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Applause for a Cause Presents "Soul, Blues, Jazz, Hope" -- November 6 Benefit for Gordon Parks Elementary School Features an Evening of Harmony and Humor with The Wild Women of Kansas City
(Published: October 28, 2010)

Concert: 7 pm, Saturday, November 6
First Lutheran Church, 63rd Terrace & State Line
Tickets: FREE (A goodwill offering will be collected for Gordon Parks Elementary.)

As part of its ongoing series of philanthropic performances, First Lutheran Church presents the swinging sounds and spirited repartee of The Wild Women of Kansas City on Saturday, November 6, 2010. The show, titled "Soul, Jazz, Blues, Hope," will benefit Gordon Parks Elementary School. First Lutheran will host a reception after the performance, during which members of the audience can meet The Wild Women of Kansas City: Millie Edwards, Geneva Price, Myra Taylor and Lori Tucker, together with keyboardist Bill Maness.

The Wild Women of Kansas City undoubtedly, and deservedly, is one of Kansas City's most popular and entertaining musical acts. The Wild Women have been performing as a group since 1999 -- the same year Gordon Parks Elementary School opened. Their careers as soloists date back much further, in the case of Myra Taylor to the 1930s heyday of Kansas City's jazz clubs. The four singers are well known for their tight four-part harmonies as well as for their humorous banter as they share stories from their diverse careers. The Wild Women of Kansas City has been named Pitch Magazine's Best Jazz Ensemble in 2004 and 2009 as well as Kansas City Magazine's 2007 Best Musical Group and Best Musician (Millie Edwards).

This event, the sixth in First Lutheran's "Applause for a Cause" series, will be held at 6400 State Line Road, Mission Hills, Kansas. The program will begin at 7 pm. Admission is free. A goodwill offering will be collected for Gordon Parks Elementary School; cash, checks and credit cards will be accepted.

"Gordon Parks, the famed African-American photographer, writer, poet, composer, painter and filmmaker who leant his name to this school, once said, ‘The camera is not meant just to show misery. You can show things that you like about the universe, things that you hate about the universe. It's capable of doing both,'" quoted Keith Hohly, pastor of First Lutheran Church, the sponsor of Soul, Blues, Jazz, Hope.

"As a congregation, we feel the same way about social ministry: our programs are not meant just to show the ugliness of poverty and injustice. They also are meant to support and rejoice in the success of organizations like Gordon Parks. Every day that school's 40 staff members and 218 students work determinedly with the conviction that every child can learn - and that as adults we must find a way to inspire and encourage each of them to do so. There's something we like about the universe - and that we look forward to celebrating with The Wild Women of Kansas City, in their inimitable way!"
# # #
About Gordon Parks Elementary School -- A non-profit public charter school, Gordon Parks was established to academically prepare urban-core Kansas City children to enter the middle school of their choice. Operating in the 32,000 square foot Volker building located at 3715 Wyoming, the family-like school has educates over 200 students in kindergarten through fifth grade, no more than 18 per classroom. Gordon Park's individualized instruction and enriched programs are ideal for teaching at-risk children.

Gordon Parks' co-founders were inspired by St. Vincent's Family Center/Operation Breakthrough, at 31st & Troost, and planned the school to be its sister institution. Now, about 35-40% of the students come by bus from there and return to Operation Breakthrough at the close of school. Any child living within the boundaries of the Kansas City Missouri School District is eligible to apply for admission. Around 95% of Gordon Parks' students live at or below the poverty level. The school does not charge tuition. It invests more than $14,000 per year per student; approximately 80% of those costs are covered by tax support, and several hundred private individuals, corporations and foundations pay the remaining 20%. For more information, visit http://www.gordonparks.org or the Gordon Parks Elementary School Facebook page.

About The Wild Women of Kansas City -- One of Kansas City's most popular and entertaining acts, the Wild Women of KC consist of four outstanding soul, blues and jazz vocalists: Millie Edwards, Geneva Price, Myra Taylor and Lori Tucker, accompanied by keyboardist Bill Maness. Countless audiences have been entertained by the Wild Women's tight four-part harmonies as well as jokes and humorous stories of their varied careers, in the case of Myra Taylor dating back to the Kansas City jazz clubs of the 1930s. The Wild Women of KC have been named Pitch Magazine's Best Jazz Ensemble in 2004 and 2009 as well as Kansas City Magazine's 2007 Best Musical Group and Best Musician (Millie Edwards). For additional information, visit www.myspace.com/wildwomenofkansascity.

About Applause for a Cause -- In June 2009, First Lutheran Church decided to hold a "block party," a celebration to share with, and reconnect to, the surrounding community. That one party evolved into a series of benefit concerts, each partnering a deserving local charity with fabulous local talent -- with a goal not only of raising money, but raising awareness about the remarkable work done by local nonprofit agencies. In the process, ticket holders enjoy great performances. The series' artists have included Larry Yates, Cindy Egger, The Sons of Brasil, Angela Hagenbach, Bobby Watson, Right Between the Ears and Tim Whitmer. For more information, visit the Applause for A Cause Facebook page.

About First Lutheran Church - First Lutheran is a congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA). A member of the Kansas City community for 140 years, it cherishes its identity as a church family that welcomes all who seek spiritual growth and enrichment. For additional information, visit www.firstlutherankc.com.

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