Choral Music

The primary objective of the Choral Music Program at KCKCC is to educate the students and the community about vocal ensemble music through stylistic variety and tonal diversity, based on historical precedent. This objective is achieved by exposing choir members to music of different nationalities and/or cultures and their commitment to recreate a unique tone quality that identifies with the cultural environment of each composition.
The KCKCC Vocal Jazz Program takes pride in performing professional-level vocal jazz ensemble literature. The music within today’s program represents a crossover of the jazz and popular music idioms. The students in the Vocal Jazz program learn Jazz Education through a variety of methods. First of all, several of the students take private vocal jazz coachings weekly. They also perform music by professional vocal ensembles, arrangements by well-known vocal jazz educators, and learn jazz and popular music standards (both through the ensemble and within the private coachings). Lastly, 2/3 of the vocalists in our program are on full-tuition vocal music scholarship from the college (where they can be any major, but must participate in choir and applied voice). 
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Meet the Director

John StaffordJohn Stafford II is currently the Director of Choral Music Activities at Kansas City Kansas Community College. He was previously appointed at Millikin Univiersity and Eastern Illinois University teaching music composition, theory and orchestration. He holds degrees from Millikin University, Bowling Green State University, and is completing a doctorate from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Among his professional activities, Professor Stafford serves as the Jazz and Show Choir Chair of the Kansas Choral Directors Association; he is also a member of National Association for Music Educators, Jazz Educators Network, and American Choral Directors Association. Also, Stafford was just appointed in August 2014 as the Director of Music at Community Christian Church in Kansas City, MO.

Mr. Stafford maintains a high profile as a composer, arranger, and performer. Recent musical activities have included appearing as a bass vocalist with Kansas City ensemble, such as, the Spire Chamber Ensemble, back-up artist for Ben Folds and the St. Louis Symphony, publishing choral works through the Roger Dean Company and Sound Music Publications. His composition, Humanity, I Love You, was recorded and released through First Step Records in 2013. His other choral and chamber music has been performed throughout North America and Europe. The University of Oregon's Waging Peace Through Singing, an international competition for choral music on the theme of peace, has recognized his work. He has also received recognition from other organizations such as American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers, the Society of Composers Inc. (both national and regional conferences), the National Federation of Music Clubs, Electronic Music Midwest, and Primavera En La Habana 2004 (Spring in Havana) International Electroacoustic Music Festival in Havana, Cuba. He was selected as a finalist for the IV Edition Pierre Schaeffer International Competition of Computer Music in Italy. In addition, members of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, New York New Music Ensemble, the Hradec Kralove Men's Chorus (Czech Republic), the Gregg Smith Singers, Chicago A cappella, the New York Treble Singers and the Anti-Social New Music Ensemble (New York City) had performed his music.

Recent Performances for KCKCC Choral Ensembles:

2014 New York City Jazz Festival with Dr. Steve Zegree of Indiana University
2014 and 2012 Kansas Music Educators Association In-Service Workshop
2013 New York Voices Jazz Festival in Chicago, IL
2013 North Central ACDA Vocal Jazz Festival in Columbus, NE
2014 and 2013 Choral Connections Festival at Friends University
2013 and 2012 Friends University Jazz Festival
2014 and 2012 Fox Fest Vocal Jazz Festival at Southwestern Community College in Creston, IA
2013 Columbia College Chicago Vocal Festival
2012 Hutchinson Community College Vocal Jazz Exchange with Kerry Marsh of University of Northern Colorado
2012 Choral Exchange with Cantus in Minneapolis, MN


Voice Faculty

John Stafford II
Director of Choral and Vocal Jazz Activities

Sarah LaBarr (soprano)
Applied Voice and Music Fundamentals

Dr. Tara Cooper (mezzo-soprano)
Applied Voice
Dr. Scott Wichael (tenor)
Applied Voice

Joyce Steeby (soprano)
Classical Staff Accompanist and Vocal Coach

Mike Ning
Jazz Staff Accompanist and Vocal Coach
Professional Clinics Attended

Professional Clinics Attended

Dr. Anton Armstrong, St. Olaf College
Dr. Elena Sharkova, San Jose State University
Dr. Brad Holmes, Millikin University
Dr. Julie Yu, Kansas State University
Dr. Arnold Epley, William Jewell College
Kerry Marsh, University of Northern Colorado
Jennifer Barnes, University of North Texas
Greg Jasperse, University of Western Michigan
Darmon Meader, New York Voices and Indiana University
Duane Davis, Western Michigan University
Choir Audition Information

Choral Audition Information

Auditions/Choir Placement for 2014-2015 Chamber Choir, Vocal Jazz 1, Vocal Jazz 2, and Women's Vocal Jazz will bon Thursday August 14 & 15 from 10am - 4pm in the Choir Room.

