KC-Lawrence musicians collaborate to bring holiday cheer

Cami Koons | @koons_cami

Lawrence and Kansas City musicians have united, virtually, to spread holiday joy and feel connected to their community. 

Max Indiveri, a sophomore at the University of Kansas and KJHK multimedia staff member, headed the collaboration and mixed the final video project. Indiveri said he contacted most of the artists through Instagram and that he was thrilled with the responses he received. 

“A lot of these people I got to work with were people I’d been fans of for a while,” Indiveri said. 

Included in the project are: Indiveri, Sam Wells, Fritz Hutchinson, Deegan Poores, India Jane Walker, Derek Kwan, Remy Styrk, and Jo Makenzie. Indiveri said he sent each artist a backing track and click beat to his take on Bruce Springsteen’s “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.” From there, he said the artists had creative license. 

“I want people to see who you are as an artist,” Indiveri said he told his collaborators. “So don’t hold back.”

Indivieri said he started the project after realizing his calendar, like most artists’ right now, was blank through December. He said with no shows and not wanting to “kill his career with a Christmas album” this project was the perfect way to get back to what musicians do best, while also giving the community a bit of joy. 

Wells, a Kansas City based musician, explained the importance of the project. She said musicians have three things that matter the most to them: writing music, playing shows, and collaborating with and meeting other artists. Music writing, despite the pandemic, has continued, but the other two items have seen less attention. Wells said this project facilitated the aspects of her profession she has missed.

Styrk, also a Kansas city based artists and music educator said part of the reason he loved the project was because of the opportunity for collaboration. 

“To know that musicians are still creating right now…it was really encouraging to see that people are still inspired and want to create,” Styrk said. 

Collaboration was a key element to Indiveri’s plan. He was inspired in part by the “We are the World” collaboration from the 80s, which he studied in a MUS 588 arts management class. Indiveri said he loved that the project highlighted the individual artists while still creating a great track. Similarly, with his own project, each artist’s creativity and personality added to the video’s charm. 

“Every little part just added so much to it in a way that somehow worked,” Indiveri said. 

Like “We are the World,” this project is more than just a collaboration. It’s a way for musicians to use their platforms to create something uplifting for their communities. Kwan, the executive director of the Lied Center and instructor for Indiveri’s arts management course, said community influence was a focus of the class. 

“It gives a sense of real human connection,” Kwan said. “This type of project helps to give a sense of it, even though it’s still virtual.” 

Indiveri said he didn’t want to make another “Zoom-call music video” and tried to make it feel like the artists were all together. 

“It’s like seeing someone’s face in the store,” Indiveri said. “It’s something that’s been taken from us that we didn’t really realize. [the video] brings some sense of normalcy to the world.”

The pandemic has not made it easy for musicians. Walker, a Kansas City musician, said she was excited to work with Indiveri because of how different this year has made her industry. Walker said she would have jumped at the chance to work on any project, but that this one was especially important because of its spirit. 

“It was a chance to do something goofy and fun, and community based,” Walker said. 

Supporting local artists is important always, but especially during these times. Give the gift of a simple follow this holiday season.