Kansas City and Hannover, Germany are two of the world’s great hubs of jazz, both declared UNESCO Cities of Music. The connection doesn’t stop there, Kansas City and Hannover are linked as Sister Cities. The Sister City Association of Kansas City supports and promotes communication, cooperation, and understanding for innovative programs which bring people together through tourism, education, music, and cultural awareness on the international level. We organize cultural exchanges between Kansas City and sister cities by hosting some interesting events. Last year’s “Wunderbar Together” campaign celebrated the year of German-American friendship. Films and programs highlighted German icons past and present like Wolfgang von Goethe, Gerhard Richter, and Alexander von Humboldt. In addition, we successfully hosted German wine tasting fests, a jazz group from Leipzig, and a classical guitar ensemble from Eutin.

Now, we are preparing for an even bigger jazz exchange program with our sister city of Hannover, Germany. Sixteen members of the Hannover Jazz Club will visit Kansas City in October 2020 for a collaborative jazz program with local musicians. Mr. Lothar Krist, the band leader of the Hannover Jazz Club has a very special program in mind: he wants to perform the “Duke Ellington Sacred Music” in collaboration with his band from Hannover and a local chorus with four soloists from Kansas City. Ellington’s Sacred Music Concert is a unique and special musical experience. Ellington did his last recording of his Sacred Music 1974 at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. It also was performed in many churches and synagogues and was always received with great enthusiasm and gratitude.

While in Kansas City, Mr. Lothar Krist will offer workshops on clarinet, saxophone, band coaching, and ensemble leadership. Mr. Krist is a professional musician with a life-long career conducting orchestras and choirs. He takes a deep interest in the history of music as well. Mr. Krist and his jazz club are renowned in Germany and throughout Europe as musicians of the highest quality.

The Hannover Committee of Sister Cities Association of Kansas also have great expectations for the future. 2020 is “Beethoven Year” and various films and festivities will celebrate his 250th birthday. For March 2021, we are preparing for a Gospel exchange program and want to bring Hannover Gospel music to Kansas City for a collaborative concert. In addition, we are working on introducing the rediscovered Jewish synagogal organ and choral music by Salomon Sulzer (Vienna, Austria) and Louis Lewandowski (Berlin, Germany). As always, we will continue our tradition of conducting German wine fests as well as supporting the German language Christmas service, and plan to continue strengthening our jazz exchange program. Sister Cities is thrilled to support this rich cultural heritage of these two musical cities.

About the Author
Traute Kohler is Chair of the Hannover Committee of the Sister City Association of Kansas City (SCAKC).