Classical Contributor

Tom Nanney is a classical music aficionado who serves on the Board of Kansas City’s Friends of Chamber Music. Tom also teaches music appreciation courses at UMKC’s Communiversity (“How to Listen to and Love Classical Music”; “J.S. Bach: An Introduction”). He has degrees from Dartmouth College, Harvard University, and UCLA School of Law. A former amateur classical pianist active in various ensembles, Tom is a practicing attorney and adjunct professor at UMKC School of Law.

Jessie Riggins
Jessie Riggins

Classical and Jazz Contributor

Jessica E. Riggins, originally from Columbia, Missouri, is a very active voice in the local music scene. She is the Board President of Mid America Freedom Band and a member of the Mighty Mo Jazz Combo. She holds degrees from the University of Central Missouri (B.M., M.M.) where she studied Music History and Literature. Jazz has always been a passion for Jessica, and she was the only female member of UCM’s top jazz band during her time there. In her free time, Jessica enjoys studying the lives, music, and accomplishments of Kansas City’s own jazz masters.

Anthony Rodgers
Anthony Rodgers

Classical, Vocal and Music Theatre Contributor. Copy Editor.

Anthony Rodgers holds degrees from Truman State University (B.M.) and the UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance (M.M.), where he also pursued an Artist’s Certificate and a Master’s degree in musicology. During his time at Truman, he performed with the University ensembles and participated in various academic endeavors, including a presentation at the 2009 Student Research Conference. At UMKC, he similarly performed with the school’s large and chamber ensembles and worked in the Music/Media Library, where he shelved books and answered tricky reference questions.  As a recipient of a doctoral fellowship, Anthony studied at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, British Columbia, where he further developed his fondness of twentieth-century compositions and sushi.

A passionate Germanophile, Anthony has traveled extensively in Germany, performing at the 2011 Lätzsch Trombone Festival in Heek and studying language at the Goethe-Institut in Heidelberg during the summer of 2012. With his love of travel, he has served as a staff member for the International Trombone Festival in several locations, including Salt Lake City; Nashville; Paris, France; and recently Valencia, Spain. He is a member of the award-winning Fountain City Brass Band, Kansas City’s premier British-style brass band, in addition to teaching privately and working as a freelance musician in the greater Kansas City area. In 2016, Anthony began teaching a general K–5 music class at CS1 Elementary in Mission Hills, KS. In his spare time, Anthony enjoys binging on Netflix, reading, and spending quality time with his friends’ pets.

Michael D. Smith
Michael D. Smith

Film Editor

Michael D. Smith earned a Bachelor of Arts in history at College of the Ozarks in Point Lookout, Missouri followed by a Master of Arts in history at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Inspired by such critics as Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert, Michael started reviewing films in 1992 for College of the Ozarks’s student-run newspaper. After returning to the Kansas City area in 1994, he continued film reviewing by writing for the Cass County Democrat Missourian in Harrisonville.

In 2000 Michael joined Sun Publications in Overland Park, Kansas where he served as its film critic and Arts and Entertainment Editor. During his tenure there, he was also the film critic for the “Fine Arts Radio Hour” and “Celebrity Scoop” radio shows on KXTR. After leaving the Sun in late 2002, he became the A&E writer for the Olathe News in Olathe, Kansas. He also worked as a freelance writer for The Squire in Leawood, Showcase Publishing in Lake Ozark, Missouri and the Kansas City Star.

Michael is currently a member of the Kansas City Film Critics Circle, a professional film critic organization established in 1966 by the late Dr. James Loutzenhiser.

Sarah Tyrrell
Sarah Tyrrell

Opera, Vocal and Classical Contributor Sarah Tyrrell holds a Master of Music from the New England Conservatory of Music and a Ph.D. in musicology from the University of Kansas. She also earned a Bachelor’s degree in Voice Performance from Kansas State University. Sarah is on faculty at the UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance in the Composition, Music Theory, and Musicology division, where she teaches classes in opera history, Latin American music, world music, and music research. Sarah’s research specialty is the vocal music of 20th-century Brazil, and she has completed seminal research on Brazilian composer M. Camargo Guarnieri. Her writings appear in journals like Latin American Music Review and Musical Quarterly, and she presents her work at regional and national conferences hosted by the College Music Society, the American Musicological Society, and the National Association of Hispanic and Latin Studies.  

Laura Vernaci
Laura Vernaci

Dance Contributor and Copy Editor

Laura is a Kansas City native who always has been passionate about the arts, particularly dance. She began dance lessons at age five, and has competed and performed on stages across the country and in Canada. Laura received professional training at the Kansas City Ballet School, where she had the opportunity to apprentice with the company, and continued her training at Butler University in Indianapolis, IN. After graduating from Truman State University in Kirksville, MO with a degree in Journalism, Laura danced professionally with the Minnesota Ballet. Her extensive background includes traditional techniques, including ballet, jazz, contemporary, modern, tap, and musical theater, as well as less mainstream styles, such as Russian, Spanish, and Chinese folk dancing. As a writer and editor for KCMETROPOLIS, Laura brings a sophisticated voice and discerning eye to the wide-ranging dance offerings throughout Kansas City.  

Victor Wishna
Victor Wishna

Theatre and Features Contributor; City Stage Theatre Columnist

Victor Wishna is a writer, editor, author, playwright, and commentator, among other things. A graduate of Stanford University and the New School’s creative writing MFA program, he has written for the Wall Street Journal, the Baltimore Sun, the Miami Herald, the Kansas City Star, Humanities, and other major magazines and newspapers. He contributes a weekly real estate feature to the New York Post and his column “Letter from New York” is syndicated nationally. His words can also be seen and heard via the media outlets to which he regularly contributes and his regular commentary on NPR affiliate KCUR-FM.

Victor’s stage writing has been produced regionally and locally, including at the Fishtank, the Barn Players, City Theatre of Independence, and multiple Kansas City Fringe Festivals; this winter, his full-length play Shearwater had its world-premiere production at The Living Room. He served as the initial artistic director of the Midwest Dramatists Center, a Kansas City-based incubator for regional playwrights. With photographer Ken Collins, he published In Their Company: Portraits of American Playwrights (Umbrage Editions, 2006), for which he conducted and edited interviews with 61 prominent stage writers including Edward Albee, August Wilson, Tony Kushner, Wendy Wasserstein, and many others. The book won a 2007 Independent Publisher Book Awards Silver Medal.

After nearly 12 years of living and writing in New York City, Victor returned to his hometown of Kansas City. In 2011, he founded his own writing and editing services firm, The Vital Word, through which he helps find the right words for nonprofit, corporate, and individual clients. Find out more at thevitalword.com.    

Sarah Young
Sarah Young

Classical, Vocal and Musical Theatre Contributor

Sarah Young is a freelance writer and performer in opera, theatre, choral and musical theatre. She has been seen locally with Wichita Grand Opera, Kansas City Symphony Chorus, Kansas City Civic Opera, Lawrence Community Theatre, Chestnut Fine Arts Center and in other local venues.  She studied voice at the University of Kansas, and has been trained in artist programs at Indiana University, Aspen Opera Theatre and the American Institute of Musical Studies in Graz, Austria.