Photo: Shannon Lawrence, founder of Heartland Music and the
I was trying to think of ways to
describe Shannon Lawrence, all-around cool musician and fun gal.I thought of a curly-headed little girl with
musical notes circling around her head since music and Lawrence are one in the same. Lawrence is a member of the Lee’s
Summit Symphony Orchestra; Symphony board member; founder of the
ELM Foundation, a music foundation for children; and the founder of the Lee’s Summit Children’s
Concert Choir. I think she plays every instrument known to man.She sings and does arrangements for popular
musicians like Matt Lewis, Elvis impersonator and local talent in his own
right. and son of Bill Lewis. Not being a musical person and having no musical
talent, I have long admired those who are.Think about it…they hear the music in their heads and then write down
the notes that go along with it. It amazes me.
I met with Lawrence recently to talk about her arrangements for Matt Lewis. She showed me the
coolest software called Sibelius. You can do all kinds of neat stuff with it.
By the way, Lawrence spent about 25 hours doing the arrangements for Lewis’ backup singers. I
watched her click here and then click there and “Holy Cow!,” there was the
music. It was fun. I asked her how she came to know Lewis. She told me that she
met him at the old Business and Industry Show that used to be held in Lee’s Summit. Lewis was
in middle school at the time. She told me that he was warm and friendly and had
a confident air about him. They went to the same church and she also remembers
him from Thompson’s café which was in the location that Neighbor’s Café is in
now. She would go to Branson to see Lewis when he was performing there.
Lawrence has had those floating notes since she was a little girl when music was a part
of her home life. Lawrence demonstrated her talent in school by being the only kid in her class to sing on
key. Her family purchased an upright piano from a garage sale down the street
and rolled it home. One of her teachers was Greg Hulme, who taught out of Gladys
Alkire’s home. By eighth grade, the honor choir was on the horizon for Shannon, but she did not make the choir. Not to be
detoured, she worked hard all summer honing her skills. During auditions the
next fall, the teacher heard Lawrence sing and asked her why she didn’t try out for the honors choir. Lawrence said “You did
not pick me.” So much for that.
Lawrence ended up getting in the talent show. The funny thing is her mother did not know
she could sing. So when it came time for her to perform in the talent show, her
mother prayed that she would sing alright. The rest is history.
Lawrence was a member of the
first symphonic orchestra at Lee’s
SummitHigh School.Lawrence told
me that back in those days, if you were a wind player, you did not get to eat
lunch.After high school, Lawrence was off to the
UMKC Conservatory of Music. She eventually started playing shows around the
country. She got into bluegrass music. She has had a good career doing what she
loves the most.
Currently she has her own music school called Heartland
Music. She tells her students music is a gift that helps build self-confidence,
but she also advises them to have a backup plan to support themselves. Lawrence is passionate
about what she does. It shows as her face lights up when she talks about her
students. She really cares about the kids and wants to give them the tools to
put into their musical tool boxes for a sound future in music. Lawrence says that music is about involving
yourself with other people—it is a vehicle for relationships.
Lawrence, Paul Morales and Meagan Jackson are forming a
swing band. They have a gig at TrumanMedicalCenter at Lakewood.
The event will be on Sat., Aug. 28 in the lobby of the facility. On October 1,
they will be at the Longview Arts Festival. For more information, check out the
Heartland Music Foundation website at: www.hrtlandmusic.com.
Lawrence is signing up students for fall classes. If you want to give your child a
wonderful music experience, contact Lawrence at Heartland Music Foundation. Call 816.519.2390. You will be glad you
did.Lawrence has what it takes to inspire future
musicians. It takes heart and lots of those little notes floating around her
Publisher's Note: Heartlanders will be performing at: Evening Under the Stars Fundraiser Saturday, August 28, 2010, 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. TMC Lakewood Atrium 7900 Lee's Summit Road. Hosted by Dave Eckert, Lee's Summit Tribune Lifestyle Editor. Proceeds benefit TMC Lakewood Family Birthplace. You may purchase tickets online at: eus.eventbrite.com
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