Light Up the Lawn

Musical diversions

Musical diversions abound on the JCCC campus during the week of May 7-11 and continue into the summer. All performances are free, and the public is invited to attend. 

Noon, Monday, May 7: Jazz combo The Beach Nuts will play in the Regnier Center Atrium. The Hawaiian-shirted trio lists Dick Dale, Henry Mancini and “spy music” as its influences. 

Noon, Tuesday, May 8: Gerald Spaits and Charles Perkins Duo will set a lunchtime groove, also in the Regnier Center Atrium. 

The two groups appear on campus to raise awareness for the 2012 fundraising campaign for ArtsKC Fund, which supports the performing arts throughout the metropolitan area. 

At dusk (around 8 p.m.), Friday, May 11: The bands Grand Marquis and AnnaLee and the Lucky So and Sos kick off this year’s Light Up the Lawn Concert Series on the front lawn of the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art

The series, in its third year, features a free concert once a month during the summer. Anyone planning to attend is welcome to bring blankets, lawn chairs and picnic baskets. Concerts in the series are sponsored by the Campus Activities Board, the Nerman Museum and the JCCC Performing Arts Series

AnnaLee and the Lucky So and Sos will take the stage first. The band plays rhythm and jazz music for swing dancers, drawing from the sounds of jazz greats such as Count Basie, Duke Ellington and Billie Holiday, said Bill Irvine, the band's leader and guitarist. 

"It's happy stuff," Irvine said. 

The Grand Marquis is renowned for its jumpin' blues and hot swinging jazz. It has been touring on the heels of its sixth recording, The Sun Session, which took place at the legendary Sun Studio in Memphis, Tenn. The vinyl/CD combo features a Prohibition Era party-inducing mix of originals and classics that are sure to be included in their show at JCCC. 

"Few bands have more fun or produce more joy in an audience while onstage," a reviewer for The Pitch newsweekly wrote in 2009. 

Future Light Up the Lawn concerts include: 

Friday, June 22: Hearts of Darkness, an 18-piece band that has as its root the 1970s Afrobeat and then builds off the traditions of Kansas City's big-band jazz. Added branches of its sound reflect American funk, rock and hip-hop. 

Friday, July 20: Two bands, She's a Keeper, and Rex Hobart and the Honky Tonk Standards, will perform. She's a Keeper is a five-piece ensemble that plays folk and pop-rock with melodious hooks and three-part harmonies. 

Rex Hobart and the Honky Tonk Standards are all country and western. The band proudly carries the torch of straight-up, bleary-eyed, '60s style, honky tonk music. 

Friday, Aug. 24: The Latenight Callers take the stage. The group's performance is co-sponsored by the JCCC Campus Activities Board. The band, which defines its genre as "Noir-a-Go-Go," was one of the most popular that played in last summer's lineup.