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Mid America Freedom Band – Introduction & Mission

The Mid America Freedom Band (MAFB) is Kansas City’s community instrumental ensemble dedicated to serving the needs of the LGBT and allied community and those of the Kansas City metropolitan area. The 70+ members make up a full concert band, a full jazz big band (Mighty Mo Combo), and a marching/pep band. The organization’s motto — “Pride in Every Note” — speaks not only to its commitment to musical excellence but to the service of its membership and community.

Mid America Freedom Band provides opportunities for instrumental music lovers to share their passion of performance with the diverse community of Kansas City. It strives for excellence while promoting equality, fostering education, and celebrating the joy shared through music.

Mid America Freedom Band – Purpose

Providing Opportunities for Instrumental Music Lovers

MAFB consists of three component ensembles: a concert band, a marching/pep band with flag corps, and a jazz band (Mighty Mo Combo). Each group addresses different needs of its constituent members and the community at large. The active performing membership is more than 70 individuals. The organization is also fortunate to have a volunteer/inactive base of 20 members. Auditions are not required of members, but the ability to read music is requested for participants.

Sharing Passion of Performance with the Diverse Community of Kansas City

MAFB proudly represents the LGBT and allied community, performing at a wide variety of venues across the Kansas City metropolitan area including area churches, local parades, street festivals, and concert halls. In 2015–16, MAFB performed at National World War I Museum and Memorial, Spirit of Hope Metropolitan Community Church, Brookside St. Patrick’s Day Warm-Up Parade, Arts Asylum, KC Fringe, Armour Oaks Senior Retirement Living Community, Kansas City AIDS Walk, and KC Pride. In 2016–17, MAFB will perform a 4-concert season for the concert band with six performances including its first educational concert in partnership with the National World War I Museum and Memorial, a new summer pops concert for families with children with special needs in partnership with the University of Central Missouri, seven jazz band appearances, and four parade/pep band performances scheduled with more to be added.

Striving for Excellence

MAFB empowers its members by giving musicians a greater sense of confidence and music ability. The artistic staff pushes members and audiences musically by programming attainable, yet challenging, music. Two years ago, the ensemble partnered with the professional puppet theatre troupe Mesner Puppet Theatre for two sold-out performances in the spring. Grammy-winning mezzo-soprano Julia Scozzafava performed with the concert band in fall. The MAFB is committed to the creation and performance of new music through its commissioning call and frequent programming of world or U.S. premieres. Four world premieres occurred during the organization’s 14th season.

Promoting Equality

Membership in MAFB is open to all ages 18 and older. Though the organization's focus is serving the needs of the LGBT community, its membership is diverse as are its audiences. Some current members left other groups because they felt as if they were forced back into the closet and unable to be proud of themselves and true to their identity. Straight-allied membership continues to grow each season and these members are some of the fiercest defenders of equality. Dues are kept low and need-based scholarships are available so that no one is turned away. Programming regularly features LGBT, female, and other composers who are underrepresented on concert stages.

Fostering Education

Since MAFB is open to all levels, much rehearsal time is dedicated to skill building and fundamentals. Skilled musicians are spread throughout the sections to assist newer players, and section leaders provide aid in negotiating harder passages. Educational initiatives for the 14th season include a Songs of World War I concert in partnership with the National World War I Museum and Memorial and a summer pops concert for families with children with special needs.

Celebrating the Joy Shared through Music

Many members joined MAFB as a place to feel welcome and valued. Everyone is expected to contribute what they can musically, with the benefits of a supportive atmosphere for those joined in a common goal uplifting all who partticipate. Outreach events at retirement homes and other venues bring MAFB’s music to those who may not be able to attend formal concerts.

Mid America Freedom Band - Leadership

Staff Leadership

  • Dr. Lee Hartman – Artistic Director
  • Ian M. Bradt, PMP – Assistant Conductor
  • Skip Schrock – Mighty Mo Combo Director
  • Joe Duncan – Mighty Mo Combo Manager
  • Joe Davidson – Production Coordinator
  • Jeanine Asay – Librarian
  • Kelly Pangburn – Social “Cruise” Director
  • Dr. Ferzeen Patel – Front of House Coordinator

Board of Directors

  • Jessica Riggins – President
  • Erin Trampel – Secretary
  • Christian Montes – Treasurer
  • Chuck Jackson
  • Emily Kuennen
  • Dr. David Thurmaier
  • Denise White-Bradt
  • Elizabeth Murray
  • David Deatherage