Johnny Hamil truly has dedicated his life to teaching bass. Starting out as a music education student, Johnny met George Vance at an International Society of Bassists Convention, and his life has never been the same since.

After years of prodding from George, Johnny started the Kansas City Bass Workshop. Over time, this event has grown into one of the most vibrant double bass events in the country, and it brings artists from far and wide to teach and perform.

The great example Johnny provides

It’s remarkable the power that one dedicated person has in terms of community building.  Johnny has not only created a vibrant learning environment with the Workshop, but it radiates out into the wider, non-bass community with the accompanying KC Bassfest.

Other bass event organizers have taken note of what Johnny has built and have created their own local events, with tremendous results.  The ability to unite professional symphony musicians, private teachers, university communities, young students, and adult amateurs is incredibly powerful for building a community and culture around the bass, and Johnny is a great model for people looking to build their own local event.

About the KC Bass Workshop

Workshop Faculty

The KC Bass Workshop faculty truly is a “who’s who” of leading names in the double bass world.  Here was the line-up for 2018:

  • Johnny Hamil (workshop director)
  • Étienne LaFrance
  • Anthony Wellington
  • Caroline Emery
  • Kate Jones
  • Eric Thorin
  • Hans Sturm
  • Lloyd Goldstein
  • Gerald Spaits
  • Jessica Valls
  • Richard Ryan
  • Jeff Harshbarger
  • Sarah Lahasky
  • Joey Panella
  • Gilles Duhaut

What happens during the day

The daily flow for the workshop is as follows:

  • 8-9 Scales Class (optional)
  • 9-10 Bass orchestra
  • 10-11 Large Master class
  • 11-12 Small Ensemble
  • 12-1 Lunch
  • 1-2 Solo hour
  • 2-3 individual master class
  • 3-4 Individual Master class

After Hours with the KC Bassfest

In addition to offering workshop classes during the day, Johnny has built a vibrant bass-centric music festival called KC Bassfest that coincides with the workshop each summer.

Here’s the schedule of events from the 2018 KC Bassfest along with footage from many of the participants.  Learn more about this event and get even more footage at their website and Facebook page.

Thursday July 5th Arrival Party Woodyard BBQ

  • Jeff Harshbarger and The Peoples Liberation Big Band of Greater Kansas City. 7-10.
  • Come meet with all of our bass playing friends and eat some of KCs finest well kept secret BBQ!

Friday July 6th Classical Night at All Souls Unity Church

  • 6:00 –  Sarah Lahasky (Tango)
  • 6:40 – Richard Ryan (KC Symphony)
  • 7:20 – Dr. Kate Jones (Dallas)
  • 8:00 – Etienne La France (Canada)

Saturday July 7th Jazz Night at the Ship

  • 6:00 – Brian Padavic
  • 6:30 – Joey Panella
  • 7:00 – Hans Sturm and Jackie Allen performing their award wining Bass and Voice Recording (Nebraska)
  • Late Night concert KCs own MGDs.

Sunday July 8th Bluegrass and Rock night at the Record bar

  • 6:00 – Jessica Valls (Austin)
  • 6:40 – Lloyd Goldstein (Tampa)
  • 7:20 – Eric Thorin (Colorado) with Betse and Clarke
  • 8:30 – Johnny Hamil presents Gav7d video game music (with Sly Rabbath)
  • 9-11 – The Golden Vices with Phenomenal Drummer Mike Dillon (Les Claypool, Dead Kenny Gs, and Nolatet), Clarke Wyatt, Johnny Hamil (Electric Bass)

Monday July 9th

Electric Bass virtuoso Anthony Wellington (Maryland) at the Black Dolphin

Tuesday July 10th

Bass Orchestra Blowout concert!

Final thoughts

It’s people like Johnny Hamil who, along with all the other great faculty at the 2018 KC Bass Workshop, are moving the culture of bass forward.  It is so heartening to see all of these young people congregating in Kansas City to learn, grow, and share in the bass love!