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Home Arts & Culture Von Kampen Brings Jazz Composition Project The Kansas-Nebraska Act Live To Life

kansas-nebraska act live

Graphic courtesy of The Kansas-Nebraska Act Live Facebook event page.


by Hope Moural


In college, Concordia music instructor David von Kampen did not have as many opportunities to be involved in jazz projects as he would have liked. But on May 12, he will get to do exactly that. Von Kampen will reunite with his friends from his alma maters University of Nebraska-Lincoln and University of Kansas to perform the The Kansas-Nebraska Act Live, a compilation of jazz music written and arranged by von Kampen himself. The group then will record a whole album the following day.

“I’ve been writing new music and adapting new music, drawing from both the people (involved) and where the charts were written,” von Kampen said.

The idea for this jazz project has always been in the back of von Kampen’s mind, although he says that the idea and end goal have shifted as the project has taken shape.

Von Kampen has been planning this event since the beginning of this year, and it will  come to life the second week of May at The Bay in Lincoln.

This project was fully funded thanks to a Kickstarter campaign, much to von Kampen’s surprise, as he has never utilized the site previously to this project. The campaign covered everything from recording costs, the players coming from out of town and even professional videography as the sessions will be uploaded to YouTube.

Von Kampen, who is a composition music instructor, has been busy putting the final touches as the performance day draws near, which includes rearranging music, finishing up the writing of some songs he hopes to present and creating publicity for the event.

For this project, he collaborated with his friend Becky Bossen, a playwright who assisted with some lyrics for some songs.

This is a remarkable project to be involved with as a lyricist because it allows me to stretch in new directions while working with David and some of the best musicians out there,” Bossen said in an email interview. “There’s a freedom to be taken from this experience.”

Von Kampen hopes that his group of friends who are participating in this project reach one simple goal.

“I hope they have fun,” he said. “I think they are excited to work the music up.”

He also hopes that some, if not most, of his composition students from Concordia come to see the show and that they are able to view it as a potential reality of their future careers.

“It’s good to tie it back to the composition students so that they can sort of see what it’s like from the beginning to the end point,” said von Kampen.

Bossen hopes that the project with inspire those who attend and leave them feeling hopeful and encouraged.

An outstanding jazz composition is transformative—it can take you anywhere you want to go and turn around the day. I think The Kansas-Nebraska Act will do that and much more for listeners,” Bossen said.

The Kansas-Nebraska Act Live album will be released online following its recording via Spotify and iTunes, among other streaming sites.

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