The KC Queertet

A string quartet dedicated to uplifting and accompanying queer musical artists in the KC area

The KC Queertet is a string quartet (Two violinists, a violist, and a cellist) created by KC performing artist and composer, Sisterbot; dedicated to uplifting and accompanying queer musical artists in Kansas City. This ensemble has a goal to bring communities together, creating a holistic experience in the pop/modern world and the classical world, presented in the form of a live-video series with a studio audience. 

The KC Queertet and artist Stephonne perform a Stephonne original song at Charlotte Street Open Studios in April of 2022. Pictured from left to right: Ahafia Jurkiewicz-Miles on violin, Benjamin Hart on guitar, Kaydee Gabel on violin, Stephonne Singleton lead vocals, Mikala Petillo on cajon, Victor Diaz on viola, Spencer Thut on electric bass, Sisterbot on cello

2024 Live Video Series

Queer musical artists have such important and rich stories to tell. I was inspired to create this project by my friend and steadfast collaborator, Stephonne Singleton, when we were both studio residents at Charlotte Street. We collaborated on the maiden voyage of the KC Queertet, with Stephonne’s original songs and my string quartet composition. The performance was more beautiful and meaningful than we could have imagined. We realized that the melding of poignant songwriting and performance from queer artists in combination with the dynamic, heart-wrenching accompaniment of string quartet was an incredibly vast and important medium. I am so excited to continue exploring that medium through the KC Queertet and its performance/live-video series.

Original Song “Deep” by Stephonne, arrangement by Sisterbot
Copyright Glory Blue Music and Stephonne Singleton

Musically, the KC Queertet focuses on accompanying the original songs of local Kansas City queer musicians. The composer, Sisterbot, meets with the songwriter/artist and discusses which songs from their portfolio they’d be most interested in hearing performed with a string quartet. They compile a list of 5-10 songs, decide whether or not they’d like any additional instrumentalists (guitar, piano, bass, etc) to accompany the set. In the past, artists have chosen to bring instrumentalists from their own musical groups to fully portray the scope of their work. 

There is typically a sense of division between classical musicians and local creative artists, because their mediums can be so vastly different (i.e. forms of training, venues, cost, and instruments). With the KC Queertet, we can bridge a gap between local creative artists and classical musicians by providing a musical experience that caters to both types of players and audiences. I believe that there is so much richness to be found between collaborators of different disciplines- new techniques can be created, creative inspiration can be found in unexpected places, audiences can experience their favorite types of music in brand new ways, and young people can see that possibilities in the musical realm are expansive. 

Classical music specifically can be an art form that is not easily accessible to the general public, with barriers like cost, transportation, and knowledge of “classical etiquette”. The KC Queertet hopes to break down these barriers, by providing pay-what-you-can tickets, hosting the performances in multiple areas of the city, producing high-quality videos for those who cannot attend, and allowing audiences to have a classical experience in a modern and open format. 

Since the project is a video series, we are planning to find visually appealing and artist-centered spaces and venues for the performances. Venues such as Vulpes Bastille, The Warwick, Stray Cat Film Center, and 9th and State are at the top of our growing list of dream spaces. We hope to find spaces that inspire and match the creations of the songwriter/performer. 

This project is exciting because it brings together not only musicians of different disciplines, but artists of many different mediums. To the KC Queertet, the artist community thrives the most when we pool our talents and skills together. In addition to curating this collaboration, we hope to stimulate the artistic economy by providing outside-of-the-box professional opportunities for local creative string players, local queer songwriters/performers, sound engineers, and videographers. We strongly believe that art is a necessary profession, and that all artists should be compensated fairly for their time and skills.

Stay tuned for more information on upcoming KC Queertet performances! Coming soon!