  • Students may audition and be selected for up to 2 ensembles (Choir and a Vocal Jazz Ensemble).
  • 2 Ensembles is the maximum number of groups per student.
  • To be in a Vocal Jazz Ensemble, you must be a member of Chamber Choir.
  • VERY IMPORTANT: To be in KCKCC Choral Ensembles, you need to be enrolled for them both semesters! This is critical to the overall growth of each ensemble!
  • If you are a returning member, you DO NOT have to audition on the 14th or 15th. These dates are reserved for new students only! Both returning and new students will audition will audition for the callback Vocal Jazz audition on Monday, August 18th from 12pm to 2pm. You must be at this audition time to be in Vocal Jazz.
  • NEW STUDENTS: Please email me to reserve a 10-minute time slot for the individual audition. You do not have to prepare anything for the audition!
  • Chamber Choir and Vocal Jazz Ensembles will not meet on Monday, August 18th. This day will be reserved for the Vocal Jazz Callback audition. First Women’s Jazz rehearsal will be on Tuesday, August 19th at 11am. First Chamber Choir, Jazz 1 and Jazz 2 rehearsals will be Wednesday, August 20th (Chamber at Noon, Jazz 1 at 1pm and Jazz 2 at 2pm).
  • The callback audition will be a GROUP audition...meaning the students will be grouped together to learn a piece of music and voices will be matched to create the best overall sound. You do not have to prepare anything.
  • After the Monday (8/18) callback audition, a callback list will be emailed to everybody by Monday evening, after 4pm sometime.
  • Preference will be given to students who can sing in the groups both semesters, however, ALL students are highly encouraged to audition.
  • The ability to read music is not required, but students that are accepted into the ensembles are EXPECTED to learn music very quickly. Also to be in the Vocal Jazz Ensembles, preference will be given to students whose can read music.
  • For the auditions, I am mostly looking for singers with a certain tone quality and strong musical ear.


Again, I HIGHLY ENCOURAGE all students to audition for these wonderful ensembles!

Contact Information

John Stafford II
Director of Choral Music

Choirs at KCKCC

(12-12:50 p.m. MWF)

KCKCC’s top choir is a 40+ voice auditioned ensemble specializing in a cappella choral music from the 20th and 21st century. The choir perform throughout the Midwest, serving as ambassadors of college.

Video performance of the Chamber Choir
(Mondays only, 7-9 p.m.)

Open to members of the community wishing to sing in a choir once a week, ages range from high school upperclassmen to older adults. Community Chamber Choir performs at the major KCKCC Choral Concerts twice a semester. 

Video performance of the Community Chamber Choir
(1-1:50 p.m. MWF)

The Standard is a highly selected ensemble of the best choral/jazz singers at KCKCC. This group was invited performed at the 2012 and 2014 Kansas Music Educators Association In-Service Workshop in Wichita, the 2013 New York Voices Jazz Festival in St. Charles, IL. and the 2014 New York City Jazz Festival at The Lincoln Center. The Standard, along with Chamber Choir, are the most active vocal ensembles on campus. The ensemble will perform music this year by Michael Jackson, Imogen Heap and Pharrell Williams, plus much more!

Video performance of the "The Standard" Vocal Jazz Ensemble
(2-3:15 p.m. MW)

Soulstice is an auditioned vocal jazz group that is in it's 4th year of existence. The group will perform music this year by Pentatonix, Kurt Elling, Kool and The Gang, Ben Folds and Coldplay, plus several jazz standards!

Video performance of the "Soulstice” Vocal Jazz Ensemble 2
(11 a.m.-12:15 p.m. TTH)

Syren is the newest vocal ensemble at the college. The group, made up of all women, will perform a variety of rep this year including music by Etta James, Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon, Joss Stone and Tracy Chapman. 

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