Influenced by Will Ackerman’s Windham Hill record label in the late 1980s, the music of conservatory-trained pianist and composer Dan Kennedy infuses New Age music with jazz and rock. In addition to touring throughout the country, Kennedy also conducts “how to compose” seminars for budding composers from school-age children to adults. Kennedy’s current “Heartland Tour” 2016 is taking him from his native Massachusetts to the Mississippi and back again. One of his stops will be the Creamery Arts Center, 411 Sherman Parkway in Springfield, for a composing master class and a concert on Monday June 20. Sponsoring his visit is the Conservatory of the Ozarks.
Faculty member Heather Leverich says Dan Kennedy simply “e-mailed the Conservatory and said he was doing this Heartland Tour, and asked if we’d be willing to sponsor a concert for him in Springfield.” They were, and their students are getting a composition master class with Kennedy out of the deal. Kennedy says “budding composers young and old” were invited to “bring your music compositions and songs in any format to the Master Class—classical, pop, jazz, new age, Christian, etc. Finished or unfinished okay! Pieces either notated or played by ear okay! Works will be reviewed in a positive and supportive manner. One theme of the afternoon will be, ‘Now that I’ve composed something, what do I do with it?’”
According to Heather Leverich, so far they’ve signed up students who will bring a broad spectrum of genre, experience, and compositional skill levels to the table, from age 7 to adult. All participants currently signed up for the master class are Conservatory of the Ozarks students, but Heather says anyone in the community may sign up. Registration fee before June 10 was $20; after that it goes up to $25. “I’m so excited for my students to have the opportunity to work with him,” says Heather. “In fact, we have one person who’s planning to play a recording of his piece, because he’s already recorded it with (various) instruments, and it’s finished. And then we have other people who have just begun working on their piece, and just want help as they’re working on it.”
She says the general public is invited to come to the Creamery Arts Center Monday June 20 at 4:00pm and watch Dan Kennedy’s master class. “It’s open and free for anyone who wants to see it. That’s the great thing about the structure of a master class: even if you don’t perform yourself, you can learn from watching the clinician work with the students.” Some of the compositions to be featured have been posted to the Conservatory’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/cotoMusicArtDrama/.
Dan Kennedy will then present a public concert at 7:00pm on June 20, again in the Exhibition Hall at the Creamery Arts Center. It too is free and open to the public, but a $10 donation will be appreciated, says Heather Leverich, “to help Dan Kennedy with his concert expenses.” Selected students who performed in the afternoon master class will get to perform with Dan Kennedy during the concert, performing their original works. Kennedy will have plenty of his own music to perform as well, taken from his 2015 CD Bloom Road.