Our Team


“Reflection” with Melissa Rose, pianist

melissaIn the Summer of 1990, Summerfest began as a small group of 4 local musicians sharing a love of Chamber music and an intention to create an experience in which audience and musician could share all that it had to offer. They were a small but mighty group:

Rebecca Bell, Harpsichord

Mary Garcia (Grant), Violin

Deborah Wells Clark, Harp

Nancy Lutes, Bassoon

Lamar Hunt, Jr. Flute


Over the next 3-4 years the group expanded to include additional violins (Nancy Beckmann), viola (Victoria Hagood Olson), clarinet (Jane Carl), cello (Rhonda Bronicke and Michael Murray), and oboe (Marion Arthur). Though this significantly expanded programming options, there was still a lack of a space to perform with a good piano (and a pianist)which sealed off much of the mainstream 19th century repertory. That was until 1994. Summerfest found a home at St. Mary’s and found Melissa Rose! With the addition of Melissa, Summerfest was able to bring piano works into the mix for the 1st time. She was then teaching at Truman State University in Kirksville, MO. Even after moving to Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN, Melissa has remained a contributing asset to the Summerfest Family and continues her July pilgrimage to Kansas City.   She shared the following memory:

Many longtime Summerfest folks might remember that my son, Jacob, often came to Kansas City with me when he was younger (when I first arrived at Summerfest he hid under the tables at the reception). When he was around 11 years old, I discovered he also had a talent for turning my pages at exactly the right moment, so I enlisted his help.  (And the other musicians were relieved to not be turning pages!)  We’ll never forget the year he received a KC Star review which praised his page turning, but also called him “pint-sized.”  Jacob’s reply was:  “I am NOT pint-sized!”  He still turns my pages occasionally, but more often than not, we are performing together.  In the fall he heads off to Rice University for a master’s degree in violin performance, and he is no longer pint-sized.

Thank you, Melissa, for being the one who brought piano to Summerfest. And thank you for continuing to share your time and immense talent with Kansas City!

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