Sharon Thompson and Kathleen Holeman feat. Charles Williams Quartet
Ms. Thompson began her career singing in the church choir as a child. After entering a talent contest in 1973 and winning 3rd place, she was asked to be a member of a newly formed girl’s group with 2 other contestants. After performing with the group for few years, Ms. Thompson moved to Los Angeles, CA and became a member of the local group Kaleidoscope performing at various hotels, clubs and private functions where they covered R&B tunes.
In 1981, she moved back to Kansas City, MO and performed with various local bands. Ms. Thompson was able to fulfill one of her deepest desires to become a jazz vocalist when the opportunity presents itself to study Jazz Vocal Techniques with Everette DeVan. She also performed with him and other local jazz legends the late Frank Smith, the late Sonny Kenner just to name a few.
In 1988, after been heard singing at a local club, Ms. Thompson was asked to join the newly formed City Light Jazz Ensemble where she continued to study and perfect her jazz vocal style under the tutelage of the incomparable Joe Cartwright, the late Richard Ross and the late Laverne Barker for many years before going solo.
Throughout her career she has opened for various national acts, performed the National Anthem for the Kansas City Chiefs and the Kansas City Royals, inaugural balls for former Mayors Emanuel Cleaver II and Kay Barnes along with continued private functions and benefits.
Ms. Thompson added to her achievements as being one of the first African American women on the “Mahogany” collection of Hallmark Card. She performed in various theatrical plays winning a Drama Desk Award as Best Actress in a Musical in 1996 for her one-woman performance as Hattie McDaniel the first African American woman to win an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in “Gone With the Wind” as “Hi Hat Hattie”, with the play also winning Best Director and Best Musical of the year. She also went on to do voice-overs for various radio commercials.
Currently, Ms. Thompson can be seen singing in her local church where she has been a licensed and ordained minister since 2005. She decided to return to college where she received a Doctorate degree in Theology.
Kathleen Holeman has been a working jazz vocalist, pianist and trombonist in the greater Kansas City area and the Ozarks for over 30 years, performing with many great artists such as Gary Foster, Louie Bellson, Kim Park, and the Kansas City Jazz Orchestra. She has also performed in Arkansas, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Mississippi, Indiana and Georgia for festivals, series and private events. She has directed the Ray Alburn Big Band, co-directs the St. Joseph Big Band, and leads smaller combos in clubs, restaurants and private venues. She has been in and directed vocal jazz ensembles and been part of a brass quintet. She has been a judge at several jazz competitions, including the Iowa Vocal Jazz Championship, MWSU, NWMSU and 18th & Vine jazz festivals.
Kathleen is Director of Vocal Jazz and Jazz Piano at Missouri Western State University. She holds a Bachelor of Instrumental Music Education with a vocal certification degree from Missouri Western State College and a Master of Music degree from University of Missouri–Kansas City.
Kathleen has enjoyed working in many genres of music over the years, including country, gospel, salsa and rock, and was employed as a director of church music for over 25 years. She has also enjoyed acting roles and was a music director in theater productions.
Kathleen loves to bring all of this experience and knowledge to her students, helping to create well-rounded musicians and educators at Missouri Western State University. She also enjoys teaching students in her own home studio and being a clinician in area schools.