Mineral Area College Kicks Band Requested for State Performance
A musician’s career can be hard—late nights, low pay, holiday and weekends are busiest, tricky audiences. But when you’re playing for kicks, as the musicians in the MAC Kicks Band do, you sometimes like to take your show on the road.
Mineral Area College’s Kicks Band, made of community musicians of various ages and backgrounds, was asked to perform at the Missouri Music Educators Association convention at Lake of the Ozarks on Jan. 24. The annual convention is for all Missouri music educators, from kindergarten through university level, and is the largest convention held at TanTar-A in the Lake of the Ozarks.
Dan Schunks, director of the Kicks Band, is an adjunct music faculty member at MAC, and retired a few years ago from being the band director at North County High School. He said the Kicks Band’s selection was an honor, considering the number of bands to which the MMEA has access.
“Selection to perform at the annual convention is an honor reserved for the finest groups in the state and is a fabulous compliment to the band,” Schunks said. “This is the first time a group from Mineral Area College has been selected to perform at the convention, and the timing couldn’t be better. This recognition comes to the Kicks Band as it celebrates its 35th anniversary this year.”
The band was founded in 1978 by Mike O'Brien, former chairman of the MAC Music Department and retired faculty member, as an opportunity for area directors and musicians to continue playing after graduating from high school or college. Schunks is in his 21st year as the leader of the ensemble and was a member of the original Kicks Band.
“There are current and retired band directors, professional people such as teachers, a dentist, an engineer, professional business people, people in the medical field, and college students,” Schunks said. “It’s a fun group, and we always have a good time together.” Of its 20 members, 10 are MAC alums.
Groups who perform at the convention have sent in an audition recording that is reviewed by a committee of out of state educators. The top performances are selected. In the case of jazz ensembles, two are chosen from middle school, high school, college and universities, and community groups that submit recordings. This year the two groups selected were the Kicks Band and the UMSL Jazz Ensemble, directed by Jim Widner, who was once closely associated with the MAC Jazz Festival and Jazz Camp.
The Kicks Band will play “Give It One,” “Corner Pocket,” “La Fiesta” and “Yesterdays.